“I want someone to want me for who I am. No changing my appearance or philosophies or principles. I need a partner to be proud of me—in public and beyond—and proud of themselves.”
“Think you’ll find it?”
~ ~ ~
Bennet had always dreamed of love. Of finding his Mr. Right.
Hell, he’d even settle for Mr. Righteous.
Who he won’t fall for, not ever? Mr. Downright Pride-less.
~ ~ ~
It’s Pride and Prejudice, complete with scumbaggery, anguished declaration of desire, meddling villagers, Karaoke, Scrabble, and Pride.
Love, Austen, Book 3
By Anyta Sunday
“I’ve yet to see what’s so compelling about him,” Caroline said. “Other than how punctual he is. But walking in this weather? Really. You should have seen him, like a soaked mop with all that wet hair around his face.”
“Walking does seem questionable.”
“Did you see his boots outside? Mud up to the knees.”
“He seems careful with his appearance. I can only assume that this meeting of yours means a lot to him.”
“More than catching a cold? Ridiculous. He should have borrowed a car.”
“He doesn’t have one?”
“Refuses to get one, I heard. Some nonsense about the environment. All this looking down on other people and their choices. Their beliefs are never as good as his own . . .” Caroline was quiet for a moment. Bennet squared his shoulders to walk in, but she continued, “Doesn’t that change your opinion of him?”
“My opinion of him is as it always was.”
Another short pause followed. Then Caroline, in that enthusiastic tone of hers, “Of course, I am interested in helping him with his party thing. I hate to see anyone struggling to fit in around the village, and my financial support will make this doable. I suppose I can encourage a few people to take part.”
“There’s a reason you’re the local queen.”
“Oh, stop it.” She giggled, not sounding like she wanted Darcy to stop at all. “I’m hardly a queen. I simply do my bit to make Cubworthy the best it can be.”
“Do you think a Pride event will help the village?”
Caroline made no immediate answer, and Bennet’s patience reached its end. He would not let Darcy ruin his chances for Caroline’s support.
He strode into the room.
Caroline gave a short nod of approval. Darcy offered a slower, lingering look. Again, he jerked his gaze away. “That coffee must be almost done.”
Caroline sprang up and sashayed into the kitchen.
Darcy had taken Bennet’s former place at the table; Bennet’s phone still rested there.
“Bennet, you were telling me what you do for a living,” Caroline called over.
“I’m a freelance editor of gay romance novels.” He stared deliberately at Darcy.
Darcy stared back. “Is there much work in that?”
“More than I can manage.”
“Kiwi writers?” Caroline asked.
“From all around the world, but Kiwi authors too.”
Silence followed his statement. The rain continued, a ceaseless drum over the roof and windowpanes.
The moment their coffees touched the table, his phone vibrated. Caroline’s, too.
Bennet resisted the cringey urge to lunge for his phone.
“What’s wrong?” Darcy asked.
“You should join the community message board,” Caroline said. “It’s a wonderful tool, don’t you agree, Bennet?”
“Yes. Full of very accurate news and fun family facts.”
Darcy’s lips curled and he slid Bennet’s phone toward him.
“There’s been a flash flood,” Caroline said. “The river has broken its banks. All bridges in and out of Cubworthy are out of use.”
Bennet lurched to his feet. Lyon. “I have to get home.”
“It’s not flooded the village. Your brother will be fine. The school bus didn’t pick up the Cubworthy kids today.” Caroline grimaced. “Looks like you’re stuck out here for a day or two.”
“Perhaps you own a dingy? I can row over.”
Darcy took the news easily and served them all coffee from the carafe. He met Bennet’s eyes as he poured into his china cup. “My advice for boating during a flood? Don’t.”
“Lyon is all alone.”
“From what I’ve seen of your brother, he doesn’t follow guidance anyway.”
Bennet closed his eyes briefly. “God. He’s marooned in a village full of shearers!”
Caroline and Darcy looked at him inquisitively.
“Never mind.” He waved the thought away with a hand. “Caroline. Would you put up with me until it’s safe to cross back into the village?”
“Well.” She touched her scarf, eyes flashing to Darcy. “I absolutely would welcome you to stay here. If I had any spare rooms. As it is, I’m sleeping in the living room during the renovations.”
Bennet searched in vain for another option. The nearest inn was practically in Port Rātapu. He didn’t want to be that far from Lyon. Farms this side of the river were few and far between. Not another one for miles. It’d be a cold trek without a horse, and still no guarantee he’d be welcome.
He drummed his fingers over his thigh.
There was no other option. His gaze locked with Darcy’s.
“I suppose that means I’m at your mercy.”
I am really loving these retellings of classic novels. But the best part is- you don’t need to know the original story. The updated retellings stand quite well on their own and I can’t wait for more.
This time, the retelling is of Pride and Prejudice. And I doubt many have read the story, I bet many have seen the movie(s). And we have all fallen a little bit in love with Mr Darcy.
Instead of Mr Darcy, we have Darcy, a widowed father of adult children we met briefly in previous books. And Bennet who returned home to the tiny village he grew up in to raise his brother after his parents died.
Bennet is not only out and proud, but so is his 15 year old brother. And because he is trying so hard to do right by him, he won’t back down from that pride and he won’t settle for less than true love with someone else as proud.
I absolutely loved the relationship between Bennet and his brother Lyon. Lyon, a typical 15 year old with the added weight of being an orphan and being gay. Throughout the book we saw their relationship blossom and grow as much as we say Bennet and Darcy’s relationship grow.
Of course there are friends and gossipy villagers and shearers who came in for sheep shearing season (ha! say that 5 times fast!). There is a side story with Bennet’s best friend which helps him see different kinds of love, different kinds of happily ever after.
Slow burn, romantic, very little sex on page and positively swoony. Loved it.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
I’m a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.
Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.
I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of emotion, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy.
My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Thai.
Sign up for Anyta’s newsletter and receive a free e-book:
You can also find me here: www.anytasunday.com
For information about new releases and freebies, follow me on BookBub: