Her Father’s Choice is complete (for now) and off to a couple of readers to begin the polishing process, which means it is time to start considering the next story. The next one, tentatively titled No Other Choice is Mary’s quest to find a happily ever after. She’s a good girl…prone to pontificate and lecture but good. Hopefully, she will find what she is looking for without too much trouble along the way. (I have a longish excerpt from the end of my current book below that begins to set up what might happen in the next book.)
“Good Girl- Carrie Underwood Lyrics.” YouTube. Video created for and uploaded to YouTube by Heartlandlover74395, 23 Feb. 2012.
From No Other Choice:
“Mrs. Bennet,” said Lady Sophia as she took Mrs. Bennet’s arm. “This is a fine fete. One of the best I have attended, and I am not given to meaningless flattery.” Together, the two ladies walked toward the far end of the room where the piano had been placed. Georgiana and Mary were seated comfortably at it taking turns playing. “My niece will no doubt be returning to her brother’s home as soon as he and Mrs. Darcy are settled, and I shall be quite alone.”
“But do you not have a son?” asked Mrs. Bennet.
“I do,” said Lady Sophia, “but he is often gone to our estate and when he is in town he has his friends and clubs. He is not inattentive, mind you, but he is not the sort to sit about and stitch with his mother.”
“I would be surprised if any gentleman were the sort to do so,” said Mrs. Bennet in surprise.
“Precisely,” said Lady Sophia. She watched Mary turn the pages for Georgiana. It was a friendship she was glad to see and wished to nurture for the sake of both young ladies. “I was wondering if I might be so bold as to ask that you allow me the company of one of your daughters. I have the means by which to sponsor a young lady for a season and Miss Mary is such a delight.”
“Mary?” Mrs.Bennet looked at Mary as if never having seen the girl before. “Mary is a delight?”
“Indeed, I find her so, but I am not typical.” said Lady Sophia.
“You would like to give my Mary a season in town?” The excitement was building in Mrs. Bennet’s voice.
“Yes, Mrs. Bennet, I would, and as a Countess and the mother of the Earl Rycroft, I can guarantee she would be given the greatest opportunities to meet and mingle with many eligible young gentlemen.” She smiled and whispered. ” You may find yourself with three married daughters before any of the others have even one; although, I cannot guarantee it will happen, I do think with a bit of specific training ─ which I can arrange ─ she will take quite well. You may even find she has more than one offer.”
“Oh, my lady, you do us a great honor. I would be delighted to allow Mary to stay with you for the season.” Mrs. Bennet’s fan fluttered with the excitement of it all.
“Very good,” said Lady Sophia. “I am elated to know I shall have such excellent company.”
Mary had not meant to be listening, but being close to where her mother and Lady Sophia were talking, she had heard the majority of the conversation. She was to go to town for the season?
“Oh, Mary,” whispered Georgiana,”I shall be so glad to have you near. Is it not exciting?”
Mary nodded, a sense of freedom welled within her.
“Of what are we conversing about in whispers, dear cousin,” said Lord Rycroft drawing a chair near them.
Mary lifted a brow in disapproval. “It is not polite to ask about another’s private conversations.”
“I do apologize, Miss Mary, but you both looked so delighted, I found myself overcome by curiosity.” It was not the first apology he had offered her, and he suspected it would not be last. He had offended her, and true to what Darcy had said, a Bennet lady did not forgive an offense readily. She had said she accepted the apology, but her manners still said otherwise. “Would it be impolite of me to request that you play that last song once again? I rather enjoyed it.”
She gave him a wary look. “Some might find it repetitive to listen to the same piece twice in a row.” She took her music from the instrument. “I shall play it, but not until after I have had a moment to walk about and partake of a glass of punch.” She rose and dipped a quick curtsey. “If you will excuse me.”
“Did you offend her?” asked Georgiana turning toward her cousin.
“Why do you ask?” He said stretching his legs out in front of him.
“Because she was rather cross.” Georgiana crossed her arms and scowled at him.
“I may have said something as a jest that she found offensive, but I have apologized. She is just unwilling to forgive.”
“Hmph,” huffed Georgiana. She spread her music out on the piano and began to play. “Since you have driven her away, you will need to pay attention so that you might turn the pages for me.”