I always loved this book. There's a scene in it that stuck in one editor's head so firmly that when she moved to another publishing house, she invited me to write a trilogy of longer books for that house - and The Beaumont Brides was born.
I regained the rights to A Point of Pride a couple of months ago and my first task was to re-read the original. There was a clunky scene involving a mobile phone (something rare when this book was written) that had to go. There were repetitious scenes involving backstory. I could go on, but suffice it to say that It was an object lesson in how practising your craft makes for a better writer. I was also able to change the wedding dress to match the image I'd chosen for the cover - lots of symbolism there. Oh, the power!
And what more fun than to reveal the cover first, here, on Tote Bags. :)
Here's a little taste -
‘SMILE, sweetheart…this is supposed to be the happiest day of your life.’ Not by one flicker of her lashes did Casey O’Connor acknowledge that she had heard the words murmured by the tall grey-clad figure of Gil Blake, as he took her right hand firmly in his own.
She stared resolutely ahead, her face almost the colour of the wedding dress she was laced into. The vicar glanced at her, gave her a reassuring nod and she forced her mouth into a smile.
‘Dearly beloved…’ he began. ‘…to join together this man and this woman…not to be taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly or wantonly…’ The familiar words of the wedding service faded in and out but in her head she was back in a woodland clearing, lying in the arms of the man she loved, the man she thought loved her. ‘I require a charge you both…’ The vicar’s challenge rang out, jolting her back to reality and for a moment the room swam.
She dug her nails into her palm. She would not faint...
There was no challenge, no impediment and, after the briefest pause, the marriage service moved inexorably on to the vows.
‘I Gilliam Edward Blake take thee Catherine Mary O’Connor...’ Gil’s firm voice rang firmly through the church, every word clearly heard by the congregation come to witness the shockingly sudden marriage of Casey O’ Connor to the tall, tanned stranger who had snatched her from under the very nose of the most eligible bachelor in Melchester.
Then the minister turned to her. ‘I Catherine Mary O’Connor take thee Gilliam...’ he prompted.
As she heard the words that would bind them together the temptation to flee was so strong that she was uncertain whether she had in fact stepped back, or it was just her imagination that Gil’s fingers tightened possessively over hers.
She glanced at him from under her lashes. His grey eyes regarded her steadily, but there was no warmth to encourage her response. He was demanding her total surrender.
A dart of anger and an inward promise that he would pay dearly for this moment of triumph lent firmness to her voice as she repeated the words. The slightest tightening of his mouth suggested he had read her mind, but no one could have doubted the sincerity of his words as he placed the ring upon her finger.
'With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship...’ His mouth curved into a self-mocking smile as he added, ‘And with all my worldly goods I thee endow.’