This sounds like a different book and an interesting one. I confess, I'm quite intrigued by the cover. What do you think, Readers? Don't you like it? Have any of you read it yet? If you have, we would love to hear from you.
Jayne has an excerpt for us and a giveaway. Be sure you enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the post.
Darcy knocked on the door to the chamber where Elizabeth had taken
his sister. She bid him enter, but made no other acknowledgement as he joined
her beside the bed where Georgiana had been laid. The silence did not bother
Darcy - what was a man to say to the woman he loved, after they had just
covered up the murder of his relation and hers, a murder committed at the hands
of his own sister?
Elizabeth was perched on the bed at Georgiana’s side, and Darcy took a seat nearby, content to watch Elizabeth’s curious ministrations. She was slowly unwinding her silver chain from around Georgiana’s wrists, which were marred with blistered red burns. Georgiana’s jaw was clenched and her countenance belied her pain, but she was silent and almost serene as she held Elizabeth’s calm, confident gaze. She was also, inexplicably, covered in a thin layer of dirt across her chest.
Georgiana’s eyes landed on Darcy and her face twisted in despair.
“Oh, William, I am so sorry. You must hate me!” She shifted uncomfortably as
the last of the silver was pulled away.
Elizabeth reacted at once to Georgiana’s agitation by repositioning
herself to sit on top of Georgiana’s legs. She laid her hands on Georgiana’s
shoulders, her fingers slowly rubbing in the dirt. “Close your eyes, Georgie.
Remember what we practiced? You do not need to breathe, but you can go through
the motions of it. Good. Just like that. Feel the cold earth on your skin. Can
you feel my heart beating?”
“Good. Eyes closed. Inhale, exhale, you remember that.” Elizabeth
continued to massage the dirt into Georgiana’s chest, but turned to look at
Darcy. “She is technically dead - her body wants to be in the ground. A little
soil will keep her grounded - forgive the jest - it also obscures her ability
to sense our heartbeats. She will eventually be able to control her impulses
better without it, but for now….”
Darcy leaned back in his chair with an overwhelming heaviness,
fighting the impulse to recoil from his sister. If Elizabeth could be so brave,
so magnificently poised, he was determined to match her resolve. “She is
technically dead,” he repeated stonily. “She does not look dead - she looks
very well indeed.”
In truth, the sight of Georgiana, even covered in dirt and blood,
even after what had transpired downstairs, was still better than what he had
begun to fear since her disappearance. He let out a long, slow breath,
considering a painful truth: that he could reconcile himself to what he had
witnessed this night, and what Georgiana was now, more easily than he could
bear to lose her. It was a terrifying prospect, but he would conquer
“I am a monster,” Georgiana murmured.
Elizabeth slowly lifted one of Georgiana’s arms, displaying her
wrist to Darcy - the marks left by the silver had already begun to heal. “You
are not a monster, dear girl. You are quite remarkable.”
Georgiana opened her eyes and peered up at Elizabeth before
turning to look at Darcy. “Brother?”
“I could never hate you,” Darcy said earnestly. He glanced over at
Elizabeth for reassurance before slowly taking Georgiana’s hand in his. “I was
so worried - you disappeared, and I feared the worst.”
“And this… is not the worst? You have seen what I am.”
Darcy struggled to formulate his reply. “What you are is safe. You
are returned to me; that is enough right now. Whatever must be done, you must
know that I would do anything for you.”
The trace of a smile formed on Georgiana’s lips. “Lizzy said
you would be kind to me. I was afraid you would be disgusted - I am
disgusted by what I have done - what you have had to do to conceal it….”
Darcy again looked to Elizabeth when words escaped him. She smiled
warmly at him, tears in her eyes, and he instinctively handed her his
handkerchief. She accepted it and silently dabbed at her eyes for a moment
before sliding off of Georgiana’s legs. When Georgiana made no sudden
movements, Elizabeth let out a sigh of relief and began to stand. “I fear you
have long been desiring my absence - I will leave you now.”
“No,” Georgiana cried, as Darcy echoed the same reply. In a
frighteningly swift movement, Georgiana latched onto Elizabeth’s hand, and then
released it. “Good God, I hurt you!”
“No,” Elizabeth said quickly, but she rubbed at the place where
Georgiana had grabbed her. “I will stay, if you wish it, but you must practice
your movements. Slow and soft. You do not know your own strength.”
Georgiana visibly relaxed. Elizabeth remained at her side, and
began making slow gestures with her hands. “Mirror me, like this. It will feel
natural with practice, and in time you will be quite proficient.”
Darcy watched Elizabeth in awe. He had teased her for not being
afraid of him, but she had every reason to fear his sister. “Where did
you learn this, Miss Bennet?”
She kept her voice neutral and her eyes on Georgiana, who had
begun to mimic Elizabeth’s simple gestures. “My Uncle Silas is something of an
expert concerning vampires.”
Darcy’s whole body clenched. He knew, but he had not been ready to
hear the word spoken aloud. His mind rejected what he had seen - such creatures
were the stuff of stories - and yet before him was proof to the contrary. “How
can this be possible?”
Elizabeth lowered her hands and glanced over at him, giving Darcy
an arch look and a shrug of her shoulders. “I cannot say, sir, but I find it
“That is one word for it.” Darcy, Elizabeth, and Georgiana all looked up at once as Richard strode into the room. “But I should like to hear from my cousin exactly how such a thing came to be, and why we have had to endure such a night as this.”
Georgiana had been too distracted by Elizabeth's calming presence to notice Richard come into the room, and his severity was a harsh surprise. Once again her agitation took hold of her, and Georgiana fought against her impulse to fly at her cousin. There was a weight on her legs as Elizabeth perched there once more, but it was her gaze that stilled Georgiana at last.
Richard made no secret of his disgust at what she had become, and
a glance at William told Georgiana that her brother was only doing a better job
of concealing his revulsion. Only Elizabeth was truly at ease in her presence;
this woman was a stranger to her, while William and Richard were her family.
And so was Lady Catherine.
“I am sorry, I am so sorry,” she moaned, afraid to meet anyone’s
eye but Elizabeth’s.
Georgiana could sense her new friend’s annoyance, but realized
that it was directed at Richard. She followed Elizabeth’s gaze over to William,
and the snarly feeling of anger faded into something softer; Georgiana did not
understand it - indeed, she understood little of what had passed in the last
four months, but as the tension of the moment abated, she felt ready to speak
rationally at last. “I will tell you whatever you wish to know.”
Elizabeth seemed pleased by the evenness of Georgiana’s voice, and
after asking Richard to sit, she slid off of Georgiana’s legs and once again
perched on the side of the bed. Georgiana entwined one hand with Elizabeth’s,
and with her other hand she softly touched the dirt on her chest. It was an odd
treatment, but stranger still was the realization that there was still a great
deal Georgiana did not understand about herself.
“I have been made a vampire,” she said, the statement nearly a
question. “I have seen and done such horrible things - I cannot bear my own
existence!” She began to sob, and again Elizabeth rubbed the dirt into her
“Who did this to you? Tell me,” Richard thundered. Both William
and Elizabeth sent him matching looks of warning, and he drew back in his
chair. “Please, Georgie. I only wish to understand.”
Georgiana wrung her hands; she knew herself to be a vicious,
bloodthirsty demon, but she was suddenly more frightened than anybody in the
room. She could not bear the censure that would inevitably come. It was
devastating enough to recall the events that she had endured - her abduction,
transformation, captivity, and months of starvation - yet it hurt more deeply
to consider that her family might cast her off after all.
“I am so ashamed,” she whimpered, trembling as she leaned into Elizabeth’s
shoulder. She was immediately drawn into an embrace; she made herself savor the
human warmth of it, and not the heartbeat that sang to her.
William slowly rose from his chair, his movements careful as he
came to sit on Georgiana’s other side. He, too, wrapped his arms around her,
and after a moment the faint smell of fear turned into something much sweeter.
She looked up at his face and an incredible feeling washed over her. “Oh,” she
murmured. “It is love. I did not know the smell of it, before.”
With a pained smile, William stroked her cheek; Georgiana closed
her eyes again and let the warmth and affection wash over her, until William’s
voice pulled her out of the brief reverie. “Was it Wickham? Did he do this to
Elizabeth drew in a sharp breath; Georgiana could feel her new friend’s heart quicken. She pulled away and buried her face in her brother’s chest. “Yes, it was.”
“He left Meryton for London just days before Georgiana disappeared
from Matlock House,” Mr. Darcy said.
Colonel Fitzwilliam swore and pounded his fist against the arm of
his chair. “I knew there was some connection there.”
Elizabeth was still struggling to accept this shocking revelation.
“Georgiana, are you saying… George Wickham changed you? He is a vampire?”
“He is,” Georgiana wailed, still clinging to her brother. “He is a
Reeling, Elizabeth attempted to console the trembling vampire; her
hand brushed against Mr. Darcy’s and his fingers curled around hers. For a
brief instant he looked at Elizabeth with the same intensity as he had done at
the pianoforte that evening. She was strangely soothed by the certainty that
there was indeed admiration in his ardent gaze, though this time there was
panic and tremendous sorrow there as well - and a sense of shared
The colonel stood and began to pace. “I do not know how, but I am
going to find him, and I will kill him for this.”
“No,” Georgiana said, finally looking up from her brother’s embrace. “I mean to do it myself.”
Dear Readers, if you haven't read the book yet, you can get your copy of North Fanger at Amazon. You might win it too! The giveaway link is the last thing on the post.