I don’t know about you, but nothing about this year has been normal. So why end the year in a typical fashion? I’ve ended the year by publishing a Christmas book a couple of times,but never wrapped up a year with TWO new books. I’m excited to share with you a double book release for the Christmas season!
The two books go along with The Darcys’ First Christmas, forming bookends to the story. Darcy and Elizabeth: Christmas 1811 tells the behind the scenes story of what might have happened during the Christmastide Darcy spent in London, while the militia (and Wickham!) wintered in Meryton. From Admiration to Love tells the story of the Darcys’ second Christmas. Imagine trying to hold Georgiana’s coming out at the Twelfth Night ball as Lady Catherine and Anne de Bourgh descend as very unwelcome guests. The story was such fun to write, I hope you love it as much as I do!
Take a peek at one of my favorite scenes when Darcy has his first encounter with Lady Catherine–you know that’s going to be interesting!
December 6, 1813
Drawing a deep breath, Darcy strode into his study.
Aunt Catherine paced along the windows, staring out into the neat fields in the distance. Her skirt rustled against the nearby chairs and tables placed not quite far enough away from the windows to allow her full, old-fashioned skirts to pass unimpeded. He stood in front of his neat walnut desk, flanked by an impressive bookcase and waited for her to acknowledge him.
She crossed back and forth along the windows three more times before finally noticing him from the corner of her eye. “Why did you keep me waiting?”
“Why have you arrived without any invitation or even a letter announcing you would come?”
“Am I not family? Do you suggest that I am not welcome?” She bristled, like an angry hen puffing her feathers.
“Is it not customary to announce a visit before it is made, particularly during the holiday season when I might be accommodating other guests?”
“Your housekeeper says you are only hosting Fitzwilliam and are having no other guests arriving this season.”
“That is not the point. Does not etiquette require—”
She whirled on him. “Etiquette be damned!”
He staggered back and leaned on his desk. “Excuse me?”
She stomped toward him. “You heard me very well. This is no time to be concerned about etiquette. I am dealing with a crisis—an emergency, and I need your help.”
“Yes, an emergency and I do not know where else to turn.”
“Have you told Uncle Matlock? I am certain he is able—”
“No I have not talked to my brother. He is as much a problem as what I am dealing with.”
“I know you have had your disagreements in the past—”
“That is hardly the word for it. I am not speaking to him. All he does is shove Fitzwilliam in my face and that is hardly any help at all.” She pressed her hands to the sides of her face.
“Pray sit down.” He led the way to a pair of chairs near the window. “Now, explain, completely and in detail, what you are talking about.”
“He insists that Fitzwilliam should marry Anne since you did not do your duty by her.”
He grumbled under his breath. “If you have come to berate me on my choice of wife, I will have your coach brought around immediately.”
She flung her hands in the air, gesticulating wildly. “What is done is done, and I cannot change that now. But that does not mean that Anne should settle for … for …”
“The well-connected son of an earl?”
“A man whose wealth is not equal to her own.”
So that was Aunt Catherine’s prejudice against him. She had never actually voiced it to him before. “What has Anne’s non-existent husband to do with any of this?”
“The de Bourghs are coming.”
The study door swung open and Fitzwilliam sauntered in. “Morning Darcy, Mrs. Reynolds told me the most extraordinary thing, that Aunt Cath…”
Lady Catherine rose. “Good morning, nephew.”
Fitzwilliam skittered back several steps, blinking rapidly. Apparently he shared Darcy’s childhood recollections. “Aunt? I did not know you were expected.”
“She was not.” Darcy gestured to a nearby chair. “Join us. It seems Aunt Catherine is in need of some assistance.”
Fitzwilliam hurried to take a seat. “What is wrong?”
She worked her teeth over her upper lip, eyes narrowing. “The de Bourghs are coming.”
“You said that already, but I still have no idea what you are talking about. You make it sounds as though the French are massing on the border.” Darcy raked his hair. Why did Aunt Catherine always leave him doing that?
“The de Bourghs, my late husband’s family. They are coming to Rosings.”
“And the problem with that is?” Fitzwilliam asked.
“Fool! Can you not see?” She leaned across to slap Fitzwilliam’s knee. “They want Rosings Park.”
Fitzwilliam donned a patient smile that meant he was anything but. “Rosings belongs to Anne.”
“Of course it does. But they want it. They are offended that she inherited it—claim the estate should have been entailed to keep it in the de Bourgh line. They are sending eligible de Bourgh men to try and seduce Anne into marrying one of them to bring it back into the family!”
Fitzwilliam snickered. “Seduce Anne? I hardly think that possible. She has always done what you have told her, why do you think that will change?”
She turned and waggled a finger at Darcy. “That we can thank Darcy for. You are responsible for this calamity, so you must remedy it.”
Darcy rubbed his eyes with thumb and forefinger. “How exactly is that?”
“After you failed to marry her, I decided to send her away to school for a year, to refine her accomplishments—”
“To prepare her for the marriage mart,” Fitzwilliam muttered under his breath.
Aunt Catherine glowered at him. “She needed some small bit of tutoring to polish—”
“Forgive me, but Anne lacks—or at least lacked—the most basic accomplishments of a lady in society. She cannot play or sing, can hardly dance. She speaks no language but English, when she chooses to speak at all. Even her manners are highly questionable.” Darcy looked to Fitzwilliam as though seeking confirmation.
“How dare you criticize my daughter! Besides, she has other allurements.”
“You speak of Rosings Park, which is why the de Bourghs are sending suitors for her.” Fitzwilliam rose and stomped to the window, his back toward them. “She can be easily and suitably married to any of them and your problem is solved. I believe there is even a title or two among the family, which should be quite to your liking. I do not see what your concern is.”
“Of course not. I did not expect you to be of much help.” She slapped the arms of her chair and focused on Darcy. “In the first place, that foul seminary in Bath has turned Anne into a wild sort of … of romping girl that I hardly understand! She is disrespectful and disobedient. I barely recognize her as my daughter. She tried to order me to the dower house last week! Can you imagine?”
Fitzwilliam coughed—a hardly effective attempt at concealing a snicker.
Aunt Catherine’s eyes narrowed into narrow, dark slits. Was that the expression Medusa had used to turn her enemies into stone? “All that aside, there is no way, absolutely none, that I will permit the de Bourghs to get their hands on Rosings Park again. That is my final word on the matter.”
“Anne is of age. Technically, you have no word on the matter,” Fitzwilliam muttered to the window.
“She will do as I say. You will see to that. That is your duty, Darcy.” She met his gaze with a frighteningly determined one of her own.
“What do you have against the de Bourghs? All propriety would suggest it right for the estate to remain in their line, that the family was materially harmed when it went to Anne. If she were to actually like one of these de Bourgh fellows enough to marry him, why would that be so bad?
“Because he would be a de Bourgh and they are all alike. I was married to one and no daughter of mine will ever be.”
Fitzwilliam turned and caught Darcy’s eye with an upraised eyebrow.
So what do you think of Lady Catherine? Leave me a comment below and enter for a chance to win your choice of one of these new Christmas ebooks.
From Admiration to Love
After the debacle of the previous holiday season, Darcy and Elizabeth joyfully anticipate Christmastide 1813, Georgiana’s come out at Pemberley’s Twelfth Night Ball culminating the season. With months of planning behind the event, even Lady Matlock is satisfied and sends Colonel Fitzwilliam to represent the family, assuring there will be no repeat of the previous Christmastide.
On St. Nicholas’, Anne de Bourgh and Lady Catherine arrive on Pemberley’s doorstep—never a good sign—demanding sanctuary against the de Bourghs who (according the Lady Catherine) are trying to retake Rosings Park for their family with plans to seduce and marry Anne. Needless to say, Darcy and Fitzwilliam are skeptical.
Not long afterwards, three gentlemen suitors appear at Pemberley, hoping to court Anne and obliging Darcy to offer holiday hospitality. Anne adores the attention whilst Lady Catherine makes her displeasure know, throwing Pemberley into turmoil that threatens the Twelfth Night Ball. Can Darcy and Elizabeth, with a little help from Fitzwilliam, soothe Lady Catherine’s nerves, see Anne to a respectable match, and still salvage Georgiana’s come out?
Interested? It’s available HERE.
In case you missed the earlier announcement:
Darcy and Elizabeth: Christmas 1811
Following the Netherfield ball, Darcy persuades Bingley to leave Netherfield Park in favor of London to avoid the match-making machinations of Mrs. Bennet. Surely, the distractions of town will help Bingley forget the attractions of Miss Jane Bennet. But Bingley is not the only one who needs to forget. All Darcy wants this Christmastide is to forget another Miss Bennet.
Can the diversions of London help Darcy overcome memories of the fine eyes and pert opinions of a certain Hertfordshire miss?
Without the Bingleys, the Bennets are left to the company of Mr. Collins and the militia officers—entirely suitable company, according Mrs. Bennet. Elizabeth disagrees, refusing an offer of marriage from the very eligible Mr. Collins. Mama’s nerves suffer horridly until Elizabeth follows her advice to make the most of the officers’ company.
Even Mr. Bennet seems to agree. So, whilst Jane pines for Bingley, Elizabeth admits the attentions of one agreeable Lt. Wickham. What possible harm can it cause, especially when her parents are so pleased?
Interested? It’s available HERE.
And the book that started it all!
The Darcys’ First Christmas
Unexpected guests unsettle all her plans and offer her the perfect Christmastide gift, shattered confidence.
Can she and Darcy overcome their misunderstandings and salvage their first Christmastide together?
From the award winning author of Given Good Principles, Remember the Past and Mistaking Her Character, Sweet Tea short stories offer the perfect bite to transport readers back to the Regency era for the first days of new love.
Interested? It’s available HERE.