As part of the Haunting Mr. Darcy Blog Tour, I am happy to tell you that KaraLynne Mackrory shares an enticing excerpt with us today! It just makes me want to read more. Enjoy!
Greetings Austen lovers!
I am happy to share with you today an excerpt from my new book, Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship. What a wonderfully delightful experience it was writing this book for it gave me the freedom, or rather gave Darcy and Lizzy the freedom, to express themselves in a manner not normally possible under the rules of everyday reality. In this book Darcy and Lizzy are tethered together by Fate. While Elizabeth slumbers in a coma after an accident, her spirit so nowhere near sleep. In fact she is nowhere near Hertfordshire! She is in Darcy’s home and believing she is dreaming a most bizarre and frustrating dream that features prominently a most beguiling and frustrating man. Darcy is not without his own explanation and the two differences of opinion is not the first these two have squabbled over.
In this excerpt below, our two beloved characters are still new to this strange reality they face. It is late at night and while Darcy decides he wants to savor, at least for the evening, his tumble into lunacy, Elizabeth is not so sure she wants any part of her dream anymore. Especially if her decided dislike for the gentleman is going to become muddled with her appreciation for his handsome features.
He still had not responded to her, and there was something about his eyes that suggested he was savoring the moment. His actions furthered her confusion, and she looked at him with a sudden impatience.
This too, like everything thus far, seemed to amuse him, his eyes lighting with fascination. Finally, he opened his mouth and spoke, “Pray tell, Miss Bennet, how is it that you have found yourself to be in my library?”
Elizabeth gasped and looked around her. Her head jerked back to Darcy, and she exclaimed, “Your library, sir? That cannot be, for I imagined this place.”
Darcy’s brow lowered a fraction at her speech but quickly resumed its sardonic air as he continued, “My library, madam.”
Elizabeth contemplated his question as she frantically looked around. Surely, this could not be his library, for she was the one dreaming and… Ease flowed through her, of course; all manner of strange things had occurred thus far, and she took comfort in this as just another element of it. Though perhaps nightmare is more accurate, Elizabeth thought with a touch of humor.
She answered him honestly. “I know not, sir. But in such cases, it matters not how one gets there, I believe.”
“In such cases? It is now I, Miss Bennet, who cannot take your meaning.”
“In the case of dreams, Mr. Darcy. I am dreaming.”
To her surprise, this made him laugh. She watched amazed as he leaned forward and covered his face as his laughter came up deep from within him and washed over her like a warm embrace. She knew not why, but the sound was as intoxicating as it was new. She could not recall a time when he had laughed in her presence in Hertfordshire.
“Indeed, it seems I must have partaken too much. For although I do not feel the least bit bosky, I must be in my cups. Miss Elizabeth Bennet is dreaming of me!” He erupted in laughter again.
“I fail to see the humor, sir.”
Mr. Darcy lifted his head, and with his dark eyes bright with humor, he stared at her. “You say you are dreaming, madam, but surely that cannot be, for it is you who haunts my dreams.”
Darcy watched as Elizabeth blushed, deliciously, and turned away from him. He was losing his wits, but he would worry about that later. For weeks, he had struggled to forget her. Somehow, his struggle had manifested itself in such mental anguish as to produce hallucinations of her, and wonderfully good ones they were. He marveled at the accuracy of his memory. Her manner was just as bewitching as it was in Hertfordshire, and she was even as impertinent as he remembered.
Upon closer inspection, he did notice a few changes. The dress, although very handsome on her, was not one he had seen her wear before. Of that he was certain, for he recalled every occasion they were in company together, and she had never worn such an angelic dress. Surely, he would have made a point to remember it, if she had. There were a number of other small nuances, too. She did seem almost to glow in the darkened room, fueling his conviction that she was a product of his imagination.
Not wishing to think at all upon the consequences of such a notion as his being bound for Bedlam, Darcy focused his mind on enjoying the illusion while it lasted. She was probably a product of too many glasses of wine at the ball and a lack of rest. Darcy frowned; he only recalled having one glass of wine with the supper meal. There was the small glass of port he had earlier after Colonel Fitzwilliam left him, but such would not constitute dipping rather deeply.
“Will you not have a seat, Miss Bennet?” Darcy said as he reclined further into his seat. If she had been real, he would have remained standing until she was seated as any gentleman would, but she was not real, and he would enjoy her company whilst seated.
He watched her look toward the chair he offered near the dying embers of the fire and say, “I cannot, sir.”
“Cannot?” With a raised brow in challenge, Darcy enjoyed seeing how this provoked her eyes to flash with something like the way they did when he would spar with her at Netherfield. Oh how I love to provoke you, Elizabeth!
He watched as she gazed steadily back at him, increasing his heart rate and making his lips twitch. She seemed to come to a decision in her mind, and then she lifted her chin and, with a mischievous smile, walked towards the chair. He leaned back and put his arms behind his head, enjoying the graceful way his mind was conjuring her movements.
Then he watched, frozen in place, as she walked into the chair and stood in the midst of it, her legs disappearing into it. Darcy bolted upright and jumped behind his chair in fright. His wide, shocked eyes quickly met her satisfied ones, and he croaked, “How…what…?”
Darcy darted his eyes from Elizabeth’s to the spot where her body disappeared into the cushion and back up to her face. She did not seem to be at all surprised by the feat, and yet his mind was racing at the utterly impossible scene he was witnessing.
Elizabeth sighed, walked again out of the chair, and then turned to him. “As I said, sir, I cannot.” She seemed to be growing in frustration, and yet he could not understand it. It was he who had reason to be upset; she was not real, and yet he could see her, talk to her. Fatigue taking over his momentary fright, Darcy slid inelegantly into the chair again, this time dropping his head into his hands.
“Why is this happening to me?” he groaned.
He was a good man, an honorable man. He was a responsible agent of his estate and brother to his sister. He had not gone to Hertfordshire to become beguiled by a country miss, nor did he see why he could not forget her. Darcy laughed without humor. Looking up through the slits of his fingers at Elizabeth’s form still visible to him, he thought, Forget her! Ha! It is my mind now alongside my heart that might be in some danger.
His phantom spoke then and he imagined with a hint of compassion in her voice. “Sir, I can see my presence distresses you, and I assure you that, if it were in my power to remove myself from you, I would.”
Darcy lifted his head and looked at her. He could not fault himself for creating such a beautiful escape from reality. If he were to lose his mind, it would be a comfort to know it was in pursuit of Miss Elizabeth. He sighed and stood, closing the space between them in a few strides. He noticed she held her breath at his advance, and a part of him wished that this reaction was not an invention of his deteriorating mind.
“Come, Miss Elizabeth. I fear it is late and the morning will come soon enough. If it is, as you say, that you are dreaming, then you will soon wake. And as for me, sleep will cure my half of this strange sojourn.”
Elizabeth shrugged her lovely shoulders and nodded her head. “What shall we do to pass the time then, sir?”
Looking down onto her lovely face, Darcy realized his New Year’s wish had come true. He was getting to see Elizabeth once again. A smile tugged at his lips, and he resolved to enjoy the last of the evening. With luck, he would fall back asleep and wake rested enough to have his sanity restored. Then, he determined, he would endeavor to extinguish this fascination with Miss Elizabeth Bennet before he truly did lose his mind.
Darcy smiled and gestured around him. “What think you of books?”
To his delight, she laughed. “Oh no, Mr. Darcy I am sure we never read the same or not with the same feelings.”
Darcy settled himself back into his chair and again waved his hand toward the long rows of shelving. “I am sorry you think so, but if that be the case, there can at least be no want of subject.” He paused, taking in the brilliance in her eyes, and said, “We may compare our different opinions.”
“Very well, sir. What is your opinion of this book here?” He watched her walk towards the small table where he had left the book he was currently working through about Wellesley’s battles. His eyebrow rose as he turned to her.
“You have read the account, Miss Elizabeth? I am all astonished.”
Her smile was mischievous, and yet she answered smoothly, “I briefly felt my way through it.”
Darcy appreciated the way her lip twitched when she spoke, almost as if hiding a secret. Still he tried to remind himself that, as she was a part of his own imagination, she would have no secrets and that he should not be surprised to have her choose a book he was reading. Sadly, it was only more proof that this was all just a break from reality for him.
Still he wished to savor this time with her and so sat back and began a discussion. He was surprised to note that, although he was imagining her presence before him, his mind did not conjure her up to agree with him on all accounts. Her opinions were sound, and though they did not always agree, he found the conversation stimulating. She was certainly a remarkable lady, hallucination or not.
Elizabeth was astonished that the Darcy in her dreams was less patronizing than she expected. He seemed to find her opinions and viewpoints interesting and even enjoyed when she challenged him.
It was well after the clock struck four that their discussions began to wane. Elizabeth could see that this warmer, more charming Darcy was losing his battle with sleep. The fact that she remained without fatigue made her smile. For all his reasons she was in his library, she was not the one fading. As they spoke, there were times that he leaned his head back against the cushions of the chair and listened to her. He would still respond, eyes closed, and Elizabeth found that she was surprisingly glad for this, as it became harder not to focus her eyes on his features the longer she remained in his company. She remembered Jane’s asking her whether she thought he was handsome after having danced with him at Netherfield, and she had responded, ‘He handsome? I should soon call Mr. Collins a wit!’ But now that she observed him in the soft glow of the fire, she was becoming much too aware of how false her statement was.
“Come, Mr. Darcy. I fear it is time for you to retire.” Her suggestion had double motives, for she wagered that, if he were to retire, she could once again be alone to enjoy her dream in solitude.
“Mmm…” was all the response she was to expect.
Elizabeth smiled at him. It was easy to be charmed by this Darcy—for he was half-asleep! “Sir, I am sure you are not comfortable where you are.”
“’Tis a shame that I will not see you again tomorrow, Elizabethhh.” His words slurred.
Elizabeth gasped, and her hand rose to her heart. She ought to rebuke him for using her Christian name. But then she remembered this was a dream and he was clearly not himself in his exhaustion. Laughing, Elizabeth shook her head. The bizarre nature of this dream was softening her towards the man she swore to hate for all eternity!
“Perhaps if you were to at least change seats, sir. You will not find rest in that chair.” Why am I concerned for his comfort? He is not even real! Elizabeth determined to care no more, but then Darcy rose unsteadily to his feet and nodded at her.
To her growing alarm, he walked towards her. Unaccountably her heart began to beat faster, and she clutched at her neck feeling her blush spread again across her cheeks.
“Beautiful…Elizabeth,” he breathed near her ear, only just not touching her. “I bid you…a goodnight.”
And with that startling adieu, she watched him step aside and slide easily into the chaise lounge beside her. His steady breathing told her he had already fallen asleep. Only then did she release the breath she had been holding.
There you have it folks! Darcy is going mad and Elizabeth is beside herself with the strange dream she is experiencing. But what will happen in the morning when both find that they are still bound together? Stay tuned for more excerpts and sneak peeks later in the week on this blog tour. Thanks for visiting!
KaraLynne is an amazing mother who never makes mistakes, never gets upset with her children and never ever has a dirty house. Ever. She always has her dishes done and the floors spotless and dinner is always prepared and ready on time. Her kids are always clean, polite, respectful and loving, especially to each other. She never gets irritated with her husband when he doesn’t turn his socks right side out for the laundry and they always agree on everything. She delights in nothing else but to serve her family and never wants or needs time for herself. She takes great care to shower every day and put make up on so that she is always beautiful and presentable. She never wears her pajamas all day or for days in a row and she is the epitome of womanhood. Most of all, she has a great sense of humor and loves to write.
Falling for Mr. Darcy (2012) is KaraLynne’s first venture in to the world of book authorship. Bluebells in the Mourning (2013) came next and coming in the spring of 2014 is, Haunting Mr. Darcy: A Spirited Courtship. Although, admittedly a Darcy addict, she enjoys many things, such as: Mr. Knightly, Edmund Bertram, Captain Wentworth, Mr. Tilney and John Thornton. She is happily married to her own Mr. Darcy and together they share the insanity inducing responsibility of raising four children.
Purchase Haunting Mr. Darcy at Amazon.com.
Thanks so much, KaraLynne, for stopping by on your busy tour and giving us this 'sneak peek' of your book! It sounds excellent and I can hardly wait to read it! I wish you the best with this latest release!