Friday’s Feature: A Dash of Darcy Duo 1

 

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This month’s Friday Feature is actually two book in one — for the price of one! This weekend, December 15-17, 2017, A Dash of Darcy Duo 1 will be on sale for just $2.99 (regular price is $4.99). As with other Friday Features, this is a Kindle only sale.

There is a meme I have seen that says: I like short books, and I cannot lie… Ok, that’s not how the meme actually reads, ūüėČ but it is how it needs to read if it is to be true for me. I simply love well-written novellas or short novels. In fact,¬†I go looking for novellas.¬† For me, a novella is just the right length to be started and finished in one sitting. Since I tend to write what I like — short and sweetly diverting tales–,¬† this love of well-done quick reads spurred me to start my Dash of Darcy Stories Collection as well as my Dash of Darcy Companion Stories Collection.

My Dash of Darcy stories range from about 20,000 to 25,000 or just slightly more words and answer the question “what if Darcy and Elizabeth’s story took a different path to happily ever after?” Each story in this collection will depart from the original work,¬†Pride and Prejudice, at some specific point in that story’s timeline, and while some parts of the continuation may mirror the original, most will not because these tales are reimaginings and not retellings.

I have paired my first two Dash of Darcy stories in this first duo.  Because this book is actually a pair of books, this post is going to be a bit long.  I will begin by sharing a short description and an excerpt from Finally Mrs. Darcy and follow that with the short description and an excerpt from Waking to Mr. Darcy.

Remember that this book will only be priced on Kindle at the cost of one of the books, $2.99, for this weekend, Dec 15-17, 2017. After Sunday, the price will return to its regular price.
Continue reading Friday’s Feature: A Dash of Darcy Duo 1

Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 9

You can find previous posts HERE.

Part Nine

Darcy’s brows furrowed as he shook his head. “But she has my good opinion; she does not have to wish for it.”

“Oh, she knows she has your tolerably good opinion,” Mrs. Gardiner said as she rose and gathered empty cups.¬† Both of her brows rose as she took Mr. Darcy’s cup from him.¬† “I am afraid she heard your comment at the assembly.¬† In fact, I am quite certain everyone who knows and is close to Lizzy has heard your comment from the assembly.¬† I had it in a letter not two days after it was spoken.”

Darcy blew out a breath and closed his eyes for a moment.¬† “Then, if she is so set against me, do I have any hope?” he asked.

Mrs. Gardiner placed the cups she held on the tea tray and then, as she crossed the room to summon someone to clear the things away, she stopped and lay a hand on Darcy’s shoulder much like Richard’s mother would at times when attempting to reassure him of something.

“Hope is not lost until she is married to someone other than you.¬† Until that time, we must not faint.”¬† She gave his shoulder a pat and then rang for the maid.

“Now, we must decide how to proceed,” she said as she returned to her seat. “I am not a matchmaker, mind you.¬† However, I do long to see my nieces well-settled.”

Her smile and accompanying laugh were infectious, filling the room with a lightness it had not had for several minutes.

“I might be able to persuade her to visit,”¬† Mrs. Gardiner said.¬† “And then you can call just as you are now, and she will see that you are not as she thinks.”¬† She winked. “I will be certain to sing your praises if she should disparage.¬† An unhappy Lizzy is known to allow her tongue to get the better of her good sense.¬† Aside from getting Elizabeth here and allowing Mr. Darcy to confuse and then charm her, are there any other contentious items that need our forethought?” Continue reading Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 9

Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 8

You can find previous posts HERE.

Part Eight

“Was it an unpardonable error?” Bingley’s heart thumped wildly, and his palms became moist while drawing a breath became something about which he needed to think.¬† How he would survive a negative response without making a complete cake of himself, he was uncertain.

Jane’s cheeks grew rosy, and she took a slow sip from her cup.¬† Then, as she returned her cup to her saucer with only a small clatter, she answered.¬† “It is only unpardonable if you intentions in calling today are less than sincere or if you should be so easily persuaded once again.”

“I promise my intentions are both sincere and unwavering,” Bingley replied, passing his cup to Darcy.¬† “I fear I will drop this if I must hold it any longer.”¬† He rubbed his hands on his breeches.¬† “If you will allow me, Miss Bennet, I will request an interview with your uncle to gain his blessing in your father’s stead to court you. I know this is not exactly the most fitting setting for such a discussion. I should have asked to speak to you in private. However, I came today determined to discover if I had any hope of winning you, and I am willing to openly suffer any humiliation my offer may bring.”¬† He smiled sheepishly. “Although I would be lying if I said I did not hope to avoid the humiliation of rejection.”

“You may speak to my uncle,” Jane said with a smile.

Bingley grasped Jane’s hand which was not holding her cup and lifting it, kissed it.¬†¬† “Thank you,” he whispered, returning her smile.

“My husband will not be home for many hours,” Mrs. Gardiner said.¬† “He is to dine with an associate this evening.”

“Tomorrow would be soon enough,” Bingley replied.¬† “Unless¬†it would not be too offensive for me to stop at his place of business today.”

Mrs. Gardiner chuckled.¬† “You do not do things by halves, do you, Mr. Bingley?”

“Not when it is of such importance as this,” Bingley replied with a smile.¬† “Now if you were to ask me to muck out the stables, I might not be as eager.”

“I shall ask you to do no such thing.”¬† Mrs. Gardiner’s left brow rose with an impertinence that reminded Darcy once again of Elizabeth.¬† “However, there are four children in the nursery, and I would not be above shuffling one or more of them off on you so that both their nurse and I might have a nice quiet cup of tea and a read.”

Bingley shrugged and settled back in his chair.¬† “I am fond of both children and toys, especially if there might be a tin of biscuits involved.”

“Oh, boys and their biscuits!” Mrs. Gardiner cried. “My youngest son is forever attempting to sneak an extra treat when his nurse’s back is turned.”¬† She chuckled.¬† “He is only two, so though I reprimand, it is forgivable.”¬† She held out a plate of almond cakes to Bingley.

“Mr. Darcy,” she began as Bingley selected two cakes from the plate, causing her to smile.¬† “You are like John,” she said to Bingley before turning back to Darcy.¬† “You said you could not return to Netherfield, and I admit to being curious as to the cause of your reluctance — nay — refusal to return.”¬† She offered him an almond cake and refused to move from her spot until he had taken one.¬† Then, she gathered his cup from the tea tray and returned that to him as well.¬† “I will not have you leave without refreshment,” she said kindly before returning to her seat. “Would I be correct in assuming it had something to do with another one of my nieces?”

Darcy washed down his bite of cake with some tea.¬† “Yes,” he replied simply.

“Were you much attached to Lizzy?”¬† Jane asked, causing Darcy’s eyes to widen in surprise.

The Miss Bennet he had witnessed today in this drawing room clashed with the one he remembered from his time in Hertfordshire.  This Miss Bennet was much bolder.  However, from the pink that stained her cheeks and the way her eyes did not hold his for long before dropping away, he knew that the effort was not without cost.

“Surprisingly, yes,” he admitted. “Although I did not realize just how much until I returned to town and could not rid myself of her memory.”

“She likes you,” Jane’s voice was no more than a whisper.

“I am sorry to disagree with you, Miss Bennet, but your sister most certainly does not like me,” Darcy returned.

“Oh, no,” Mrs. Gardiner said, “our Lizzy is quite taken with you.¬† She just does not realize it.”

For the first time since his arrival, Darcy saw the woman relax into her chair and take a leisurely sip of her tea rather than the quick ones she had taken thus far.

“You will have to explain that to me,” Darcy said. “I was left with the distinct impression that she did not approve of me any more than I approved of such a connection at that time.”

“How will your family receive her?”¬† Mrs. Gardiner asked.

Darcy shook his head and shrugged.¬† “I do not know, but first –”

“Do you love her?” Mrs. Gardiner interrupted.

Darcy drew a deep breath and released it as he nodded his head.¬† “But I do not see how –”

“Good,” Mrs. Gardiner interrupted again.

It appeared that the lady was determined to be the only one asking questions and directing the conversation, so Darcy leaned back and waited expectantly.

“No more protests, Mr. Darcy?”

The familiar twinkle had returned to Mrs. Gardiner’s eyes, causing the right side of Darcy’s mouth tipped up in a half smile.¬† “You are very much like her.”

Mrs. Gardiner finished the tea in her cup and placed it to the side. “I cannot deny that.¬† However, the fact that you have recognized it, speaks to how much you must admire her to have noticed such a thing. Tell me, because my curiosity must be satisfied; what makes you say that Elizabeth and I are alike?”

Darcy tipped his head.¬† “You would leave your children in the care of Bingley to have a cup of tea and a read. Therefore, I assume you enjoy reading as much as she does.”

With a tip of her head, Mrs. Gardiner accepted his statement as true.

“You are determined and unafraid to speak your mind.¬† You challenged both me and Bingley.”

“One of my faults,” Mrs. Gardiner said with a smile.

“No, I do not find it to be a fault. I prefer directness to prevarication and pandering.”¬† He tipped his head and watched the light dance in the eyes of the woman before him.¬† “Her eyes sparkle and dance just as yours do, and her brow raises in much the same fashion as yours is now.” A smile spread across his face.¬† “And, her lips purse and twitch just like that when she is trying to contain her amusement.”

Mrs. Gardiner clapped her hands in delight.¬† “Oh, you do love her!”

Darcy nodded.¬† “But –” He stopped as Mrs. Gardiner held up a hand.

“She would not dislike you as much as she does if she did not like you.”

Darcy’s brows furrowed.¬† How could dislike equate to like? “I beg your pardon?”

Bingley chuckled.

“Do you understand her meaning?” Darcy asked his friend.

“I think I might,” Bingley replied.¬† “The lady doth protest too much, me thinks.”

Darcy’s eyes grew wide.¬† “Shakespeare?”

“I said I read occasionally,” Bingley retorted.

“He has the right of it,” said Mrs. Gardiner, “does he not, Jane?”

Jane nodded. “Oh, indeed.¬† Lizzy avows her dislike far too much for it not to indicate how much she wishes for your good opinion.”

~*~*~

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Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 7

You can find previous posts HERE.

Part Seven

Darcy and Bingley stood just inside the foyer of a neat but modest home on Gracechurch Street waiting for their cards to be presented to the mistress of the home and her niece.

“The Gardiners do not appear to be destitute or even wanting,” Bingley whispered.¬† “This paper is new.” He nodded toward the wall. “Caroline has admired it and had begged me to allow her to redecorate the front sitting room with it.¬† However, I prefer paint over flowers.”¬† He pursed his lips as he studied the paper on the wall.¬† “Unless of course my wife prefers flowers, and then I shall prefer them as well.”

Darcy chuckled.¬† “I have not considered my preference one way or the other.¬† I simply wish my surroundings to look…” His brow furrowed as he thought of how best to describe his taste in decor. It really was not something he considered often. He knew what he liked and what he did not, but he had not put significant effort into deciding how he would decorate a home.¬† His mother had done that sort of thing, and now, if a space needed refreshing, he simply deferred to the opinion of either Georgiana or Lady Matlock.¬† He shrugged. “I prefer my rooms to be welcoming and not garish, homely and not ostentatious.”

“Which is why my sister should not be allowed to decorate your home or mine,” Bingley said with a smirk.¬† “Are you prepared to see if it is possible to convince a Bennet lady to take on such a task?” he whispered as they followed behind the maid who directed them to the sitting room on their right.

They had discussed how they would approach this interview as they had travelled together today.  It was decided that the folly of both Caroline and Darcy should be broached directly as neither gentleman wished to be left wondering as to their position in hoping to attain their happiness.

“Mr. Bingley, Mr. Darcy, it is a pleasure to meet you,” a lady, dressed in the current fashion of the day and appearing to be no older than Darcy, if she was even that, greeted them as they entered the room. Continue reading Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 7

Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 6

You can find previous posts HERE.

Part Six

Richard eyed Bingley and Darcy suspiciously.¬† “And who might that be?”

“Wickham,” said Darcy.

Richard muttered and took a gulp of his drink.

“Bingley’s neighbour has five daughters, and he is concerned for their safety.”¬† Darcy felt his ears warm at the half-truth. It was not only Bingley who wished to see to the safety of the Bennets.

“Five daughters?”¬† Richard whistled softly.¬† “And would one of these be your new angel?” he asked Bingley.¬† “You do still find an angel in every town, do you not?”

“If things go well,” Darcy answered before Bingley could, “I think this may be Bingley’s last angel.”

Richard let out another slow whistle.¬† “She must be quite the lady.”

Bingley grinned, completely undaunted by Richard’s teasing tone.¬† “She is,” he said, “and she has four sisters that need protection from Wickham.”

Richard tipped his head and looked from Bingley to Darcy and back. “Your angel has been seen in company with you and Darcy?”

Bingley nodded.¬† “As have certain of her sisters.”¬† Bingley winked slyly at Richard.

Darcy groaned inwardly as he shook his head.  Of course, Bingley would not keep that information to himself.

Richard’s brows rose as an impish grin spread across his face.¬† “Has my cousin singled out any sister in particular?”¬† Continue reading Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 6

Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 5

You can find previous posts HERE.

Part Five

“Darcy,” Bingley said as Darcy finished his missive to Colonel Fitzwilliam, “perhaps you could help me with a little problem?”

Darcy glanced up from the paper he was folding and preparing to seal.¬† “Anything.”

“My sister…”

“Except that,” Darcy interrupted with a chuckle.

Bingley shook his head.¬† It was good to see Darcy so hopeful.¬†¬† “I would not foist her on you.¬† If that were my intention, I would have done it long ago instead of suffering through these years with her airs.”

Darcy inclined his head in acceptance. He was thankful his friend had the good sense not to throw his sister in Darcy’s path.¬† Caroline Bingley was not the sort of lady that he had ever considered.¬† She was too… His brows furrowed, what was she exactly?¬† Devious, practiced, lacking in warmth? Any of those would do he supposed. Put simply, she did not possess a nature that appealed to him.

“I do not know what to do about her hiding Miss Bennet’s call from me,” Bingley continued.¬† “You know I am not the best at knowing how to deal with Caroline.”¬† He sighed. “I wish she would just marry and be someone else’s problem.”

Darcy lifted a brow. “You care for her,” he reminded him.

Bingley shrugged.¬† “Not as much at this moment as I did before I knew she was trying to keep Miss Bennet away from me.¬† I would rather fob her off onto the first chap to seem welcoming than have to keep her and act appropriately.”

“You would not fob her off on the first chap,” Darcy contradicted with a smile.¬† His friend really did care for both of his sisters, no matter how much they annoyed him.¬† “You would see her well-settled, at least.”

Bingley blew out a breath. It was true. If Caroline was not well-settled, he would have to abide her displeasure for the remainder of his life, and he honestly did not wish to see her utterly unhappy, he supposed, even if presently he was not entirely convinced of that fact.¬† “Then what do I do?” Continue reading Thursday’s Three Hundred: Confounding Caroline, Part 5

Music Monday: Pride and Prejudice – When I See You Smile

Today, I thought I would share one of the videos on my Music Meets Movies playlist since the song seems to go with a particular part of the story excerpt. I am drawing close to the end of my current WIP — or at least the conclusion of the conflict I had wished to resolve — and¬†am now¬†considering¬†if the story ends here or not, as in, there might be a conflict which could arise as I move past this happy for now¬†place in which two of my main characters find themselves.

wantingyounear. ‚ÄúPride and Prejudice – When I See You Smile.‚Ä̬†YouTube, YouTube, 26 Feb. 2007, youtu.be/-B0Po7-3rdE.

That’s about as clear as stagnant pond water, isn’t it? Well, you see, I don’t want to give too much away about my current story, but as you will see in today’s excerpt below, Georgiana is planning to go to Netherfield for Christmas, and Wickham will be there.¬† There is this niggling in my mind prodding me to explore what might happen in Hertfordshire.¬† However, I don’t think that doing so in my current story would be appropriate for a couple of reasons: my main characters would almost certainly shift and the initial intent of the story I have been writing has been met so adding another conflict would lend itself to a wandering storyline (something of which I am not fond). So, it appears I will have some serious thinking/plotting/story structure analysis to do this week.

In other story news, I have received Becoming Entangled back from my final editor and have begun the last pass re-read of that story, and now I must decide if my original publication date of November 21 is best or if pushing it out and adding a short preorder might be better for getting everything accomplished without losing my mind from the stress of making sure everything meets the rather exacting standards I strive to uphold at Leenie B Books. (I find myself excessively demanding at times.)¬† ūüôā

It seems I have a few decisions to make this week as I edit and write. While I open my calendar and being to ponder these things, I will leave you with this —

AN EXCERPT FROM Two Days before Christmas: Continue reading Music Monday: Pride and Prejudice – When I See You Smile