Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Unwrapping Mr. Darcy...L. L. Diamond

I have been looking forward with anticipation to today's post. L. L. Diamond is my guest and she is Unwrapping Mr. Darcy! Isn't that lovely! Not only that, we get to see her exquisite cover, fabulous giveaway, and the adorable Grunt once again. Thank you, Leslie, for visiting my blog and sharing a delightful excerpt today. It is a pleasure to have you here. Thanks, Leslie, and welcome.


Hello! Thanks, Janet, for having me today! I’m thrilled with the reception everyone is giving Unwrapping Mr. Darcy. Tomorrow is finally release day and I can’t wait for everyone to get their own copy. In the meantime, I have an excerpt for you. I hope you enjoy it!


Three hours later, the interminable conference call finally ended. If she hadn’t been in her supervisor’s office, she would’ve jumped up and down and danced, and he would’ve thought her certifiable. No, it wasn’t the longest conference call ever—at least not from what she’d been told, but why was it so difficult for some people to understand the simplest of concepts? She and Mr. Hurst had explained the procedure they wanted implemented multiple times until both of them wanted to pull their hair out—not that Mr. Hurst had much to lose!
Her stomach growled, and she pressed her hand to her belly. “Excuse me.”
Mr. Hurst chuckled and set a paper to one side of his desk. “Don’t worry about it. I’m hungry too. What’s left isn’t going anywhere. We can go over it later. Go get something to eat.”
“I don’t mind waiting.” Not that she really wanted to. She needed to find food, and soon!
He leaned against his desk. “Go get some lunch, Bennet. I won’t have you getting grumpy while we work.”
She sat forward in her seat. “Do you want anything? I don’t mind picking something up for you.”
He lifted his pen and began to write. “I wish I could take you up on that offer, but my wife has decided I need to lose some weight. She sent me with some cardboard tasting frozen dinner, a small salad, and an apple.” He glanced up from his work and pointed his pen at her. “I know she has spies here on the inside, because the last time I cheated, she knew. I’m certain my assistant tells her. The two of them are thick as thieves.”
Elizabeth laughed. “What time do you want me back?”
“I don’t have any meetings this afternoon, so surprise me.”
“Yes, sir.” She gave a tiny salute and headed down the hall. Lord, she needed to eat! If she didn’t eat soon, her stomach would begin to digest itself! A quick bite would have to do. It wasn’t what she really wanted, but after the coffee earlier, she’d start to get sick to her stomach if something didn’t make its way in there soon to satiate it. Mr. Hurst also wanted to go over the upcoming projects and the documentation that would be needed. She didn’t like him waiting on her.
When she reached her office, Charlotte stood in front of her desk, arguing with a delivery boy. “Lizzy, I’m so glad you’re back. This guy claims to have your lunch? Did you order something because I haven’t?”
She slowed to a stop. “I didn’t order anything yet.”
The guy held out a ticket. “I have an order of spaghetti carbonara for Elizabeth Bennet, forty-eighth floor, Darcy Building. Is that you?”
“Yes, that’s me, but—” A card, with the design from the Advent Calendar, caught her eye when he lifted the bag from his side.
“Then this is for you.”
Any argument she had died in her throat. “Thank you.”
Charlotte’s head jerked back and forth. “I don’t get it.”
Elizabeth gave a slight shake of her head. “Can you tip him? I’ll pay you back.”
He held his hands in front of him. “It’s already taken care of. Have a good day.”
“What was that?” Charlotte pointed to the delivery boy, but Elizabeth motioned for her assistant to follow her into the office.
She set the bag on her desk and turned it around. “Charlotte, look.”
Her assistant’s eyes bugged when they landed on the card. “Seriously? How did he know you would need lunch?”
“I suppose it depends on when they ordered it. Who says they didn’t somehow find out how long the conference call was running or know how time-consuming it would be.” Elizabeth opened the bag and looked inside. “There’s more in here than just spaghetti carbonara.” One at a time, she pulled three containers from the bag followed by a bottle of sparkling water.
“Holy cow,” said Charlotte. “Is that tiramisu? I’m jealous. How do I swap for your Secret Santa?”
Elizabeth removed the lids from the small Caesar salad and the spaghetti, pulled out a fork, and sat down. “Are you hungry? I don’t mind sharing.”
“I already ate, but I wouldn’t mind tasting the carbonara. I’ve never seen a sauce that golden before.” She handed Charlotte the extra fork from the bag, and they both took a little sample of the dish, her assistant moaning when she put it in her mouth. “Is it possible to orgasm from food?”
“I know,” said Elizabeth with her mouth full. “This is amazing.”
“Seriously! How did you get all the luck?” Charlotte leaned against Elizabeth’s desk. “I mean, first he buys you all those bath products, then the plant and those treats for your cat delivered to your door. This week, he’s sent a candle, a certificate for a Snow Leopard adopted in your name, and now lunch.”
“Why do you think it’s a he? How many men would go to so much trouble to discover the favorites of a woman they aren’t dating or married to?”
Charlotte wagged a finger. “But what if he wants to date you? What if he’s had a thing for you and somehow managed to draw your name? Then wouldn’t he be motivated to do something a little over the top to try to impress you?”
“Money and gifts don’t impress me. If this is a man and that’s his belief, then we have a problem.”
Her assistant rolled her eyes. “Maybe he’s deeper than that, but you just go on and continue believing the worst.”
“I never said I believe this person is terrible, but this is rather extravagant, don’t you think?”
“A little.” Charlotte shrugged. “But if you count the executives on the two to three floors involved, there’s a pretty good pool of people who can afford it. Besides, I hear the Christmas bonus is going to be pretty sweet this year.”
Elizabeth chewed and swallowed her bite. “We haven’t even been with the company six months. We won’t be getting the Christmas bonus.”
“That’s not what your future bro-in-law told me.”
She lifted her eyebrows. “Really? Charlie said that?”
“Yes, everyone gets the same bonus, regardless of when they started with the company. Mr. Darcy believes it helps foster loyalty.”
“So, he buys his employees.” Elizabeth stabbed at her salad. “Why doesn’t that surprise me?”
“Wow! First your Secret Santa and now the big boss man. Why do you always look for the worst in people?”
“I don’t think the worst of people. I believe the motivations of my Secret Santa are suspect, and you know why I dislike Mr. Darcy. Why do you think so highly of the big boss man anyway?”
Charlotte sighed. “You thought quite a bit of him at one time.”
“That was only when I knew him by reputation.”
“Have you ever considered that your first impression of him is not who he really is? That maybe he was having a bad day? Maybe someone tried his last nerve? You should know all about that. Your mother is famous for blaming people about her last nerve.”
“Yes, he had a bad day. That was when the entire mess with Wickham happened, but did he really need to say what he did? Shouldn’t he have more faith in Charlie?”
Charlotte stood. “At least he apologized.”
“That’s true,” she agreed. “Did I tell you he showed up in line behind me at Lava Java?”
“No, you didn’t. Did he say anything?”
After a sip of her drink, Elizabeth sort of shrugged. “He said I did excellent work on the Lambton merger, and when I ordered, he insisted on paying for my coffee.”
“See, you’ve proven to be an asset. I don’t think he dislikes you as much as you think.”
Her hand with the fork rested on her desk. “Then why does he stare at me like he does?”
“Maybe you happen to be in his line of sight. Maybe you have a hair out of place. Maybe . . .” One side of Charlotte’s lips quirked upwards. “Maybe he likes you.”
“Likes me?” Elizabeth took another sip of her drink. “I don’t think he loathes me, but I don’t think he’s harboring some secret crush.”
“You could be right, but I think you should consider that he isn’t staring at you because he has some problem with you.” Charlotte now stood with her hands on her hips. “I also don’t believe he’s as disagreeable as you make him out to be.”
“That’s because you listen to Charlie. You don’t realize how similar to Jane that man really is.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes. “Enjoy your lunch. I have work to do. I’ll hold your calls until you’re finished.”
“Thanks, Charlotte.”
When the door closed, Elizabeth pulled the card off the bag and studied the snow scene. The people on the card all looked happy and joyful. Their lives were so much simpler. They didn’t have difficult bosses and deadlines to meet for work. They also didn’t have crazy Secret Santas.
Why did her life have to be so complicated?

If you have missed any of the stops on this fun blog tour, be sure and take a look at the schedule above. There are still more opportunities to visit and learn more about the Unwrapping Mr. Darcy. Have you been reading some of the posted chapters at Austen Variations? I have and am loving it. If you have missed them, click on this link. It will take you to the prologue and you can follow through Chapter 3. The book is available for preorder at Amazon and will be delivered to your Kindle tomorrow, October 31st, with the paperback following on November 2nd. 

Thanks for stopping by, Leslie. I'm proud to be a part of your blog tour. As I said, I've enjoyed each bit of story that you share, and your cover makes me smile every time I look at it. It is adorable, and the story is such fun. I love your Secret Santa in this story. Have many of you, Dear Readers, worked or had a group with a Secret Santa? I have and thought it was fun. I never had one like Lizzy though! Oh my! :)

Leslis has an awesome giveaway. Christmas will come early for one lucky reader. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of the post. You just might be the lucky one! It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Isn't Grunt cute! I love how he sits there looking so innocent and protective of the goodies. He poses well.

Unwrapping Mr. Darcy Giveaway: (complete list of all the wonderful goodies)

Unwrapping Mr. Darcy tote bag
Pride and Prejudice quote temporary tattoos
Jane Austen Quote Gift Cards
Pride and Prejudice large postcard
Black cat wine glass
4 Lavender mini bath bombs
1 floral large bath bomb (has lavender buds)
Lavender shower bomb
Lavender bubble bar
Yankee Candle Lemon Lavender Candle
Black cat silhouette coaster
Black cat thermos with spoon
Jane Austen quote postcard
Black cat wine topper (just like Elizabeth’s!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Rational Creatures...Caitlin Williams

The Rational Creatures Blog Tour stops by More Agreeably Engaged today and the spotlight is on the talented author, Caitlin Williams. It is such an honor to have Caitlin visit and tell us about her short story., but before we get to Caitlin's post and excerpt, here is a bit more about this anthology filled with stories by some fabulous authors!

Book Description
“But I hate to hear you talking so, like a fine gentleman, and as if women were all fine ladies, instead of rational creatures. We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.” —Persuasion

Jane Austen: True romantic or rational creature? Her novels transport us back to the Regency, a time when well-mannered gentlemen and finely-bred ladies fell in love as they danced at balls and rode in carriages. Yet her heroines, such as Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, and Elinor Dashwood, were no swooning, fainthearted damsels in distress. Austen’s novels have become timeless classics because of their biting wit, honest social commentary, and because she wrote of strong women who were ahead of their day. True to their principles and beliefs, they fought through hypocrisy and broke social boundaries to find their happily-ever-after.

In the third romance anthology of The Quill Collective series, sixteen celebrated Austenesque authors write the untold histories of Austen’s brave adventuresses, her shy maidens, her talkative spinsters, and her naughty matrons. Peek around the curtain and discover what made Lady Susan so wicked, Mary Crawford so capricious, and Hettie Bates so in need of Emma Woodhouse’s pity.

Rational Creatures is a collection of humorous, poignant, and engaging short stories set in Georgian England that complement and pay homage to Austen’s great works and great ladies who were, perhaps, the first feminists in an era that was not quite ready for feminism.

“Make women rational creatures, and free citizens, and they will become good wives; —that is, if men do not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers.” —Mary Wollstonecraft

Stories by: Elizabeth Adams * Nicole Clarkston * Karen M Cox * J. Marie Croft * Amy D’Orazio * Jenetta James * Jessie Lewis * KaraLynne Mackrory * Lona Manning * Christina Morland * Beau North * Sophia Rose * Anngela Schroeder * Joana Starnes * Caitlin Williams * Edited by Christina Boyd * Foreword by Devoney Looser
CAITLIN WILLIAMS is an award-winning author of Ardently, The Coming of Age of Elizabeth Bennet, When We Are Married, and The Events at Branxbourne, that all spin the plot of Pride and Prejudice around but keep the characters just the same. Originally from South London, Caitlin spent thirteen years as a detective in the Metropolitan Police but is currently on a break from Scotland Yard so she can spend more time at home with her two children and write. She now lives in Kent, where she spends a lot of time daydreaming about Mr. Darcy, playing with dinosaurs, and trying not to look at the laundry pile.
It is my pleasure to welcome Caitlin Williams, whose short story features Harriet Smith from Emma

Thank you, Janet, for hosting me at your lovely blog. I had the pleasure to write a story in Rational Creatures, that is based on Harriet Smith, a character that I find most intriguing. I can’t wait to read the comments from your readers!
The Rise and Fall, and levelling out of Harriet Smith, is a story
within a story in Emma. When I was asked to pen a tale in this anthology, I had
to consider her within the context of Austen’s 19
th Century England. Her Illegitimacy, though not an uncommon
circumstance at the time, would have been a strangulating force for any girl
hoping to marry well. While our dear author, and her creation Emma Woodhouse,
play with Harriet, her fate, if we are to be realistic, is never in doubt.
Snobbery still exists today and will never go away, but the actual
social boundaries, the invisible walls which stood tall in Austen’s day, have
crumbled away to almost nothing. For us, it can be hard to imagine the
difficulties Harriet would have faced. We live in a world where Megan Markle, a
divorced, American actress has married into the Royal Family. Welcomed
wholeheartedly, the new Duchess of Sussex is adored by the British public. In
2018, diversity was celebrated at the wedding of the year, and she and her
prince were woven together in a beautiful blend of modernity and tradition
Yet, if we go back only fifty years, we see a stark contrast in
the story of Princess Margaret. The Queen’s sister was faced with an almost
impossible choice when she fell in love with a divorced man, an employee even!
Rather than following her heart, which would have meant giving up her titles,
privileges and income, and living in exile from her family—Margaret forsook
Group Captain Peter Townsend. She remained Her Royal Highness Princess
Margaret, but many suggest it was a decision she bitterly regretted for the
rest of her stormy, turbulent life.
And, in the 1930’s, King Edward VIII had to abdicate his throne in
order to marry the woman he loved, another divorcee, Wallis Simpson.
So how difficult was life for Harriet Smith in the early 1800’s?
She would have lived by a set of incredibly rigid, unwritten rules.
Mr Knightley, older and more worldly-wise than Emma, is full of
caution in the novel. He warns Emma against matchmaking between Harriet and Mr
Elton. He knows the ambitious Mr Elton will never consider Harriet, and that
his tenant, Robert Martin, would make a far more suitable husband. Emma is too
carried away by her own fancies and convinced of her dubious talents to pay him
any heed. She gives not enough thought to social mores and prejudice, and
encourages Harriet to fall in love with the parson. Mr Knightley tells her it
is cruel, and he is right, because it is doomed.
In the hands of a lesser author this might have been a ‘rags to
riches’ tale, with Harriet Smith being the heroine; a sweet girl with a kind
heart who overcomes her humble beginnings to marry the rich landowner.
 Jane Austen, however, was cleverer than most, and perhaps also cynical
and sly, and what she gives us is a more believable tale, with a troubling
moral that is definitely not correct.
Having lived humbly and quietly, often in a kind of genteel
poverty, Jane Austen was mostly dependent on the charity of her relations, but
she was also connected, on her mother’s side, to high society. This gave her
the opportunity to see the world from all angles. Her novels are not simple
romances, or light comedies, they are important historical documents which give
us an invaluable understanding into Georgian country life.
So, in this very practical novel—written by the most rational
creature of them all—the undeserving, meddling Emma, ends up with the
swoon-worthy Mr Knightley, while Harriet seemingly has to settle for Robert
What Austen understood is that life is a series of compromises,
and that we fight constantly between our heads and hearts, between practicality
and desire. How often do we have to wash the dishes when we’d rather run among
the daisies? Nevertheless, I like to believe that Harriet did find happiness;
that her farmer became her prince, and her farmhouse was her palace.
Harriet was probably not very rational at all, even though she met
with a rational end. But because I’m more of a Harriet than a Jane, in my
story, her ending is a loving one too.
The reason for Robert Martin’s presence in the Knightley’s hall was made clear later when they were taking afternoon tea. Mr. Knightley, who had just arrived home, explained his brother had sent Mr. Martin to Town to deliver some papers. Mr. Martin had called at the house first but, upon being told Mr. Knightley was at his chambers, had gone there instead.
“Robert Martin is a level-headed, clever young man who deserves a great deal more than he has got,” Mr. Knightley said. “I think the young girl he sets his cap at will be very fortunate indeed.”
“Well, he has gained George’s good opinion,” Mrs. Knightley added. “He places a good deal of trust in him.” She poured her husband’s coffee. “Should we ask him to join us for dinner, do you think, before he returns to Highbury?”
“Oh, I am sure there is no need for that!” Harriet exclaimed before she could stop herself. “He would not expect to receive such notice from you.”
“No need for it, certainly,” Mr. Knightley replied, “but I did enjoy talking to him. Would you not like to see him, Harriet? He might give you news of all your friends in Highbury.” 
Mr. Knightley’s sardonic tone gave Harriet little clue as to whether he was serious or attempting to tease her. Was there a mischievous glint in his eyes, or had they just been caught by the late afternoon sun that streamed in through the windows? Its rays were bouncing off the crystal bowl that held the sugar lumps. 
Harriet put the biscuit she had been eating back on her plate, fearing she would not be able to swallow it. Her mouth had become dry, her appetite gone. 
She was suddenly lost in remembrances of the bright days she had enjoyed at the Martin’s farm. They were long summer days, yet they had flown quickly by, made shorter by wonderful company and a good deal of laughter. She thought of the time when they had spoken of books. Robert Martin had not mocked her for her taste in romantic novels. Instead, he had smiled shyly at her and told her that his land took up much of his time but that he would like to be better read. 
“It is not for me to say whether he should come or not. I should not decide it,” Harriet said quietly, realising she had left too long a pause, caused a gap in the conversation. “You must do what pleases you, Mr. Knightley.”
“But do you object to him, Miss Smith?” Mr. Knightley asked, leaning forward. 
“No,” she said. “I have not the least objection to Mr. Martin.” 
The problem was that he might have objections to her! But she did not say that, or that every one of his scruples were well justified. 
“Well, we had best ready ourselves for Astley’s, if we are to arrive in good time.” Mrs. Knightley got to her feet. 
Her hosts had kindly arranged some entertainment for Harriet, now that she was recovered. They were to go to the famous amphitheatre on Westminster Bridge Road to see the circus, the two eldest Knightley children accompanying them. 
It was the sort of outing that might have given Harriet great cause for excitement a year ago, but all pleasures were dull to her now. Flowers did not smell so sweet, colours were not so bright, and music not so uplifting.
Her encounter with Robert Martin that afternoon had further distressed her. She had run away from him, like a child. She ought to have been more civil and tried to express, in some small way, her regrets. Not because she wanted to bring on a renewal of his addresses—she did not deserve his attentions— but because she was truly sorry for any pain she had given him.
Besides, she had resolved to live a life of goodness and simplicity. She would not think of romance.
“Yes, let us go out” said Mr. Knightley, standing up beside his wife, “and consider Robert Martin no more. I shall not feel compelled to have him for dinner if Harriet does not like the idea. We shall send him back to Highbury hungry and never see him again.” 
But an hour or so later, they did see him again.


Rational Creature SUPER Giveaway: The Random Name Picker winner review all blog comments and select one winner from these blog stop comments during the tour for all 21 prizes: Winner’s choice of one title from each authors’ backlist (that’s 16 books, ebooks, or audiobooks), our bespoke t-shirt/soap/candle; #20, a brick in winner’s name to benefit #BuyABrick for Chawton House; and #21, the Quill Collective anthologies in ebook or audiobook.

The giveaway ends November 15, 2018 and is open to international winners.

This sounds like such an awesome anthology. I look forward to reading all the stories. Thank you, Caitlin, for telling us a bit about Harriet and for sharing an excerpt. I did like it and am ready to read the rest of it. I'm happy to read that you gave Harriet a happy ending. I would like to think she had one too. Special thanks to Christina Boyd and Claudine Pepe for including me in this tour.

Monday, October 22, 2018

And the winners are...Jennifer Redlarczyk

It's giveaway time! I always love announcing the winners,
and I have two to announce this time! 

The winners of Darcy's Melody
by Jennifer Redlarczyk are: 

eBook Winners

Suzan Lauder

Congratulations, ladies. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. We appreciate your support
and hope you enjoy the book.

Thank you, Jennifer, for hosting the giveaway and for being my guest. I look forward to having you visit again soon.
Best wishes with Darcy's Melody.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Darcy's Melody...Jen Red

Available on Amazon

I have been looking forward to today's post for quite some time. Jennifer Redlarczyk is with us this Wednesday, and it is her first visit to More Agreeably Engaged as a guest. She often stops by to comment on other posts but she is the visiting author today! I'm thrilled to have her here. I forgot to mention that today is the three month anniversary of the release of Darcy's Melody. Happy Book-iversary.

Jennifer has some great things in store for you, Dear Readers. She shares two fun scenes from her new release, Darcy's Melody, one from Chapter One and one from Chapter Two. I think you are going to love both. I certainly did. Next, if you check out her links at the end of this post, she has a fabulous Pinterest Page that follows her book by chapters. That took some work and time. Last is her YouTube channel link. This one is very special, if will notice on the end credits. Wonderful job, Jen. I loved both of these as well as your Chapter excerpts. Thank you so much for sharing them with us.


Greetings! I am pleased to be here on More Agreeably Engaged with my new release, Darcy’s Melody, inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In the year 1811 the war with France continues to rage, sending many injured men home to England where accommodations are limited. Raising funds to build an additional structure at the London Hospital for the wounded has become a top priority for Lady Eleanor Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock. She has not only enlisted members of the ton to assist with her committee, but women who are well-known throughout the trade community. It is within this endeavour that Elizabeth Bennet and Georgiana Darcy first meet through a mutual love of music. In this particular scene, however, Darcy and Elizabeth encounter each other under very different circumstances.



Tuesday, 21 May 1811

Early afternoon

Ballard’s was an eclectic treasure trove of rare first editions and unusual books located on the thoroughfare of Piccadilly. Although it appeared somewhat dingy and dimly lit from the outside, inside the ageing building the atmosphere was inviting, and a vast array of literature beckoned lovers of the written word.

Promptly at one o’clock, Fitzwilliam Darcy entered the bookshop and walked directly towards his favoured section. While paging through a military war journal, he instinctively glanced toward the back of the shop. Even with several patrons milling about the establishment today, Darcy’s eyes were drawn to a young lady who appeared to be examining a small book in the poetry section.

Closing the journal, Darcy ambled over to where the woman stood and began perusing the titles on a nearby shelf. After taking a book in hand, he purposely turned his head towards the young lady. Captivated by her large, dark emerald-green eyes sparkling with mischief, he felt his lips curve into a half smile when she spoke.

“Pray, sir, may I trouble you to hand me the book of Cowper poetry on the upper shelf?”

Darcy nodded. “With pleasure. Cowper is an excellent choice.” 

As he reached for the book, she continued, “One poem in particular reminds me of Oakham Mount in Hertfordshire. I find I am rather desirous of its solace today if only through the eyes of the poet.”

Handing her the book, he answered in kind. “I understand your sentiments for I, too, am from the country and have longed to return to Derbyshire.”

Arching an eyebrow in his direction, she inclined her head and said, “I thank you, sir.”  

“You are most welcome.”

As she turned the pages of her selection in search of the poem, Darcy heard the young lady gasp when both of her books slid out of her hands and onto the floor. “Oh dear,” she sighed, stooping down to retrieve them. 

“Allow me,” he immediately offered. Both reaching for the books, Darcy felt her small, warm hand carefully slip a folded piece of paper into the palm of his own. The young lady had not replaced her glove after perusing her own book, and her skin was soft to the touch. Leaning closer, the faint scent of lavender seemed to strengthen, causing his chest to tighten and his heart to quicken in response.

Feigning innocence, she looked up at him and said, “Again, sir, I am in your debt. Perhaps I should make my purchases before I have another mishap.”

“Permit me to carry these to the desk for you.”

Acknowledging his offer with a slight curtsey, the young lady whispered, “Sir, I think we are being observed.” Then speaking louder, she added, “Thank you again. You are most kind.”

“Your servant.” He bowed. With his senses heightened from being forewarned of impending danger, Darcy spoke softly in return, “How did you come? I would not have you leave here unescorted.”

“There is a carriage waiting, sir. A manservant is nearby and a maid is within.”

“Then leave now and be careful.”

So now that Darcy and Elizabeth have met each other, let’s see what happens after they are properly introduced. At this point in the story, Mrs. Gardiner, Jane and Elizabeth have all been invited to Darcy House at Lady Matlock’s instance. Their purpose is to present Georgiana with the workings of her hospital charity and to invite the young woman to participate.

Since meeting Elizabeth at the bookshop, Darcy has learned more about her standing in society. Needless to say, he was not particularly happy at the prospect of his sister interacting with three women who resided in Cheapside. Shall we observe?


Darcy House

Walking back into the room, Darcy returned to his former position near the mantelpiece, where he quietly resumed his previous demeanour. Taking note of him, Elizabeth retrieved a large envelope from her satchel and excused herself from the rest of the group.

“Mr. Darcy, may I have a moment of your time?”  

“Miss Elizabeth Bennet.” He nodded.

“Sir, at your aunt’s suggestion, I have prepared some documentation detailing our proposals and projected expenditures to date. May I leave them for your perusal?” Holding out the envelope which he promptly took, Elizabeth gifted him with one of her mischievous smiles. Then quickly donning a more serious face, she whispered, “Sir, I must warn you, it might be a rather boring read since it does not contain any errant pages from my uncle’s War Journals.”

Momentarily caught off guard, Darcy purposely scowled at her tease. Even though he had avowed to remain distant, he could not resist challenging this self-assured young lady from Cheapside. In response, Darcy decided he would purposely provoke Elizabeth, testing her ability to hold her own against his remarks.

“Frankly, Miss Elizabeth, I find it rather odd a young woman with so little formal education could have much knowledge of the financial workings in matters such as these.

Elizabeth, obviously surprised by his response, squared her shoulders and looked directly into his eyes. “Mr. Darcy, in Hertfordshire, where I come from, I am considered to be my father’s son with regard to these types of matters. I must inform you I have been thoroughly trained in the affairs of my father’s humble estate, having assisted him since the age of sixteen.”

Darcy schooled his face into an expression of disbelief. “Come now, Miss Bennet. Surely you do not expect me to believe such assertions.”

“Sir, I have often acted as my father’s secretary, studying his financial ledgers and formal documents. With his encouragement, I have settled disputes with our tenants and attended to their needs. I can assure you I do comprehend a great deal in this respect.”

Yes, that did raise her ire, he thought with the intent of continuing to annoy her. “I must confess I am curious to know what sort of man your father is. It is highly unusual for any gentleman to entrust the running of his estate to his young daughter.”

“Mr. Darcy.” She glared at him in defiance. “My father may not have had the means to educate me in the manner of the more affluent, but I must defend him in saying I was given every advantage a young man under his care and tutelage would have had.”

While she waited for his response, Darcy studied Elizabeth’s face, taking delight in the fire he saw in her eyes. “You are very singular, indeed!”

“Pray, Mr. Darcy, have you never encountered any ladies of the ton who are bold enough to invade a gentleman’s domain in this fashion?”  

Rubbing his chin for a moment before responding, he finally answered, “With the exception of my aunt, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, I would definitely have to say … no.” Then giving her a patronizing grin, he continued, “Where many ladies of my acquaintance are well educated, I find most accomplished women choose to devote their time to more refined activities, such as music or drawing. They have studied the modern languages and have sought the improvement of their minds through extensive reading. They do not take pleasure in the invasion of a gentleman’s domain in this manner, as you have intimated.” 

“An accomplished woman!” declared Elizabeth, looking rather indignant.

Before she could further respond, he put the envelope on the mantelpiece and said with another attempt to provoke her, “I must say I am looking forward to examining your work, Miss Elizabeth, and I shall bring forth any pertinent comments, should I find something amiss.”  

Amiss?” Her eyes sparkled as though she were accepting his unspoken challenge. “Mr. Darcy, I shall eagerly await your evaluation. Of course, I should warn you, sir, all of my efforts have been reviewed and met with the approval of your aunt’s very own solicitor.” Turning up the corners of her mouth in a self-assured smile, she attempted to mock him.

Darcy was exhilarated by her response, but continued to give the appearance of indifference. “So be it, Miss Elizabeth, I shall endeavour to give these documents my full attention.”  

“Thank you, Mr. Darcy.” Elizabeth curtseyed then turned with the intention of re-joining the ladies. 

“Miss Elizabeth,” he said, halting her with his words. She boldly looked back at him arching her brow. Darcy would not placate Elizabeth with an apology for annoying her since he had purposely meant to unnerve her and she bore it well. He would, however, offer up his thanks where Georgiana was concerned.

“If I may, I would like to extend my gratitude for the kindness you, Miss Bennet, and Mrs. Gardiner have shown to my sister this afternoon.” His face relaxed, revealing a half smile. “It is greatly appreciated.” He bowed.

Surprised by his sincerity, Elizabeth softened her own expression and replied, “Mr. Darcy, your sister is a lovely, sensitive, young woman. It has been our privilege to speak with her today.

So what do you think? How did you like this second meeting? Did Darcy behave as you might have expected. Please let me know in your comments and you will be entered in the giveaway for two eBooks of Darcy’s Melody. Thanks for stopping by and thanks so very much to Janet Taylor for hosting me and my new book today. Jen Red


Jennifer Redlarczyk

I am a private music instructor living in Crown Point, Indiana where I teach voice, violin and piano and work as an adjunct music professor at Purdue University Northwest. As a teen, I was introduced to Jane Austen by my mother who loved old books, old movies and old songs. In the summer of 2011, I stumbled upon Jane Austen Fanfiction at a Barnes and Noble store and became obsessed with this genre. From there, I met several talented JAFF authors and devoted readers who were active on social media and eventually became a moderator for the private JAFF forum, DarcyandLizzy.com. It was there that I first tried my hand at writing short stories. I have the greatest appreciation for the creative world of Jane Austen Fanfiction and am thrilled to be a part of the JAFF community. 

You can find me at: DarcyandLizzy.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on YouTube. On my Pinterest page I’ve posted inspiration pictures for each chapter of Darcy’s Melody, and on my YouTube channel you can listen to the recordings I made of Lizzy’s songs. ~ Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red)

Available on Amazon

It's giveaway time! Isn't that wonderful! As Jennifer  already mentioned, she is giving away two eBooks and the giveaway is international. Be sure to leave your contact info, if I do not already have it, for your chance to win. I always feel bad when I'm unable to contact a winner and have to choose another. I hope that will not happen this time. Leave us a comment and tell us if Darcy behaved as you expected. What do you think of these scenes, the Pinterest page and the YouTube video.  Do you have a favorite? Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck to all. Giveaway will end at 11:59 P.M. on the 21st of October, Trafalgar Day.
Jennifer, thank you for being my guest today. It has been such a pleasure to have you stop by. I enjoyed your post. The scenes were delightful, and your Pinterest page was awesome. I liked how you had it set up by chapters. Your video was lovely, too. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of viewing it and listening to it. Last but not least, I really like your book cover. It is so pretty. Congratulations and best wishes with Darcy's Melody.