Rose Fairbanks is my guest today. I'm so glad to have you come back, Rose. The excerpt you chose to share with me and my readers is so good. I can't wait to read the book now. These excerpts are good teasers, aren't they! :) The blurb was also very good at making me want to read more. Congratulations on the release of this novella. The cover is very striking. I like it very much. I also want to thank you for having such a generous giveaway for my readers. Now on to the blurb and excerpt!
Blurb: Resolved to forget Elizabeth Bennet during a winter in London, Fitzwilliam Darcy writes a letter in bitterness of spirit. Frustrated by her growing obsession with the arrogant man, Elizabeth commits her thoughts to paper. But angry people are not always wise, and secret thoughts do not always remain secret. Compelled to face their selfishness and fears, their actions encourage those dearest to them to change as well.
Monday, December 9, 1811
Darcy House, London
“Are you certain you do not wish to attend the theatre this evening?” Charles Bingley queried his friend.
“No.” Fitzwilliam Darcy said emphatically.
The two sat in the billiards room after the early and informal dinner. Darcy’s younger sister, Georgiana, had excused herself early to write letters in her chambers, leaving the two gentlemen alone.
“I say!” Bingley proclaimed with a hint of his usual levity. “I truly had it right that evening at Netherfield when I claimed I never knew a more awful fellow than you on a Sunday night—and now a Monday—in his own home with nothing to do!”
Darcy remembered this remark and the surrounding conversation in great detail, but feigned ignorance. “I do not recall you saying such.” He affected a scowl in hopes of the subject being dropped, but he could not intimidate his friend.
“Truly? It was after you and Miss Elizabeth were in a dispute over whether my impulsiveness was a fault or a virtue, and before you asked her to dance a reel and she refused you.”
Darcy did not need the reminder; he had already spent hours with his memories of the twinkle in Elizabeth Bennet’s eyes during their debate—it was not a dispute! He recalled precisely the expression on her face, the scent she wore and—to his extreme mortification—the exact shade of blue of her gown with the delicate yellow ribbon in her hair. It was like the sun cresting over the rocky peaks of Derbyshire in a sky just after a rainstorm. Darcy cringed again as he realized how ridiculous and poetic his thoughts regarding the lady had become. I am practically a mooncalf!
Despite himself, Darcy sighed at his memories. It was the second time Elizabeth had refused to dance with him, and he should have been offended, but she was simply too endearing. She had a unique mixture of sweetness and archness in her manner. Darcy had not met with her more than six times before being entirely bewitched. The time she spent at Netherfield, seeing her each day, had been a sweet torture.
His thoughts were interrupted by a sigh from his companion, no doubt remembering his own Bennet lady.
“Netherfield really was a very picturesque estate. And so close to London, Caroline could have no complaints.”
Darcy closed his eyes in annoyance but knew the following conversation necessary, yet again. “Considering how frequently she claims to enjoy Pemberley and Derbyshire, it should be no surprise she cannot complain about the distance from Hertfordshire to London. I believe her complaints were of a different matter.”
“Everyone in the area was very welcoming and kind. Caroline wishes to remain in London for Christmas but I had thought it would be quite nice to celebrate at my own estate, perhaps invite my closest family and friends.” Bingley let out another sigh.
Darcy was growing alarmed. He had no desire to return to the area. “Are you certain you wish to host such a large party again so soon? You hosted a ball just over a week ago. You would not want to overexert yourself or Miss Bingley.”
Bingley’s brow furrowed and then his face lit up in amusement. “I am certain Caroline would perform any task to impress the Master of Pemberley.”
Darcy groaned and walked to the sideboard to refresh his port. “Did you not already accept the invitation to Lady Tennyson’s ball?”
“Yes. Caroline is desperate for me to meet Lady Tennyson’s niece, Miss Howe, again.”
“She is quite lovely and has a good portion.”
“Her hair is too dark.”
Darcy raised an eyebrow. “I believe you admired her hair and more in August.”
“And her eyes are too small unlike...”
Bingley did not need to continue, and Darcy took a large sip. Blast the Bennet sisters and their eyes! The eldest had very large and perfectly blue eyes. Elizabeth had the most expressive and intelligent eyes Darcy had ever seen, a beautiful shade of brown that could turn nearly emerald green as well. Even the youngest daughters and the mother had a special twinkle in their eye. Yes! That was an important recollection—the younger sisters and the mother!
“Bingley, I know you are quite attracted to Miss Bennet, but you did promise to use this time in Town to consider other ladies and all the consequences.” Darcy had privately vowed to do the same.
“Yes, I know. But what is consequence to affection?”
Darcy took another gulp of his drink and then decided to refill his glass and offer more to Bingley.
“The match would be lacking in all important ways.”
“It is just like you to think money and connections are all that matter.” Bingley appeared to be teasing, but Darcy still felt a bit offended.
“I do not mean only money and connections. You desire affection, perhaps even love, but you will not gain that with Miss Bennet.”
Bingley looked sharply at Darcy. “What do you mean?”
“Her heart is not easily touched.”
“She enjoyed my attentions!”
“She has a very easy way with everyone, quite a serene countenance. Do you truly believe she treated you differently than others?”
“I cannot believe her to wilfully deceive me.”
“Did she declare sentiments?” Darcy was aghast at the idea. He had thought at least Miss Bennet and Elizabeth capable of proper behaviour.
“No, but surely she could see my intentions, and she made no move to discourage me.”
“You are very amiable. She most likely thought you were engaging in an idle flirtation while visiting the area.”
“You do not believe she has expectations of me?”
“Have any of the others?”
Bingley looked sheepishly at him. “I...no, their feelings were never attached, as you well know after this summer.”
“And did Miss Bennet truly seem different than the other ladies?”
Bingley looked from the glass in his hands to Darcy’s face and back to his glass. “I think you had better pour me another glass.”
“She never loved me. None of them have,” Bingley bemoaned and sloshed the wine in his glass.
“You are quite young and so amiable you cannot see those who would scheme against you.”
“I ought to be more like you. Or how you used to be.”
“What do you mean?”
“Since we have returned from Hertfordshire you have danced nearly every dance at every soiree, accepted every dinner invitation, and talked with many ladies at each outing. Everyone is full of gossip that you mean to finally take a wife!”
Darcy grimaced. The last thing he needed now was London’s gossips after him. His friend laughed at his scowl.
“Well, so it was until three nights ago. Then, you only danced half the evening and wanted to leave early, and have refused to go anywhere since. What has happened?”
Darcy sighed. “Nothing has happened. I have agreed to go to the next ball with you.” He motioned toward the billiards table, “Please, let us enjoy our game. More port?”
“I’m a catch aren’t I, Darcy?” Bingley asked bleary-eyed.
“Of course,” Darcy replied, quite a bit more in command of his faculties.
“Not like you, though.”
“Pemberley! You’ve got Pemberley!”
“Yes...too many want me for my estate.”
“And your uncle, an earl!”
“You are a fine catch, Bingley.”
He grunted. “And I’ll prove it at Lady Tenley...Tenson...”
“Lady Tennyson’s ball. I’ll be irresistible.”
“And you too. Maybe Lady Elizabeth Harkin for you?”
Darcy scowled at the name. No Elizabeths. And she was blonde. “No.”
“Your cousin Miss de Bourgh then?”
Darcy choked on his port. “Good G-d, no!”
“What do you want then? More money? Ties to the royal family?” Bingley laughed and then snorted, causing him to laugh all the more. “I know, love!”
Without thought, Darcy whispered quietly to himself, “No. I will never find love again.” He peered at his glass with distrust. Where had this sudden understanding come from?
Bingley had not heard Darcy speak over his own laughter. “What did you say?”
“I will never marry for love.”
“Right. Too silly for you. We must be dignified. We must not laugh.” Bingley tried to affect Darcy’s scowl. “No more love for me! No more angels!”
Sighing, Bingley laid his glass aside. “I’m off to bed while I can walk up the stairs.”
“Are you certain? It is still very early.”
“Yes, but I have had little rest in over a week.”
Darcy only grunted as his friend exited. Willing the voice in his head taunting him with declarations of love for Elizabeth Bennet to silence, he drank another glass of port before an idea of sheer genius struck him. Ten nights with little sleep plagued his ability to think clearly. Then, in a flash of inspiration, THE plan came to him. Writing a letter of sorts to Elizabeth, confessing his affections would clear them from his mind. He would even keep the letter to remind himself of all the reasons he could never marry Elizabeth Bennet.
Rose Fairbanks fell in love with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy twelve years ago. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, she also met her real life Mr. Darcy twelve years ago. They had their series of missteps, just like Elizabeth and Darcy, but are now teaching the admiring multitude what happiness in marriage really looks like and have been blessed with two children, a four year old son and a one year old daughter. She proudly admits to her Darcy obsession, addictions to reading, chocolate and sweet tea, is always in the mood for a good debate and dearly loves to laugh.
You can connect with Rose on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog: rosefairbanks.com
Doesn't this just make you want to pick up the book right now and keep reading? It does me! Thank you again, for sharing with us, Rose, and for continuing to write. I'm so happy to have you back at More Agreeably Engaged.
Rose is offering a paperback, US only, and an eBook, international. Isn't that great! I'm excited and I know all you readers are too. Please leave a comment to enter. You know the drill so don't forget to include your email that I may contact you should you be the winner. Giveaway ends at midnight, December 27, 2014. Good luck to all and Merry Christmas!