About the Book
A pact that will change their lives forever…
Fitzwilliam Darcy is a successful young barrister with a bright future. His late uncle has guided his career, made him his heir, and even selected a bride for him—sight unseen—whom he’ll meet and marry upon her majority. Who could have predicted that making the acquaintance of Miss Elizabeth Bennet in Meryton would throw those careful plans into disarray?
Elizabeth Bennet doesn’t know what to make of “Fitz” Darcy, who intrigues and draws her notice like no other. Despite Fitzwilliam’s warnings, she allows Mr. George Darcy, Fitzwilliam’s older brother and master of Pemberley, to charm her. Little does she know that she, too, has been promised in marriage by her late father—to an unknown barrister, no less. What is she to do when her hopes to marry for love disappear in the blink of an eye?
Is George Darcy’s suit in earnest? Can this mysterious bridegroom of her father’s choosing become the husband of her dreams? With the danger of duels and deceit, what will come of the initial attraction between her and Fitzwilliam? Will she become the barrister’s bride?
I am pleased to be a guest on My Jane Austen Book Club with an exclusive excerpt from The Barrister’s Bride. I have a special place in my heart for this blog as it has started most of my books’ blog tours, and Maria Grazia is a most gracious host.
In this excerpt, it’s the autumn of 1811, and George Darcy and George Wickham have come into Meryton drunk and threaten to stay. Fitzwilliam “Fitz” Darcy is staying at Netherfield with Charles Bingley, and he doesn’t want thevisitors to corrupt the Bennets. George Darcy tells the other men that Fitz is already betrothed, a surprise to Bingley. This part of the book is from Fitz’s point of view.
Bingley let out a bark of amusement, “Ha. If Fitz is betrothed, so am I.” Sarcasm was not Bingley’s style, but he managed to convey his disbelief just the same.
Fitz wiped his hand over his face. Damn George to hell! No one other than his brother knew of the letter, and the information contained within was supposed to remain in confidence until June. At any rate, that is what Fitz had hoped. George had discovered the information not long ago himself, and Fitz rued the day he disclosed the arranged betrothal. He had meant to stop George's incessant questioning, but in his misfortune had blurted the story when George enquired whether his preferences were similar to those of Uncle David Darcy. Fitz was not inclined to use ladies like his brother, and George could not understand self-restraint.
George now laughed while he stood with one hand on Wickham’s shoulder and the other on his cane. Despite the aid, he was still unsteady. “I am not telling tales. Fitz is caught in the parson’s mousetrap. Furthermore, Fitz is not required to follow through if he is not interested in the lady.Damn brother of mine is too honourable for his own good.”George muttered the last under his breath yet loud enough for the men to hear.
“Did the wench trap you?” asked Carter.
His brother waved his hands in front of him. “Nothing of the sort. Fitz was pledged and agreed to it in his predictable, noble way. Such ill luck to be the decent brother.”
Fitz scratched his head. George thought well of his agreement to follow the restrictions of the letter? He must make light of it or George’s outlook would be noticed, and an inordinate amount of attention would be paid him as a result. “My compliance is a question of honour. In any case, the agreement provides me with a bride at no inconvenience to me.”
Mr. Denny shrugged. “Unless she is ugly or poor, the proposition is not an unreasonable one, I suppose.”
“She is neither as far as reports go,” said George, “though we have never seen the girl. This is one of those situations where the marriage has been arranged for them, sight unseen.”
With a smirk, Wickham slapped Fitz on the back. “Then delay meeting her for a while so you can enjoy bachelorhood, eh, Fitz? In the meantime, you must practise with diligence to ensure you know how to be a good husband.” He elbowed George, whose instability meant he had to grasp Wickham to keep from falling.
“Hey there, stop that!”
“My apologies, old boy. Now, were we not about to go drinking?”
“Of course! We have been hindered long enough!” George and Wickham turned and continued towards the inn with an unsteady gait. Denny and Carter followed behind.
Before Bingley joined them, he stared for a moment at Fitz with one brow raised and his lips pursed. His friend would want to hear the story in its entirety later—more than what the busybodies of Meryton would learn and share. No doubt, Bingley would enquire of the lady’s name. That would be a disappointment to them both. Fitz desired more than anything to know her identity, and June was over eight months away! The expectation of the wedding was neither good nor terrible; over the last few years, he had become accustomed to devoting his future to this girl. The problem was what to do of the notice from others? Each time the secret was revealed, those present offered him a pointed attention he despised. If only he possessed some form of power to entice his brother and Wickham to forget. Now that he could enjoy!
About the Author: Suzan Lauder
She and Mr. Suze and their rescue tabby split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial casita in Mexico. Suzan’s lively prose can be found on her Facebook author page, www.facebook.com/SuzanLauder; on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as @SuzanLauder; and on her Meryton Press blog, road trips with the redhead www.suzanlauder.merytonpress.com.
Meryton Press blog, road trips with the redhead
Meryton Press is giving away six eBooks of The Barrister’s Bride by Suzan Lauder.There is a swag giveaway by Author, Suzan Lauder, and it includes a personalized signed copy of the book, a Suzan Lauder reticule, an embroidered handkerchief, and a fan. Both giveaways are in the Rafflecopter widget you'll find clicking on the link below.