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Elizabeth ran back to the sitting room in the Gardiner’s home, bursting through the door with all semblance of ladylike behavior forgotten. “It is Father,” she managed to gasp. “I believe he overheard us talking and has left to track down Wickham. I am afraid he will do something foolish!”
Mr. Gardiner, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth were on the road in Darcy’s carriage within mere moments, Elizabeth praying they would reach the smallholding before her father or at least before he had time to act. A commotion heard from a dilapidated old barn as the carriage pulled up had them all racing in that direction and dashing inside, stopping dead as they took in the terrible scene before them.
Mr. Bennet was shouting at Wickham, who had backed into a corner of the barn. Behind him was a crying and hysterical Lydia, and in front of him, he held his military issue weapon, pointed at Mr. Bennet.
“I know by your fine estate and clothing that you are simply concealing your wealth so as to prevent handing it over in dowries.”
“How dare you try to blackmail me with my own daughter’s virtue, you despicable blaggard!”
“I have already told you, if you want me to marry her, you have to pay me to do so,” Wickham was declaring coldly as they looked on, stunned by the events taking place. “Ah, I see we have more company,” he sneered, spotting them. “Perhaps the good and virtuous Mr. Darcy will lend you the funds; after all, it is no problem for him, since he has such large coffers to draw upon.”
Darcy stepped slowly towards Mr. Bennet. “Gentlemen, please. We must all keep our senses. Wickham, please put that thing away before you cause even more damage than you already have.”
“Oh, no. You see, this,” he said while waving the pistol, “this gives me the upper hand again. No more negotiating now that the old man has decided to get involved in the business. I will not be forced into joining myself to this hostile family for a mere ten thousand pounds. The price has doubled. And I want it soon, or I leave and no one will ever marry or have anything to do with your virtuous daughter again. And believe me, I use the word virtuous loosely.”
Mr. Darcy looked from Wickham to the older gentleman and spoke quietly. “Perhaps it would be best if you return to the Gardiners, Mr. Bennet. As much as I respect you, I fear your entreaties will fall on deaf ears. Please allow me to act in your behalf and try to reason with him.”
Mr. Bennet considered Darcy’s words, finally nodding his head in agreement. “Lydia, come with me.”
“No, Papa! I want to stay with my husband!” she cried.
“Your husband?” asked her father. “Is this some kind of trick? Are you in fact already married?”
Wickham laughed. “No, I assure you, we are not married. I believe she means she has been acting as my wife and so already considers me her husband. Is that not right, my dear?”
“Oh, yes, my love! We need only to have a rector pronounce us so. We are already husband and wife in every other way!” answered the foolish girl.
On hearing these vulgar words come from his own child’s mouth and seeing the wicked smile cross Wickham’s face, Mr. Bennet rushed at Wickham. He reached forward to wrestle the gun from Wickham’s grasp. As he did so, the gun fired, the sound deafening in the small confines of the rickety old building. Everybody froze in shock, holding their breath.
Elizabeth turned to Darcy, her eyes pleading, one hand reaching out towards him. Confused by her expression and action, he nevertheless took a few steps in her direction and reached to take her hand, just as she collapsed to the ground at his feet.
He dropped to his knees, rolling her over to gather her in his arms, and as he did so, everything made sense. A large crimson stain was rapidly spreading across the front of her dress around a hole in the material where the bullet had penetrated. He ripped the hole wider, revealing the terrible wound to her abdomen.
“NO! Oh, Elizabeth, oh no!” he cried, gathering her closer to him.
Mr. Bennet released Wickham to rush to his daughter’s side. Wickham stood frozen in place, taking in the scene before him. On realizing what he had just done, he darted from the barn, his regard for Elizabeth less than his regard for himself. Lydia stood, her eyes wild, undecided where her loyalties lay. In the end, she chose Wickham, dashing after him.
“Elizabeth, oh, my dear Lizzy, please do not leave me, I … I love you,” Darcy murmured as he held Elizabeth close, his tears mingling with the ruby red river that flowed from her body.
“I love … you,” she managed to whisper, before her eyes closed and her body went limp in his arms.
Darcy and Elizabeth: Timeless takes our couple from their meeting again at Pemberley all the way to the year 2012. When Elizabeth is with the Gardiners in Derbyshire, she gets to see a different side of Darcy. Her letters from Jane are delayed by two additional days, changing the course of events that leads to our couple finding themselves in the modern world. There's a definite scientific element to the book but it's meant to be scientifically believable, rather than sci-fi. What would our favorite couple be like if we could meet them today? How would they adapt to this new time? How did they even get here from where they started?
Denise O'Hara is a Southern girl married to an Irish Californian. When the petite green eyed brunette met the man with big brown eyes and dimples as deep as her daddy's black iron jambalaya pot, it was love at first sight. Twenty eight years later they're still having fun! They have two adult children and lots and lots of family nearby.
She has six sisters and her close bond with them certainly influenced her instant connection to Jane Austen's novels. She started writing JAFF February 28th of 2015. In her first three Life after the Wedding Series books she focused primarily on Jane Bingley. However, mirroring Denise's real life, Jane's sisters, especially Elizabeth Darcy, will always be an important part of her life. The Darcy's Host a Ball at Pemberley continued the former Bennet sister's story, with the Darcys and Bingleys celebrating anniversaries and their younger sisters finding love. A Few Good Men was the most recent installment in the Series, and part six will be out this summer. Denise has also written two Pride and Prejudice variations, Disdain and Deception and Yours Truly, Mr.Darcy. She currently has two other variations almost completed and the outline for the sequel to her newest release, Darcy and Elizabeth: Timeless. The next book will be Timeless Adventures. It's been a busy year!
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The giveaway, Dear Readers, is international and is for two books. Yes, that is correct. There will be two winners and it will be the choice of each winner to select a paperback or an eBook. Isn't that a generous offering? You know the drill...leave me your contact info in your comment so that I may reach you in case you are one of the randomly selected winners. Thank you so much, Ms. O'Hara, for allowing the readers this opportunity. Giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 22nd of February. Good luck to all and thanks as always for your support of my blog. Please let me know your preference, eBook or Paperback, when you comment. Thanks.