As the readers of my books know, I am not one of those writers who can write quickly. In that regard, I proudly claim to be like Mr. Darcy who so famously said to Caroline, “You are mistaken. I write rather slowly.”
It takes me about a year to write a book and longer than that to get it ready for publication, so today, I am happy to announce the publication of my next novel Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept which is available on Amazon and Create Space.
Here’s a synopsis of the story.
Five years after his disastrous proposal at Kent, Fitzwilliam Darcy receives a letter from Charles Bingley regarding a promise he made when their friendship ended. Should Darcy decide to keep the promise, it will throw him into the company of the one woman he has struggled for years to forget—Elizabeth Bennet.
Having just entered a secret agreement with Lady Markham, will Darcy put his future in jeopardy by stepping in to help Bingley? Has time and distance helped him overcome his regard for Elizabeth, or will he fall as madly in love with her as before?
Is true love to be found in a promise kept?
I hope I’ve piqued your interest. Take a look at the cover. I love it!
I shared part of the first chapter in a previous post and the entire chapter in our Writers Block, so you can read them there if you haven’t already. Still, I wanted to share a little more of the story in honor of its publication, so here’s an excerpt from Chapter Seven:
As William waited in the library for the butler to locate Jane Bingley, he perused the titles on a bookcase that covered the entire west wall. Impressed with the collection, he surmised that the estate must have come with the furnishings, since everything seemed much as it was when he and Bingley toured the house years ago, and a well-stocked library was not one of Charles’ priorities. Then, too, Lord Norton had deliberated renting the property because he had two other estates, so William felt reasonably certain that the man would not have taken the majority of the books with him when the estate sold, if any.
Caught up in his observations, William was unaware that Elizabeth had entered the room behind him. Since she was not expecting him to be at the Bingleys’ residence that day, she did not see him either, and turned in the opposite direction. Even so, he was alerted to her presence when she began humming a tune he remembered from his childhood—Lavender’s Blue.
The minute he spied her, his breath caught. Only once had he seen her hair in its present style—at a picnic Charles had hosted at Netherfield. The sides were pulled up and tied with long, pink satin ribbons, the ends of which were now entwined in the dark curls that cascaded down her back. As his eyes followed her lithe frame across the room, he was tortured by thoughts of how it would feel to replace the ribbons with his fingers. Thoroughly dismayed at the path his thoughts had taken, William tried to picture Millie’s hair worn in the same fashion, but could not.
In Elizabeth’s hands were several books, and, once she reached a small, round table, she laid them there. Then she walked down an identical wall of bookshelves until she found a library chair. Sliding this object along the floor until it was where she wished it to be, she flipped the chair over, revealing four built-in steps. Then, taking the top book from the stack, she lifted her skirts and put one dainty foot on the bottom step. Since she wore simple slippers and no stockings, William had a good view of her left ankle and leg clear to the knee. Instantly aware that he should have announced his presence before now, his heart began to race. Still, in light of the circumstances, he was incapable of speech.
Unfortunately, Jane Bingley chose that moment to rush into the room. “Mr. Darcy, I had no idea you would come today! It was only yesterday that I sent the express.”
At the sound of Jane’s voice, Elizabeth’s head swung around. Finding William staring in her direction, she dropped her skirts and lifted her chin, giving him a stern glare.
Thoroughly embarrassed, William turned to Jane, stuttering a reply. “I . . . I was preparing to leave for Pemberley, but your letter gave me the impression that you were frightened; thus, I came here first.”
By then, Elizabeth had walked towards them. Jane’s eyes went wide when she realised that her sister had heard everything. Before she could speak, however, Elizabeth said impatiently, “You were frightened, Jane, yet you did not think to tell me?”
Jane’s hands flew to her face, and she began to cry, and Elizabeth pulled her sister into an embrace, patting her back.
“Please do not cry, dearest. I was only wounded that you did not feel that you could confide in me. I want to know when anything is amiss. In your condition, you should not carry burdens alone.
“It is not that I felt I could not confide in you. It is just—” Jane stopped to pull a handkerchief from her pocket and dab at her eyes. Looking from her sister to William, she said, “Let us sit down, and I will tell you both what has transpired.
Minutes later, Jane had shared a letter from Kitty that had arrived a week earlier. That letter had informed her that a strange man had been seen in Meryton asking about the former occupants of Longbourn. More particularly, he had visited that property and spoken to Mr. Collins, presenting himself as an old friend of Mr. Bennet. Upon being informed of the calamity that had befallen their parents, he enquired as to whether the daughters were all well. He also wanted to know whether they had married and where each lived. Only the arrival of Charlotte Collins from a quick jaunt into Meryton cut short the rector’s long-winded recitation of each sister’s fate before he got to Elizabeth. Charlotte, being more wary than her husband, had informed Kitty of the man’s inquisitiveness the next day. Nonetheless, by the time Kitty asked for the man’s whereabouts in the village, he had slipped away.
Already planning a visit, the following day Kitty travelled to the nearby village of Compton where James Parton, Mary’s husband, was the vicar. Immediately upon arrival, Kitty informed Mary of the strange man in Meryton. Consequently, Mary related a similarly odd occurrence. It seemed that a stranger had come by the parish in search of counselling only the week before, and his conversation had swiftly moved from his own concerns to assertions that he knew Mary’s father years ago. When he enquired as to how the sisters had fared since their parents’ untimely deaths, the vicar mentioned that Kitty had married Harvey Thomas, a law clerk, and still lived in Meryton. When he asked about Elizabeth specifically, Mr. Parton became suspicious and sent him on his way.
Once Jane had finished reading, the room was eerily silent. The look on William’s face was enough to convince her that he was contemplating the situation before commenting. Elizabeth, however, had no such reluctance and attempted to make light of it all.
“Surely asking about our family is scarcely a reason to think that anyone means to do us harm? On the contrary, Papa had many good friends from university, and upon hearing of the circumstances of his death, why would they not profess an interest in our welfare?”
Jane was about to answer, when William retorted, “I am afraid that I cannot agree, Mrs. Gardiner. One incident may be logical. Two is suspect.”
Apparently still angry that he had not made his presence known earlier, Elizabeth snapped, “Mr. Darcy, you may be in charge of all our finances, but you are not in charge of my life! Surely I have a right to live without fear of every person who asks after me.”
“Lizzy,” Jane said, “you have no right to talk to Mr. Darcy in that manner.”
William held up a hand. “Please. Let her say what she wishes; that is her prerogative.”
“I wanted to spare you the worst of it, Lizzy, but I see that I simply cannot,” Jane said wearily. “Mayhap you will change your tone after hearing this.” Reaching into her pocket, she withdrew another missive. Holding it out to William, she said, “This arrived yesterday morning and was what prompted the express.”
William took the paper, his brows furrowing as he read what was written thereon. I know the secret about your sister and that child.
Seeing his expression darken, Elizabeth asked, “What does it say?”
Looking up, he locked eyes with hers. “Do you not think it time I was told the truth?”
Not able to meet his gaze, Elizabeth looked away.
“He has earned the right to know, Lizzy.”
Purchase links for Darcy and Elizabeth – A Promise Kept:
PAPERBACKNow, for the fun part! I’m giving away four Kindle e-book copies. If you leave a comment by midnight Friday April 15, CST, you’ll be included in the drawing. I hope you win, and it takes your mind off your taxes!