Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I have a lovely Valentine's gift for you all: a new excerpt from a new Pride and Prejudice Variation, 'Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again, and the chance to win one of two ebook copies author Elaine Jeremiah has granted to the readers and followers of My Jane Austen Book Club. Enjoy reading and ... good luck! MG
ABOUT THE BOOK - ELIZABETH AND DARCY: BEGINNING AGAIN
Little does Elizabeth Bennet think the journey across muddy fields from her home at Longbourn to Netherfield Park will change her life forever.
But an unexpected encounter with the proud and haughty Mr Darcy leaves her injured and vulnerable. Worse still, she is left alone with him for a significant amount of time. Her reputation at risk, she is forced to make a decision about her future. Now her life will never be the same again.
Can Elizabeth ever be happy? Or will she always loathe Mr Darcy?
READ AN EXCERPT
Elizabeth’s ankle was paining her greatly, but Mr Darcy was proving to be a sufficient distraction. She watched him in puzzlement, unable in spite of her best efforts to make him out. His face was flushed and he was fidgeting in his seat, looking as though he wished to be a million miles from here. They hadn’t spoken much since their arrival at the hut, which she was glad of. It was just as well as their conversation was so awkward, particularly after her revelation that she had heard his harsh words spoken against her at the assembly.
To his credit, he seemed genuinely mortified and contrite. Now he was at pains to tell her that he did like her and at this moment was squirming like a worm on a hook, as if he were about to die of embarrassment. What had he been about to say just now? ‘I do not dislike you… in fact…’
She wondered what it could mean. But she did not wish to sit here, waiting for who knew how long for the storm outside to pass, in an awkward silence with a man who was clearly uncomfortable in her company. She would discover the reason for his odd response to her.
‘Mr Darcy, I have made you nervous,’ she told him. ‘I am unsure why, but I wish you to know that there is no reason for you to be so. I shall make no claims on you, neither at this moment nor in the future. My only wish is to ensure that my sister Jane is well. That is why I was walking to Netherfield in the first place.’
He frowned and nodded. ‘Of course. I am sure your sister will be glad to see you.’ He fell silent for a moment, then stood up and began to pace around the room. She waited. He stopped and turned to face her, his expression serious. ‘Miss Bennet, I wish you to know that should anyone discover us here, I would act honourably towards you.’
‘I am sure you would, sir,’ she replied, a sardonic tone to her voice as she eyed him closely. He was becoming more cryptic by the minute. She found herself holding her breath as he drew his chair closer to her own and sat down, leaning towards her, close enough to touch.
It appeared to her that he wished to say more. He sat back in his seat, however, and avoided her gaze, fiddling with his cravat again as though he were hot. But she did not know how he could be after the drenching they had had. Clearly it would fall to her to speak. One of them must say something. ‘Mr Darcy, I shall always remember your concern for me,’ she began. ‘You have behaved as a true gentleman, under the most trying of conditions and I will not forget it.’
His expression brightened. ‘It is no trouble at all. For my part, Miss Bennet, I am only sorry that we could not have continued our acquaintance in better circumstances,’ he replied. The smile that seemed to alter his whole face appeared again. ‘In fact, I would wish to become better acquainted with you,’ he declared. ‘Should you permit me, of course.’
Elizabeth’s lips parted. Could he be serious? This man had spoken ill of her in company and now had his feelings towards her truly undergone such a change that he wished to know her better? It seemed too impossible to be believed. She dropped her gaze in confusion.
‘Sir, until very recently you thought me merely tolerable and not handsome enough to dance with. Mayhap it is simply our proximity to one another at this moment that has made you feel more… gracious towards me. Surely the likelihood is that once we are able to venture out of here, back to our usual lives, you would not wish to be in my company again.’
‘No, indeed, Miss Bennet, that is not the case.’ His reply was firm and sure. Elizabeth looked up at him; his expression mirrored his words. She held his gaze for a long moment, then nodded and looked out of the window, watching the raindrops trickling down the windowpane.
‘Perhaps we shall be alone together a while longer,’ she said. ‘The rain appears to be unabating. I should imagine the roads will be flooded soon.’
‘I am not sorry for it.’
His reply and direct look caught her unawares. ‘You are not?’ Unable now to meet his eye, she went on, ‘I am surprised, sir. I would have thought that you could not bear to be cooped up in this small hut a moment longer. I know I cannot.’
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She’s always loved writing, but it’s only been in recent years that she’s been able to devote more time to it. She decided to self-publish with the help of her wonderful husband who’s very tech-savvy! In 2013 she self-published her first novel, but it was only with her fourth, her novel ‘Love Without Time’, that she felt she finally found her niche: Jane Austen Fan Fiction!
She’s always loved Jane Austen’s writing and the Regency era, so this felt like a natural thing for her to do. ‘Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again’ is the first ‘Pride and Prejudice’ variation she’s written.
If you want to connect with Elaine online, her Facebook page can be found here:
Her Twitter handle is: @ElaineJeremiah
Her website is here: https://elainejeremiah.co.uk/
Get your chances to win one of the two ebook copies of Elaine Jeremiah's Elizabeth and Darcy: Beginning Again! The giveaway ends on Sunday 21st February 2021.