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Happy Holidays to all of you. I hope you are enjoying the season with all the hustle and bustle of this joyous time of year. I love all the lights, the decorations and the Christmas music. It all makes for such a festive atmosphere. I haven't decorated my house yet - don't even have my tree up, but that is about to change!
I also love reading Christmas stories and especially those involving Darcy and Elizabeth. My guest today has such a book and is sharing the blurb and an excerpt with us. She is also giving away one book! Please welcome Victoria Kincaid with the excerpt from her book, A Very Darcy Christmas! You are going to laugh as you read about this dinner!
Elizabeth and Darcy are preparing for their first Christmas at Pemberley when they are suddenly deluged by a flood of uninvited guests. Mrs. Bennet is seeking refuge from the French invasion she believes to be imminent. Lady Catherine brings two suitors for Georgiana’s hand, who cause a bit of mayhem themselves. Lydia’s presence causes bickering—and a couple of small fires—while Wickham has more nefarious plans in mind….The abundance of guests soon puts a strain on her marriage as Elizabeth tries to manage the chaos while ensuring a happy Christmas for all.
Meanwhile, Georgiana is finding her suitors—and the prospect of coming out—to be very unappealing. Colonel Fitzwilliam seems to be the only person who understands her fondness for riding astride and shooting pistols. Georgiana realizes she’s beginning to have more than cousinly feelings for him, but does he return them? And what kind of secrets is he hiding?
Romance and merriment abound as everyone gathers to celebrate a Very Darcy Christmas.
William had issued dinner invitations to Mr. Peters, the local curate, and his wife, Lord and Lady Pippinworth, and the dowager viscountess Lady Agatha, Lord Robert’s mother. Perhaps he had believed that the presence of strangers would encourage family members to be on their best behavior. If so, Elizabeth thought, he was sadly mistaken.
Lady Catherine complained loudly to Lady Agatha about the shades of Pemberley being polluted. Mr. Worthy completely occupied Georgiana’s attention with a discussion of manure output, apparently under the mistaken impression that such a subject was a part of traditional courtship rituals. Meanwhile, the viscount glared at Mr. Worthy but was too well-bred to interrupt. Lydia consumed everything on her plate, belched loudly, and then brashly asked for more. Whenever her wineglass was in danger of running dry, she demanded that the footmen refill it. Elizabeth’s mother was having a quiet conversation with Mrs. Peters, but Elizabeth could hardly hope such civility would last.
Lady Catherine examined her wine glass. “There is a spot on my glass,” she announced loudly during a pause in the conversation. “I require another one.” A footman rushed to take it from her. She addressed Elizabeth despite having more than half a table between them. “Your staff has overcooked the roast. I will need to speak with them about it.”
“I thought it was delicious,” Richard said stoutly.
“How kind of you to take an interest,” Elizabeth said to her mother without glancing up from the meat she was cutting.
Mrs. Bennet’s vivid portrayals of a French invasion were, unfortunately, beginning to whip Mrs. Peters into a frenzy. After a particularly lurid portrayal of streets running with blood, the poor woman grabbed her husband’s arm. “Did you hear, John? Perhaps we should remove to my parents’ house in Newcastle.” She turned quickly to Mrs. Bennet. “Do you suppose we will be safe there?” Elizabeth’s mother blinked, not sufficiently versed in English geography to offer an opinion.
“Mrs. Peters,” William intoned, “I do not believe there is any cause for alarm.”
“But would it not be prudent to ensure our safety?” She addressed William, but her eyes implored her husband.
Mr. Peters gently disengaged his wife’s hand from his arm. “I cannot flee to Newcastle, darling. I must remain here and tend to my flock.”
“But I cannot leave you here!” she cried, drawing the eyes of everyone at the table. “I could not bear the thought of you spitted at the end of a French bayonet—or blown into pieces by a cannonball.”
Suddenly not quite so hungry, Elizabeth set down her fork.
Elizabeth’s mother patted Mrs. Peters’ hand. “There, there, my dear. He is a clergyman. Certainly the French would not kill him.” The woman’s shoulders sagged with relief as Mrs. Bennet continued. “At most they would put him in a lice- and rat-infested prison.” Mrs. Peters’ face took on a greenish tinge.
Both William and Georgiana also laid down their forks. Lady Pippinworth took a hasty sip of wine. At this rate no one would finish their meal except Elizabeth’s mother…and Lydia.
“Mrs. Bennet,” William said. “I hardly—”
“This beef is tremendous!” Lydia declared to no one in particular. “I would like some more.” All the eyes at the table turned toward her.
“It is ham,” her father, seated next her, whispered loudly.
Lydia frowned and peered at her plate where only a few shreds of meat remained. “Hmm…I thought the taste of the beef was a bit off.” She turned around in her seat, presenting the rest of the table with her back, and addressed the footman behind her. “Are you certain it is ham?”
The man did his best not to laugh. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Well, I would like some more.” Lydia turned back toward the other diners, producing a little giggle for no discernible reason. In the middle of the table, Lord and Lady Pippinworth talked to each other in hushed tones; Elizabeth could only imagine what they were saying.
“And when fed the right kind of hay, each cow can produce up to sixty-five pounds of high-quality manure a day!” Mr. Worthy’s voice broke through the sudden silence. “Can you imagine? Sixty-five pounds!”
Mr. Peters and Mr. Bennet set down their forks almost simultaneously. Georgiana, to whom this remark was addressed, covered her mouth with her napkin, but the crinkles around her eyes suggested that she was suppressing a smile.
At the end of the table, William took a very deep breath and closed his eyes. He opened his eyes and continued in a deliberate, reasonable tone. “Perhaps we could—”
His words were eclipsed by his aunt’s voice. “In its acute phase, Anne’s illness requires that she be bled at least one or two times a day,” she explained to Lady Agatha. “The doctor prefers to use leeches. He is rather old-fashioned.”
The footman had offered the platter of ham to an enthusiastic Lydia and then Elizabeth’s mother, but all of the other diners appeared faintly nauseous. Georgiana’s complexion was quite pale while William’s face had turned red. Mrs. Peters’ hand covered her mouth. Lord Pippinworth eyed the clock as if wondering when he could politely depart.
Isn't this delightful! I could envision all the looks on the faces of the guests. Poor Darcy. I think he was a little frustrated but then, I would have been too. Thank you, Ms. Kincaid, for sharing such a fun teaser with us. The story sounds like it will be an enjoyable read and your cover is lovely! Thank you for being my guest and for having such a generous giveaway. Yes, dear readers, it is that time. Victoria Kincaid is giving away one copy of an eBook or a paperback of A Very Darcy Christmas, winner's choice, and the giveaway is international! Please leave a comment to be entered. Don't forget your contact info to be sure you can be reached. This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on the 23rd of December, a little earlier than normal. Depending on the choice, the winner just might get the book for Christmas! :) Good luck to all. In your comment, let us know something that you love about the holidays!