Books Magazine

Double Book Release! Amanda Kai, a Little Bit Foolish & Swipe Right for Mr Darcy

By Mariagrazia @SMaryG

I’m here today celebrating a double book release! A Little Bit Foolish is a collection of Pride and Prejudice April Fool’s stories, and Swipe Right for Mr. Darcy is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice.

In 2021, I began a new tradition of releasing a new comedy story on April Fool’s Day with myshort story Unconventional, an Austentatious Comedy that Defies Expectations! The following year, I wrote An Unexpected Party. Last year, my plans for a short story were interrupted by the release of my full-length variation A Favorable Impression, and thus I did not complete an April Fool’s story in 2023. Therefore, this year, I decided to release a whole collection, including 3 brand-new stories!

April Fish focuses primarily on Colonel Fitzwilliam, whose visit to Rosings on April 1 is punctuated by a series of fish-related pranks. A Good Joke follows Lydia as she travels to Brighton with Mrs. Forster, and the hijinks they get up to, while Two Fools in April stars Elizabeth and Darcy, who become trapped together in a garden shed thanks to Mrs. Collins’ machinations.

In the process of writing these short stories, I began a modern-day Pride and Prejudice retelling, titled Swipe Right for Mr. Darcy. It was intended to be a short story that would be included in my collection. However, the story ran away with itself and ended up being so long, I decided to release it as a separate book! Rather than deprive my readers by making them wait longer between releases, I decided to go ahead and release both books on the same day.

The story’s title and inspiration came after one of my fans, Laura, commented on my Facebook post asking readers to write a modern tagline for their favorite Jane Austen novel. I never expected that my little post would result in a novel, however, I couldn’t resist the idea of Mr. Darcy insulting Lizzy by “swiping left” on her Tinder profile!

I challenged myself to write Swipe Right in the first-person present tense. As someone who normally writes in third or first-person past tense, it was harder than I expected! I feel like the present tense fits the modern tone of the story, however, and makes the reader feel more like they are there with Liz as she experiences the ups and downs that accompany it.

It was fun placing Pride and Prejudice into a modern context. It took some thinking to decide where the story should take place. I considered Texas, my home state, but after some discussions with my good friend Jen W, I settled on Iowa instead. My parents and grandparents are all from Iowa, and I still have relatives there, so since it’s a place I have visited many times, I felt it would be easy enough to write about. My friend agreed that a small town in a Midwestern state would be the sort of place that characters like Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine might look down on.

Meryton, Iowa, is fictitious, but it could easily be any one of the small towns surrounding Des Moines.

The other aspect I had to settle on was what careers to give to Elizabeth and Darcy. Swipe Right may have some online dating aspects, but I knew I needed more of a foundation than that to throw Elizabeth and Darcy into each other’s company regularly. When I wrote the first chapter, I made Bingley a doctor and Jane a nurse (what could be more natural!). This led to my decision to place Elizabeth and Darcy in the corporate side of the medical industry. Darcy is the president of Pemberley Medical Group, a large corporation that owns hospitals across the nation. Liz, on the other hand, is the vice president of her father’s small company, Longbourn Rehabilitation Services, a physical therapy provider that contracts with hospitals and clinics in the region. By putting them both in the same industry, with Longbourn contracting therapists to Darcy’s hospital in Meryton, Netherfield Regional, I could ensure that Darcy and Elizabeth would meet frequently and also have plenty of interactions with Bingley and Jane.

I hope you’ll enjoy these two books!

For a limited time, through April 30, 2024 buy them both and save $4 with this special direct-buy offer

Or buy them individually, 9.99 each

A Little Bit Foolish

Swipe Right for Mr. Darcy



From April Fish, featured in A Little Bit Foolish

Richard sighed inwardly. Would his aunt ever learn to refrain from meddling in his affairs? He had scarcely arrived at Rosings before she commenced her customary harangue concerning his marital prospects. Gazing out of the window, he barely registered her words as she expounded upon his advancing years, the advantageous matches now being secured by other young ladies in her circle, and the importance for him to seize upon an opportunity before he became either too aged or too battle-scarred to appeal to any respectable maiden.

“There is an abundance of eligible ladies to be found in London, yet you persist in neglecting them. Therefore, it falls upon me to bring suitable prospects to your attention. Hence, I have extended an invitation to Lady Marlinton and her daughter, the Honorable Miss Fish, to join us for dinner tomorrow evening.”

Receiving no response, she prodded him with the tip of her cane. “Richard, are you listening to me?”

“My apologies, Aunt Catherine.”

She reiterated the particulars of their expected guests. “Lady Marlinton is the widow of the third Viscount Marlinton. Lord Marlinton left his entire estate to his daughter, a considerable fortune exceeding forty-thousand pounds, along with an estate in Essex! I am of the opinion that Miss Fish would make an excellent match for you, Richard. They are making a special journey to Rosings to acquaint themselves with you before embarking on the Season in Town. I trust you will comport yourself appropriately and afford Miss Fish a fair opportunity to earn your regard. And I must insist there be no foolishness—especially given tomorrow’s date!”

Richard stifled a smile, recalling the many years of April Fool’s pranks he and his cousin Darcy had shared during their spring visits to Rosings. Last year’s jest had been particularly memorable. Yet, it seemed the former Miss Elizabeth Bennet did not find Darcy’s striped pantaloons objectionable, as she now bore the esteemed title of Mrs. Darcy.

Richard felt a pang of disappointment at their absence. They had declined this year’s Easter visit due to Mrs. Darcy’s present delicate condition.

Without the opportunity to play an April Fool’s prank on Darcy, this year’s visit would lack its usual amusement. Yet, Richard’s true purpose lay in visiting Anne.

Darcy and Elizabeth’s union had awakened in Richard the possibility that Lady Catherine might entertain other suitors for her daughter’s hand. Thus, he embarked on his annual pilgrimage to Rosings, hoping to ascertain whether he might stand a chance with Anne.

 However, it appeared Lady Catherine had already predetermined his fate. He would need to convince her that Miss Fish was not a suitable match before he could broach the subject of his own intentions. What a trial! Even the name—Fish—was a vexation to him.

Of all culinary offerings, he held the greatest aversion to fish. The taste, the aroma, even the sight of it revolted him. Thus, the Lenten season posed a particular challenge, with naught but fish at every meal. 

In his own lodgings or with his regiment, he indulged in his preferred fare, forgoing only wine and spirits during his religious observance. However, Lady Catherine adhered strictly to Lenten traditions, eschewing meat from Ash Wednesday to Easter.

Last year, Easter had coincided with the end of March, sparing him the prolonged ordeal. Yet this year, with Easter not until the eighteenth of April and his arrival on the thirty-first of March, he faced a fortnight and more of piscine repasts. Perhaps it was as good a time as any to adopt a herbivorous diet.


What is that smell?

Richard stirred from his slumber, disturbed by an unpleasant odor permeating his bedchamber. The scent, reminiscent of a bustling fish market, assaulted his senses as he reluctantly opened his eyes. In the dim light, he saw before him two large, glassy eyes and a fat mouth. With a startled cry, Richard recoiled, his mind grappling with the absurdity of the sizable river bass resting on his pillow. In his haste to distance himself from the uninvited guest, he tumbled clumsily out of bed, landing upon the floor with an undignified thud. Peering cautiously from his vantage point on the ground, Richard scrutinized the intruder, relieved to ascertain its lifeless state. The notion of sharing his bed with a live fish was decidedly unpalatable.

A knock at the door interrupted his contemplation, heralding the arrival of Lady Catherine’s footman, whose name eluded Richard’s recollection in his disorientation.

“Colonel Fitzwilliam, are you well? I heard a commotion,” the footman inquired, concern evident in his voice.

“Yes, I am unharmed. However, there appears to be an unexpected visitor in my bed,” Richard responded, his tone betraying a mixture of bemusement and incredulity.

 “Oh, my! I will remove it at once.” The footman exclaimed, seeing the fish on the bed. 

“And if you would be so kind as to draw me a bath thereafter,” Richard added, grateful for the footman’s assistance.

“Certainly, sir,” the footman acknowledged with a deferential bow before setting about his tasks.

As he awaited the footman’s return, Richard pondered the peculiar circumstances that had led to a fish finding its way into his bed. Lady Catherine’s involvement seemed improbable, as did Anne’s. Perplexed, he considered the possibility of an aggrieved servant seeking retribution for some perceived slight. Yet, the unfamiliarity of the footman attending him cast doubt upon this theory. The mystery remained unsolved, leaving Richard to contemplate the motives of potential culprits.

Only Darcy might have any motive against me. But he is not present.


A warm bath sounded most inviting after the peculiar ordeal of sharing his bed with a fish. Richard swiftly shed his banyan and night shift, eagerly anticipating the soothing embrace of the water. However, his anticipation swiftly turned to dismay as he plunged into the tub without first testing the temperature. With a startled cry, he recoiled from the lukewarm water, only to find it was not merely tepid—it was alive with movement. To his astonishment, live fish were swimming within the confines of his bathtub!

Swiftly wrapping his discarded banyan around himself, Richard pulled the bell cord in agitation, summoning the footman without delay. In moments, the servant appeared, his countenance a picture of alarm at the unexpected sight before him.

“Footman! What is the meaning of this?” Richard demanded, his voice tinged with exasperation.

The man’s face paled at the accusation, his eyes wide with trepidation. “Oh, my word! I assure you, sir, I am not responsible for this peculiar occurrence. I had laid out the necessary items for your bath, but it was Betsy who carried up the water. I must confess, I neglected to inspect the bath once she had completed the task.” The footman’s gaze remained fixed upon the ground, as if fearing retribution for his oversight.

“And what is your name, footman?” Richard inquired, his tone demanding but not unkind.

“Liam, if you please, sir,” the footman replied, his voice barely above a whisper.

“Summon this Betsy at once, Liam. I wish to speak with her,” Richard ordered, his brow furrowed with determination.

“Certainly, sir,” Liam replied, hastening from the room to carry out his master’s command.

As Richard awaited the arrival of Betsy, his thoughts churned with indignation. If either Liam or Betsy proved to be responsible for this outrageous prank, he vowed to ensure that his aunt dismissed them forthwith.

A round maid in a mob cap and apron entered a few minutes later. 

“You are Betsy, I take it?” Richard asked. “I understand you were responsible for the drawing of my bath. Would you care to explain how my bath came to be lukewarm and filled with fish?”

She fell prostrate before him. ‘T weren’t me, I swear, sir! The bath were warm ‘n’ clean when I left it. I can’t fink ‘ow the fish got there! There must be a prankster on t’loose who dumped a bucket o’ those wrigglers in there after I filled it.” She began sobbing. “Please, sir, don’t report me to t’mistress! I on’y just got this job and I can’t afford to be on the streets wi’out a reference!”

She seemed so pitiful, Richard chose to have mercy on her. “If you say it wasn’t you, Betsy, I shall believe you. Have you any idea who might have done this?”

“None, sir.”

“Could it have been Liam, perhaps?”

“I don’ think so, sir. ‘E started ‘ere, same time I did. ‘E’d ‘ave no cause to ‘arm ye, sir.”

She had a point. “Very well, then. Be off with you.” 

After a slight bow, she scurried off to tend to her duties, and Liam returned. 

“I will have someone remove this bathwater and the fish inside it at once, sir. Shall I have someone draw you another one?”

“No, thank you, Liam. I shall forgo the bath for the present in favor of a sponge instead, and perhaps some extra eau de cologne.”

“Certainly, sir.” 

As he was being dressed, Richard scrutinized the footman more closely. There was something oddly familiar about the man’s countenance beneath his spectacles and powdered wig. His prominent jaw and distinctive nose bore no resemblance to anyone Richard knew, yet there was an undeniable familiarity in his piercing gaze. 

“Do you have any relatives, Liam?”

“Relatives, sir?”

“Yes. Any brothers or sisters in service, whom I might know?”

“None, sir. I have a sister, but she is not in service.”

“How about the army?”

“I have a cousin in the army.”

“Which regiment?”

“Er, in the 36th Regiment, I believe.”

“Ah, that must be it! I am a colonel of that regiment. It must be your cousin whom your appearance reminds me of. What is his name, pray tell?”

“I am sorry, sir, I must return downstairs. Breakfast will be served soon, and I am expected to wait at table.” Liam bowed before disappearing out of the room with surprising alacrity, leaving Richard to ponder whether the footman’s abrupt departure was intentional. Could this cousin of Liam’s have any involvement in the unusual capers that plagued Rosings?

The pulsating beat of the music reverberates through the club, drowning out conversation and making my eardrums vibrate. Neon lights flicker overhead, casting electric hues across the dance floor. I lean closer to my companion and ask her to repeat herself.

“What's that you say, Char?”

Charmaine Lucas flips her long braids over her shoulder and raises her voice. “I said, I think it's going well, don't you?”

I look across the crowded club to where my sister is dancing energetically with the guy she's with. Bradley– no, that's not right. Bingley. Dr. Bingley Charleson. On his profile on Tinder, he says it's an old family name. It sounds about as pretentious as his slick Ivy League haircut and his perfectly pressed chinos. Who wears chinos to go clubbing anyway? I guess a guy who graduated from Harvard med, like Bingley, that’s who. Jane is on her first date with him. They met on Tinder, and she asked me to tag along for moral support, just in case he turns out to be a serial killer. You know, the usual sisterly duty.

So far, no signs of danger. Bingley seems nice—like, squeaky-clean nice. Perfect for Jane, who works tirelessly as a nurse at the assisted living center. She’s always picking up extra shifts, staying late, and generally being taken advantage of by her co-workers. She deserves a good boyfriend, someone who’ll give her an excuse not to work overtime and actually have a life.

I holler back over the thumping bass, “Yeah. I'm glad I got her to download the app.” I’m glad Char’s here. If the date goes well, I’ll still have company, and if it’s a bust, we’ll turn it into a girls’ night out.

Bingley had a similar idea, it seems.He’s brought along his sister, Carrie, and his friend, whose name I’ve already forgotten.Something equally pretentious as Bingley’s name, which suited, because this dude has to be ten times more stuck up than Bingley. He barely glanced at me and my sister during our introduction, his eyes drawn to the neon-lit stage where the DJ was playing. Without more than a word of acknowledgement to us, he let Carrie Charleson drag him off to the dance floor, leaving Bingley to carry on the pleasantries without them until I left Jane to her date and met up with Charmaine.

Charmaine and I sway our hips to the beat, lost in the rhythm of the music.

The song ends and I can finally hear again.

“The music is really great tonight, huh?” Char asks.

I chuckle. “You're only saying that because your brother is the DJ.”

The self-dubbed “DJ Sir Willy Yam” tries hard to play off rapper’s name but without a lot of success. Still, he’s managed to land a nightly gig at Club Meridian– Meryton, Iowa’s sole hotspot for nighttime revelry– so I guess that's something.

“C’mon,” Charmaine suggests, “let's grab a drink while Willy takes his break.”

Char orders a Cosmopolitan, while I opt for a virgin daiquiri. I prefer to keep my wits about me in this neon-lit playground.

Char takes a sip. “So, seen anybody here you'd like to dance with?”

“Nah. They're all losers.”

“What about that Darcy guy who came with your sister’s date? He's pretty cute.”

“I guess,” I shrug. “I saw him dancing with that other girl earlier. Bingley's sister.”

Char rolled her eyes. “Yeah, but from what I could tell, he wasn't enjoying it very much.”

“I'm not sure he enjoys much of anything, to be honest. He looked too bored to be bothered from the moment they got here.”

“Ok, well if you don't like him, then maybe we can find you somebody else.”

“Nah, don't bother,” I say. “This is Jane’s night.”

A few minutes later, the music starts up again. I grin as I see Jane and her date hit the dance floor once more. Things must be going remarkably well for her to dance a second time with him. She's so reserved, she hardly ever dances when we go out.

Charmaine leans in close. “Don't look now, but that Darcy guy just sat down at the other end of the bar from us. Maybe he’s trying to work up the courage to come over.”

“Doubt it.” Out of the corner of my eye, I see him sitting a few seats away with his back towards us. He appears to be engrossed in a mobile game.

“Well, if you’re not gonna dance, Liz, I’m gonna chat it up with that six-foot piece of hunk over there” Char points to a well-built guy in a leather jacket, form-fitting jeans, and a gold earring, dancing on the other side of the room. She pats my shoulder before walking over to him. I begin fiddling with the umbrella in my daiquiri and bopping my head to the tune. The song ends and changes to a quieter one. Somebody comes over to the bar and sits beside Darcy. I glance and see that it’s Bingley. Two other people are sitting between us, so they don’t notice me, but I can hear every word they’re saying.

“C’mon Darcy, you’re just sitting there on your phone like some oaf. You should be out there, dancing!”

Darcy groans in response. “Not interested. Clubbing’s not my thing. And honestly, dancing with any of the girls here would feel more like a chore.”

Bingley laughs. “That’s a bit harsh! There are plenty of beautiful girls around tonight. In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen the club this packed with pretty faces before!”

“You’re dancing with the only pretty one. You’d better return to your date and enjoy her smiles. You’re wasting your time with me. Besides, where is she? You didn’t abandon her, I hope.”

“She just went to freshen up. She’ll be back soon. But let’s not change the subject.I’m not giving up until we find you someone to dance with!” Bingley insists, snatching the phone out of Darcy’s hands.

“What are you doing? I was in the middle of that level!”

“Candy Crush?” Bingley snorts. “You can ‘match three’ later. For now, we’ve got to match you up.”

“No, no,” Darcy protests, “I don’t even use that app! I don’t know why you made me download it.”

“Let’s see who’s nearby.” The unmistakable clicks and swipes signal that Bingley has opened up Darcy’s Tinder app, browsing through potential matches.

“How about her?” He shows the phone to Darcy.

“Nope,” Darcy says, barely glancing at it.

“This one?”


“Ooh, she’s hot!”

He looks over and scoffs. “Are you kidding me?”

“Picky, picky!” Bingley chortles. He shows more prospects to Darcy, but after a while, Darcy stops looking as he keeps telling Bingley to swipe left.

Bingley’s expression changes. “Hey, I recognize this girl! Isn’t she Jane’s sister? She’s here in the club somewhere. We met her earlier.”

I gulp. They’re talking about me! I lean my head away from them and try to block the view of my face with my hand in case they happen to look over. I forgot that Jane insisted that I set up a profile too if I was going to make her start using Tinder. So far, I’d had several bad dates, but nobody that really interested me.Maybe it was because of my profile pic. I never liked taking portraits, and I detested posing for selfies with all of my being. The pic I chose was a silly candid shot that Jane snapped of me eating an ice cream. No makeup on, and my hair was blowing in the wind. I figured it captured the real me, and if somebody actually liked me for who I was, then they had a much better shot with me. I cringed though, knowing that Darcy guy must be looking at it now, though.

“I could have sworn I saw her around earlier,” Bingley says, “She’s pretty cute, Darcy. You should find her and ask her to dance before somebody else does!”

“She’s tolerable,” Darcy mutters, “but not handsome enough to tempt me. Swipe left!”

Oof! His words hit me like a punch in the gut. Sure, I don’t like him, but it still hurts to hear him insult me like that. ‘Not handsome enough to tempt me’! Who even talks like that?

Not willing to risk further humiliation should they spot me, I down the last of my drink in one gulp, ignoring the brain freeze that hits like one of mom’s migraines, and hop off my seat towards the crowd. Keeping my lips pressed tight and my tongue to the roof of my mouth, the headache is almost gone by the time I reach Charmaine, who is dancing with a random crowd of strangers.

“Hey, girl!” she says cheerfully.

“I take it you didn’t hit it off with Mr. Hunk?” I ask.

“Turns out he’s gay,” she shrugs. “Guess I know how to pick ‘em! It’s just like my momma says–I’ll be forty and still single at the rate things are going.”

“Don’t talk like that!” I scold her. “You just haven’t found the right person yet. Besides, having a man does not define you.”

“My momma sure thinks so. She keeps going on and on about how I need to settle down.”

I roll my eyes. “Mine does too, but I don’t let that stop me from living my best single life.”

“Props to you. But you might not be single for too long. You’re far too attractive for men not to notice you.”

“Thanks, but I’m not sure the men around here would agree with that.”  

Char gives me a puzzled look, so I tell her what I overheard Darcy say about me.

“Girl, you don’t need to give that man another thought! ‘Tolerable’, my bare bum!”

I laugh. I know that if it were anybody else, she would have used a different word, but she knows I don’t care for coarse language, so she censors herself. Char grew up in a rough neighborhood before her father, a former cop, decided to go into politics and won the popular vote in the mayoral election. As his career advanced, they moved out of the neighborhood where he’d built his platform on helping to rid of gang violence and drugs, and bought a spacious two-story brick house in the suburbs west of Des Moines, not far from where my family lives. Charmaine now works as her dad’s assistant, and also his campaign manager, now that he’s decided to run for Congress. When I met Charmaine in high school, she was still a little rough around the edges, but we hit it off due to our shared love of pop music and classic lit. Weird combo, I know, but hey, everyone has their jam.

“This night’s been a bust for us, I guess.” My lips curl into a frown. “At least Jane’s had a great night.”

“We should get out of here, get some pizza or something,” Char suggests.

Just after she says this, Jane comes over, with Bingley in tow. “Bing’s going to take me home later,” she says. “You don’t mind, do you?” The look on her face tells me they’re probably about to slip off someplace where they can be alone for a while. The date must be going really well.

“No, no, of course not!” I say. “Char and I were just talking about blowing this popsicle stand and going somewhere else.”

“Well, Bingley wants to take me for an ice cream. He says he knows where a 24-hour McDonald’s is. You could come with us,” she offers hopefully.

“No way, I’m not going to squash your date! You kids have fun!” I tease them playfully, giving Jane a pat on the arm and Bingley a wink in his direction.

“Thanks ‘Mom’, I’ll have her home before 2,” Bingley jokes.

I laugh. “Take your time!” At least he’s got a good sense of humor. Not like his friend. But, with any luck, I’ll never have to meet him again.


To celebrate the release of A Little Bit Foolish and Swipe Right for Mr. Darcy, Amanda Kai is holding a giveaway from April 1-30. 

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.


Amanda Kai’s love of period dramas and classic literature inspires her historical and contemporary romances.  She is the author of several stories inspired by Jane Austen, including the award-winning novels Not In Want of a Wife and A Favorable Impression.  Prior to becoming an author, Amanda enjoyed a successful career as a professional harpist, and danced ballet for twenty years. When she’s not diving into the realm of her imagination, Amanda lives out her own happily ever after in Texas with her husband and three children.

Amanda's Website

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog