Teaser Tuesday– and Give Away!

In honor of the holiday season, I’ll be giving away one copy of the print version of Ivy & Intrigue.

Below, resurrected from the archives, are the Ivy & Intrigue outtakes. Which is your favorite?

Outtake #1:

In the original version, Amy first notices Richard’s former love from across the room. She is not pleased.

“That must be her,” breathed Amy.

If she hadn’t been so sure of it herself, the feral look on Lady Uppington’s face would have convinced her of it. Like any mother lioness, the marchioness was ruthless in the protection of her cubs.

“She,” sniffed Miss Gwen, who had obviously appointed herself Grammarian-in-Chief for the duration of her stay. “The word is she.”

The word Amy wanted was something else entirely, but, as a lady, she wasn’t supposed to be using words like that. And she had no desire to be skewered by Miss Gwen’s fan, which, she knew from past experience, contained a carefully hidden stiletto in the central slat.

Jane, more to the point, ignored the question of grammar, and simply asked, “Who?”

Appropriating Miss Gwen’s fan, Amy leveled it at the woman posing for dramatic effect in the doorway. “That,” she said. “That was Richard’s….”

And there she stuck. First love? Nemesis? There wasn’t an exactly a one word tag for the-woman-who-broke-his-heart-and-caused-the-death-of-his-second-closest-friend. At times, the English language could be found sadly lacking in crucial terms.

Miss Gwen was still looking at her.

“…former infatuation,” Amy finished weakly.

Miss Gwen was not impressed. “And this might be of interest to us…?” she rapped out.

Because Richard had once been in love with her? Because she had yanked out his heart and stomped on it?

None of that, however, was likely to be of the least bit of interest to Miss Gwen. Amy seized on the bit that would be.

“Because her maid was a French spy!” Amy gabbled hastily.

“Ah.” A spark of interest kindled in Miss Gwen’s steely eyes. “What became of the maid?”

Who cared about the maid? It was the mistress whose hand Richard was bowing over. Lady Jarard fluttered her lashes at Amy’s husband, hard enough to cause a gale in the next county.

Jane came to the rescue. “Dismissed,” she said. “Sent off without a reference.”

Amy spared a glance for her cousin. “How do you know that?” she whispered.

Jane merely smiled. Amy hated it when she did that. Not as much, however, as she hated the way Richard had placed his hand beneath the other women’s elbow.

“That was ill done,” Miss Gwen said forbiddingly.

It took Amy a moment to realize that she was referring to the dismissal of the maid.

“I agree,” said Jane calmly. “She ought to have been apprehended and questioned. But I did not have the disposal of her.”

Amy would have preferred to have disposed of the whole lot of them, Lady Jarard and maid both.

“She probably can’t even fire a pistol,” muttered Amy.

Outtake #2:

Amy is even less pleased when Richard informs her Lady Jarard will be spending the night. Here’s the original version of that conversation:

“Staying, is she?”

“Deir—er, Lady Jerard is a neighbor.”

As always, Amy spoke without thinking. “Oh, is that what they’re calling it now?”

Her husband’s brow furrowed. He looked, Amy thought with a pang, rather as he did when puzzling out a difficult escape route. Back in the days when they still had escape routes to puzzle over.

“You’re not jealous, are you?”

“Jealous?” Amy snorted. It was not, she realized in retrospect, the most attractive noise. The lovely Deirdre would never allow herself to be caught sounding like a refugee from the barnyard. Amy snorted again, with even more vigor. “The very idea!”

Richard caught at her hand, regarding her very, very earnestly. Amy didn’t know whether to go all fluttery or snarl at him. “Anything between us was over a very long time ago.”

Amy retrieved her hand. “I never doubted that,” she said loftily. Well, she hadn’t. She was just… cranky. That was all. Everyone had a right to be cranky every now and again. “Your mother wanted to know what you did with the chess pieces.”

“They’ll be gone tomorrow morning,” said Richard, in a wheedling tone.

Amy looked archly back over her shoulder. “The chess pieces?”

Outtake #3:

Jane, naturally, picks up on the fact that Amy isn’t entirely herself.

“Am I obviously disgruntled?”

Her cousin scrutinized her flushed face. “At the moment? Yes.”

“I knew that. Not now. Before.” That was the lovely thing about family. One could talk to them in grumpy sentence fragments and know that they still had to love you anyway. “When you came in.”

Jane cast her mind back. “Not that I recall.” She raised her brows delicately. “Off-key, yes. Disgruntled, no.”

Amy waved an impatient hand. “I’m always off-key.”

“I know,” said Jane, who had the misfortune to be the one musical member of a tone-deaf family. “What’s this all about?”

Amy made a face. “I wish I knew,” she said honestly. She blurted out, “Richard seems to think I’m not happy.”

Either that, or he wasn’t. Amy pulled her Kashmir shawl closer around her shoulders. It was a distinctly chilling thought.

“Are you?” asked Jane, in that calm way of hers.

Amy thought about it. There had been more good moments than bad ones in the past year, but they were all of the domestic variety. That is, if one could call a household with obstacle courses set up in the back garden, maps of France taking up most of the ballroom floor, and a butler who alternately believed himself to be Richard III, Hamlet, and an unspecified Pirate King domestic. But why shouldn’t it be? It was their domesticity, not anyone else’s.

“How would you measure happiness?” she asked Jane anxiously. “Do you measure it in little every day things, or big, important ones?”

Jane looked a bit bemused.

“Well,” she said, in the tone of one determined to be helpful, no matter how silly the question, “you do tend to live your life in the day by day, don’t you?”

Amy considered this. “That’s true,” she muttered. She looked up at Jane. “But what if the other casts a shadow?”

Jane just looked at her. Amy could see her eyebrow beginning to rise.

Not the eyebrow. She couldn’t take the eyebrow just now.

Outtake #4:

Reconciliation… such a lovely thing. Even if people– and by people, we mean Miles– do keep banging on the door.

“Nobody’s here!” called Richard.

That appeared to stymie the door panel. It was silent for a moment. Through the panels, a muffled voice called, “The spies are safely stowed. We just thought you might want to know.”

“Why would they think that?” muttered Richard.

Amy poked him in the ribs. “Thank you!” she shouted.

There was silence from the other side of the door.

“You can go away now!” called Richard.

Outtake #5:

What’s a spy couple to call themselves? It’s a toughie.

Outside, in the snowbound world, a curious rabbit paused to watch, while a sparrow pecked for forgotten crumbs on the frosty windowsill. Strange people, those humans.

They would have thought them stranger still had they heard what the woman said, as she lifted her shining face to the Christmas dawn.

“The Twin Primroses?” she suggested eagerly.

“I refuse to be a primrose. And we’re not twins.”

“How about a buttercup?”

“Happy Christmas, Amy.”

“Does that mean ‘no’?”

Which outtake do you like the best? One person will be chosen at random from the comments below to receive a copy of Ivy & Intrigue. Winner to be announced on Wednesday!


  1. Susan on December 20, 2011 at 8:42 am

    They are all pretty good, but I think #1 is my favorite. I like her inner dialogue, and the comments by Jane and Miss Gwen.

  2. AngelB on December 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

    #3 is my favorite. Just because I’m weird and fear Jane’s eyebrow more than I do Gwen’s parasol.

  3. jeffrey on December 20, 2011 at 9:29 am

    I have a preference for #1 because it involves interaction between all three principals and I just LOVE Miss Gwen as the fearless, tough-lady heroine.

  4. Jessica Mac on December 20, 2011 at 9:58 am

    #1!! I love the conversation between the three lady’s! The last comment by Amy is by far my favorite though! Imagining her face as she says it makes me crack up!!

  5. Bethany on December 20, 2011 at 10:35 am

    #1 is my favorite because Miss Gwen corrects Amy’s grammar, and I am always correcting people’s grammar… and not just my students’!

  6. Susan Shaw on December 20, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I really like outtake number 4. It has clarity, humor, and implications that give the characters voice and mood. Delightful!

  7. Rebecca B. on December 20, 2011 at 10:44 am

    I love outtake 1! I feel for Amy’s jealous distraction, as she tries desperately to keep her mind to the conversation as it pertains to Jane and Miss Gwen.

  8. Stephanie LP on December 20, 2011 at 10:50 am

    #4. I love Richard and Amy lovey-dovey moments…and Miles outside the door doesn’t hurt either!

  9. Sarah on December 20, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I vote for #5! I love that Richard tried to change the subject but Amy is persistant. It is cute when a couple is comfortable enough with each other to have a conversation like this one. 🙂

  10. Amanda on December 20, 2011 at 11:21 am

    #4 because any scene with Miles is appreciated!!

  11. Jessica on December 20, 2011 at 11:27 am

    #2 is my favorite – I love Amy’s response to “They’ll be gone tomorrow morning.” I generally think that Miles & Hen are my favorite couple but then I read exchanges between Amy & Richard and feel very torn between the two sets …

  12. Chelsea F on December 20, 2011 at 11:28 am

    #4 or #1. Amy’s jealousy is wonderful to identify with, because it’s something every woman goes through. Miss Gwen is a brilliant character, and I love her pithy moments! And Miles outside the door is a beautiful moment for reconciliation.

  13. Jessica S on December 20, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Outtake #1. Love Miss Gwen!

  14. Becky on December 20, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    I very much enjoyed #5! The way Amy and Richard relate to each other is priceless.

  15. Kiley on December 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    I am going to have to go with Outtake #5.

  16. Christine on December 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    #4. I’m a sucker for Miles.

  17. Stephanie on December 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I love #1. It’s such a realistic portrayal of the situation!

  18. Stephanie on December 20, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    I also like it when Jane is shown being all spy-like. It doesn’t happen enough!!!

  19. Nancy on December 20, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    #3 love the bit about the eyebrow

  20. JoAnn on December 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    #4…I have a thing for Miles!

  21. Ashley on December 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    #4 – anything with Miles is my favorite!

  22. Carolyn on December 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    #3-I like Jane and Amy’s interactions.

  23. Ally P on December 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I think I like #3 the best, although it was difficult to choose! I like the relationship dynamic between Jane and Amy.

  24. Megan on December 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    #2- I love the adorable interaction between Amy and Richard. It makes me want to reread Pink #1! 🙂

  25. Céline on December 20, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I’ll have to choose #1. Definitely. I love to see Amy jealous, and I miss Jane (haven’t really seen her for a few books, considering that I “stopped” at Mistletoe, desperately waiting for The Orchid Affair) and I definitely miss Miss Gwen too! 🙂
    Thanx for the treat Lauren!

    How to you choose the parts that need to go when you review your books? Isn’t it hard to let go of something even if you put hard work on it?

  26. Nikki on December 20, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    #4 – Miles rocks.

  27. Jane on December 20, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I’d pick #3, because of all the lovely insights both fictional and philosophic.

  28. Lindsey on December 20, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I like them all, but #1 is my favourite, with Miss Gwen 🙂

  29. Abby on December 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    I like #3, with its tensions between Jane’s calm, philosophical demeanor and Amy’s exuberance.

  30. Theresa on December 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I like Outtake #1. More Miss Gwen is always welcome!

  31. Ashley Pohlenz on December 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    I love #2! I like Amy and Richard. I really wish I had a Richard!

  32. Skyllar on December 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    #5 I love how Richard and Amy relate. plus it’s just hilarious/cute how he tries to change the subject but she stubbornly stays on track

  33. Erin C on December 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I loved outtake #4, because who hasn’t had an interrupted reconciliation.

  34. Maria on December 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    #4: I love Miles!! More scenes with him are always welcome!!

  35. Jessica C on December 20, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    #3 – because of Jane’s eyebrow and the line about the butler. Happiness isn’t complete without a Pirate King butler!

  36. Kristin on December 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    #2 -I love any exchange between Amy and Richard!

  37. Lauren on December 21, 2011 at 2:07 am

    It’s a tough one, both #1 and #3 are pretty dear to me but ultimately I think my vote goes to #3 because of A.) the off-key/tone-deaf wordplay, B.) the statement about, “grumpy sentence fragments,” and C.) domestic bliss takes on the shadow.

  38. Arliss Rest on December 21, 2011 at 3:29 am

    What a delightful contest! My favorite is #1.

  39. Clara Roberts on December 21, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Oh!! It’s so wonderful written. I like all of them but mostly the small part with the reconciliation. So very funny! You are very talented! 🙂 Good luck!

  40. Stephanie Ball on December 21, 2011 at 9:29 am

    #1 gwen is amazing i cannot wait for her book.

  41. Premiumeyecenters on December 29, 2011 at 10:16 am

    I’m totally for outtake no 1.I love Jane’s witty repays.

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