Its Release Day for A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity! (OK well, sort of. It came out early on Monday but still…) I have a little excerpt for you below as well as a chance to win a copy if you comment! Thanks for joining the party and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day
Is not the very meaning of love that it surpasses every objection against it?
Jilted. Never did Mr. Darcy imagine it could happen to him.
But it has, and by Elizabeth Bennet, the woman who first hated and rejected him but then came to love him—he believed—and agree to be his wife. Alas, it is a short-lived, ill-fated romance that ends nearly as soon as it has begun. No reason is given.
More than a year since he last saw her—a year of anger, confusion, and despair—he receives an invitation from the Bingleys to a house party at Netherfield. Darcy is first tempted to refuse, but with the understanding that Elizabeth will not attend, he decides to accept.
When a letter arrives, confirming Elizabeth’s intention to join them, Darcy resolves to meet her with indifference. He is determined that he will not demand answers to the questions that plague him. Elizabeth is also resolved to remain silent and hold fast to the secret behind her refusal. Once they are together, however, it proves difficult to deny the intense passion that still exists. Fury, grief, and profound love prove to be a combustible mixture. But will the secrets between them be their undoing?
“I am pleased you called, Mr. Darcy. I feared I should have little chance to speak to you privately tonight, and there is something I have wished to tell you.”
“Pray, what is it?”
“Why, I…” She looked away just a moment and inhaled, perhaps gathering some courage. “I have misjudged you rather severely. I wish to offer my apology as well as my gratitude that you are so kindly willing to overlook my foolishness and begin our acquaintance anew.”
“You need not apologise. Your reproofs were warranted. I cannot deny it. As for the situation of myself and George Wickham, I had every opportunity to tell you what had gone between us.”
“You did not owe me that,” she assured him. “It was your dear sister’s reputation, after all. I cannot blame you for your silence, and I was not correct to judge your actions however I saw fit.”
“My behaviour had given you every reason to believe his lies,” he insisted softly.
“Until your letter, perhaps, though your behaviour now attests to my error. I believe you must be among the best men I have ever known.”
She blushed very deeply, and it thrilled him.
Hastily, she added, “Forgive me; I am too bold.”
He halted and turned to face her. Gathering her hands in his, he pulled them against his chest. She would not look at him but turned her reddened face to the side, her countenance obscured by her bonnet.
It might have been rather precipitous, but his declaration came from his lips before he could even think of it, and his voice emerged resolute and sure as if this had been his plan all along.
“I love you. I have loved you these months, and I have no one to thank but you for the improvement in my character. You showed me how to be the better man that you deserve, and although I know I am yet undeserving, I shall beseech you to accept me.”
Faintly, she said, “Accept you?”
“My feelings and wishes have not changed from what they were in April. I love you, I do, as ardently as ever before—nay, more so. Please relieve my suffering and be my wife.”
A tear fell from nowhere, landing on his glove and making a dark blotch. He could see how her breathing had quickened, but she would not speak, nay, could not even look at him. A moment of dread filled him until she gasped and began to nod vigorously, finally looking at him, finally managing to say, “Yes. Yes. Yes, Mr. Darcy, yes.”
He knew not what happened after that except it was nothing short of divine. He had never before felt such exquisite felicity, walking through Lambton with her, aimless and foolish and happy. There was nothing in Lambton that day but Elizabeth and him and love, filling the roads with their joy. He smiled at every living soul whom he encountered, man and beast alike, and cared not about those who stared at him as if they had never seen him before.
They walked to where the river ran through the town. Standing on the bridge and gazing down at the water running below, he asked, “Did my letter make you think differently of me?”
She turned and looked up at him in a way he would never forget—not in a century, not ever. In a voice almost inaudible, she said, “I know not when it began, Mr. Darcy, for I was in the middle before I knew I had begun, but nevertheless, I know my heart now, and it is for you.”
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment below! I will draw a winner one week from today!
A Short Period of Exquisite Felicity is available by ebook via amazon. Paperback books will be released in the next week or so.