I have great news on the publishing front. Her Father’s Choice is currently available on Kobo and in progress on Kindle and as a print book. I am just waiting for KDP to complete its review and publishing process and for a physical proof copy of the cover in order to finish the publication process.
Now, I do like to make my work available to be read for free for those who do not have the budget to buy books as often as they might like. However, once the book is published, I cannot leave up much of the book on my site (there are rules about this). So, I am posting a chapter today, but taking down the previous chapters and reviewing my options to still make the story available and meet contract regulations.
Continuing on that theme…While I do understand the lack of budget for books (find myself there often) and I do have a commitment to providing free reading material (I love my readers!), I also pay my bills from the money made on book sales. So, I appreciate all those who show me their support through reading and commenting (such a great motivation) and through purchasing and/or sharing about my books. (Remember, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.)
Now, on to the story…
Elizabeth stood looking out the front window of her uncle’s house in Gracechurch Street, watching Darcy’s coach make its way through the early evening traffic. She pulled in her lip and bit it softly as she considered the man within the coach. As she had promised Jane two days ago, she had questioned everything about him. Yesterday, she had questioned him in regards to his attention to his tenants and his staff. She had asked him of his father and of his steward. She had even dared to ask about his supposed betrothal to his cousin. He had patiently borne all her inquiries. She was beginning to run out of questions about his character, which left her in a very uncomfortable state, for she knew that she must also examine her own character, a character that seemed wanting, having so misjudged Mr. Darcy, a character which had fallen easy prey to the pretty words of a charmer. She sighed.
Mrs. Gardiner placed an arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders. “He seems very pleasant.”
“A right proper gentleman,” agreed her uncle.
“Not at all as you described,” said her aunt softly.
Elizabeth’s shoulders lifted slightly and then dropped. “I may have misjudged him.” She turned sad eyes to her aunt. “I do not know who he is. I was so sure I knew, but I do not.”
“Ah, my dear. Something tells me you know more than you will allow yourself to admit.” Mrs. Gardiner turned Elizabeth away from the window. “We should get you and Mary installed in your room.” She led Elizabeth from the room and started up the stairs. “You will, of course, have to share your story of how you became betrothed to a man you were so set against. I have had your father’s version, but I would like to hear yours.” She turned to the right at the top of the stairs and opened the second door on her left. “Your uncle has brought home some lovely laces and a few pieces of silk he thought you might like. I have to say, your uncle has an excellent eye for colour. You would look lovely in all of them, so you shall have a dress from each. Mrs. Havelston has lent me her book of fashions. She knows how much you dislike spending hours in her shop choosing fabrics and patterns, and our time is limited.”
Elizabeth sat heavily on the bed while Mary opened a trunk and began the task of unpacking. “It is all too much.”
“Are you indeed your mother’s daughter?” Mrs. Gardiner crossed her arms and gave Elizabeth an amused but quizzical look.
A small laugh escaped Mary. “She has been for three days now.”
“You have been a ball of nerves ever since the ball,” explained Mary.
“I am being forced to marry a man I barely know because my aunt created a scene. You would not be a picture of serenity either if it were you.”
Mary shrugged. “Perhaps I would be as distraught as you if I were to be forced to marry a wealthy, handsome gentleman who obviously cared for me, but I rather doubt it.” Mary hung a gown in the wardrobe. “Mr. Darcy is not so very bad. You could have to marry Mr. Collins.”