Merry Christmas! This will be a shorter post today, since, I am sure there are many of you who will be busy with family and festivities. I will be having a quiet day, hanging out in my pjs, and reading, writing, or watching movies as the smell of cooking torments me and makes my stomach rumble.
tisreina. “Period Drama Men: All I Want for Christmas.” YouTube, YouTube, 2 Dec. 2009, youtu.be/4Q9TQTmUGQA.
If I do write, which I have a feeling I will, since I enjoy it so much, I will be working on a new story called Enticing Miss Darcy because I have finished the first draft of One Winter’s Eve and am working on the first round of edits on that. Enticing Miss Darcy is the second sequel to Unravelling Mr. Darcy and follows Becoming Entangled. It focuses on Miss Georgiana Darcy and Mr. Jack Ralston. This past Wednesday, I started writing that story and have about 1500 words written so far, but I will wait until next week to share anything from the new story. For today, I will share a bit from the ending of One Winter’s Night. There will be spoilers and declarations of love in the excerpt, so read at your own risk.
The only other “publishing” news I have for you today is that the last chapter of One Winter’s Eve will post today on Patreon because I scheduled it on Saturday (which is when I scheduled this post, too) :). That means the full story is available to be read there in its current form, which because of the way I write and edit as I go is not a great deal off from what it will be like when it finally publishes.
Now, on to…
AN EXCERPT FROM One Winter’s Eve:
The group made their way down the hall, looking into each room for a moment, commenting on the decor, and listening to Louisa give suggestions on how things could be improved.
“I am sorry to say we will not get a look at this room since the colonel is indisposed. However, it looks very much like the others,” Caroline explained, “except the dressing room is to the left here instead of to the right. The furnishings are similar in style to those in the other rooms and the decor is green with some wheat coloured accents. It is really quite lovely.”
“Indeed, it is,” Louisa chirped.
“Oh!” Caroline said in surprise as the door before her opened, revealing the colonel’s man. Her brows furrowed. “What are you doing?” she asked, her eyes taking in his outerwear and coming to rest on the bag he carried.
“What the colonel ordered, ma’am,” he replied with a nod.
“Where are you taking his bag?” She could not keep herself from asking.
“To the stables, ma’am, and then London.”
Caroline’s hand flew to her heart. “I beg your pardon? The colonel is leaving?”
“Without taking a proper leave?” Her heart was beating rapidly first, from the shock of the news and now, from the anger she felt at his creeping away.
“He left a note, ma’am. I was to give it to your maid.” He placed the bag next to his feet and digging inside his coat, withdrew a missive. “There you are, ma’am.”
“Did he say why he was leaving?” Georgiana came to stand next to Caroline.
The colonel’s man shook his head. “I did not ask. I just do as he tells me.”
Caroline unfolded the note she had been given and moved away from the rest of the group, although Georgiana followed.
I wish to express my gratitude for the hospitality and friendship you have shown me during my stay. As you know, W will be gone as of tomorrow and will no longer pose a threat to Georgie. Therefore, my services are no longer needed.
Again, thank you for providing such fine accommodations and companionship. You will do well as the mistress of your own estate one day. Would that I had one to offer.
Would that I had one to offer? She passed the note to Georgiana and wrapped her arms around herself. He would not offer for her because he did not have an estate? She shook her head. No. She would not allow it.
“Charles, Louisa, you will have to continue without me,” she said as she made her way toward the stairs.
“Where are you going?” Louisa called after her.
“To the stables.”
Caroline stopped and turned toward her sister. “To stop the colonel from leaving unless he has a better reason than the sorry one he gave in that note.”
“Oh,” Louisa shrank back a bit at Caroline’s sharp tone. “Take a coat,” she called.
“I haven’t time,” Caroline shouted back. “I may already be too late,” she said to herself.
“The door!” she called as she rushed down the stairs. “Get the door!” She rubbed her arms as the chill of the night air entered the house through the open door. It was not a warm night. She dashed into the drawing room and snatched the small blanket Louisa kept there. Then, wrapping it around her shoulders, she ran from the house and down the path to the stables.
“Colonel Fitzwilliam!” she shouted as she drew near to the stables and saw him pacing and looking toward the back of the house.
“Miss Bingley,” he said in surprise, drawing to an abrupt stop at her call.
Caroline ran the last few steps to where he stood and next to where a horse was being readied. “John, if you wish to retain your position, you will cease your work at once,” she snapped at the groomsman. “The colonel is not leaving.”
“No, you are not. At least, not on that horse.”
“I can ready that horse myself, you know.” Richard crossed his arms and glared at her.
“John, do not let the colonel near any of the horses unless I say you may, or your position will be at an end.”
“You think he can stop me?” Richard said incredulously, looking at the lad.
“No, I do not. However, I do know that your honour will not allow John to be turned away because of your foolishness.”
Richard shrugged and huffed. She was right. He would never willingly be the cause of a man losing his position unless the reason was justified. His need to escape, though compelling, was not a justifiable reason.
“Offer,” she demanded.
Richard blinked. “Pardon?”
“Offer yourself to me — just as you are.” She stepped closer to him as he shook his head and lowered his eyes to look at something on the ground. “Your note said you wished you had an estate to offer me, but I do not want an estate.”
His brows furrowed, and he looked up at her. “You do not? But you told your sister that you wanted a gentleman with an estate and a fortune and that you did not want a soldier.”
Oh, her heart sighed. “You heard that?”
“It is what I thought I wanted, but I was wrong.” She stepped closer to him again. “As I lay in bed last night attempting to convince myself that it was still what I wanted, I came to the realization that that for which I truly longed was you.” She shrugged in response to his questioning, searching look. “What I feared was not being poor. We would not be. My fortune is ample, and you are not penniless. I feared being a widow.”
Seeing the tears that glistened in her eyes, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to his chest as she continued speaking.
“But I would rather have you for only a short time and endure the heart-shattering pain of losing you than to have never had you at all. I love you.”
“Oh, Caroline,” he whispered. “You cannot love me half as much as I love you.”
“Then offer for me. Make me your wife.”
He pulled back and looked down at her. “You would take me just as I am, a second son who must earn his keep?”