It’s a little hard to believe it has finally come. So much real life has happened in the course of getting this one ready to publish it is a little difficult to believe it’s finally done!
Remember the Past is available on Amazon Kindle, Nook and KOBO today. Paperback will be coming shortly and I will be putting it up for narrator auditions on Audible in the next day or so. o an audio book may be available in the fall.
Here’s a little excerpt to whet your appetite.
Remember the Past
Everyone has a past. Oftentimes it behooves one to think of the past only as its remembrance gives one pleasure.
“I do not see how you can disagree. Truly, I do not.” Lady Catherine’s features settled into the familiar expression of a school mistress who knew best: lips pressed tight, eyes narrowed and staring down her nose. She perched on the overstuffed chair and folded her hands in her lap.
Fitzwilliam Darcy opened his mouth to comment but shut it before the words escaped. When his mother-in-law wore that expression, only a fool considered arguing. The dear woman possessed the Fitzwilliams’ hallmark stubbornness in far greater measure than her petite stature implied.
“If my Anne were still with us, she would agree—”
“With what would she agree?” Richard Fitzwilliam poked his head in the doorway.
Darcy jumped and twisted around in his seat. “I swear you will drive me barking mad!”
“How so?” Fitzwilliam sauntered in. His heavy boots barely whispered against the carpet.
“Sneaking up on me! One day I will—” Darcy rose and shook a pointing finger.
“Balderdash! You would do no such thing, and even if you did, you would stand no chance—”
“Yes, yes, I know, against a retired colonel of His Majesty’s army. I know. You say it often enough.”
Fitzwilliam chuckled and dropped onto the settee. His long legs stretched into the center of the room, perfectly situated to trip the unsuspecting. “You are merely unhappy George and David have learned from their uncle, the hero. What have they done this time?”
“Ask the butler who is cleaning the ink spilled on my desk, and coat, and breeches.”
Lady Catherine leaned forward. “Really, Fitzwilliam, retired colonel or not, I am not sure you should be teaching my grandsons—”
“They are boys, madam, and if I have anything to say on the matter, they will be permitted to act like boys.”
“Your dear mother, Lady Matlock, never allowed—”
“No, she did not, and I vowed never to see the same inflicted upon any boy in my influence. In fact, it is high time I taught them to fence.” Fitzwilliam brandished an invisible foil.
“They are full young for that.” She groaned and pinched her temples.
Fitzwilliam grinned his maddening cocksure smile. “So then, Aunt, on what do you insist Anne would agree with you?”
Darcy grumbled and sank into his chair.
She smoothed her skirt over her lap. “I am sure you will agree. It only stands to reason that—”
“No, madam, it does not.” Darcy pressed his eyes with thumb and forefinger.
“What stands to reason?” Fitzwilliam asked.
“A widower in possession of children and an estate—”
“And a good fortune,” Darcy muttered.
“Naturally, a good fortune, that goes without saying.”
“What about such a gentleman?” Fitzwilliam enjoyed this far too much.
“Why, he must be in want of a wife, of course.” She sprang to her feet and wandered across the room, stopping in front of the large picture window. “A retired admiral of the White, Thomas Bennet, a widower with four children, two daughters and two sons—”
“And five thousand a year.” Darcy rolled his eyes.
Lady Catherine shot him a look certain to sour milk. “He purchased Alston Hall and will move in this week.”
“Ah, that explains the to-do on the road today,” Fitzwilliam said.
“You saw him?” Lady Catherine brightened.
“Indeed, spoke with him myself. Seems a most amiable gentleman, for a sailor.” Fitzwilliam winked. “Though I understand you do not approve of the navy, Darce, something about it bringing people of obscure birth into positions they do not deserve.”
Darcy drummed his fingers along his jaw. Fitzwilliam never forgot any comment he could later use out of context.
“What a fine thing for our family.” She clapped her hands. “You must visit him, of course, as soon as may be arranged.”
“How is this a fine thing for our family?”
“You must consider the boys and Georgiana. Your sister pines for the company of other young women, and you yourself complain the parish lacks fitting companions for her. Here this Bennet fellow has two daughters. Your boys desperately need playmates of their own age to do … well, boy-things with, and now two are come into the neighborhood.”
“And precisely how, madam,” Darcy clutched the arms of his chair until the fabric threatened to give way, “have you ascertained any of this family are fitting company? For all you know, this admiral could be a shopkeeper’s son with tawdry morals and a mouth like … like a sailor.”
“What has come over you? You are simply impossible! Go and visit our new neighbor, or I promise you, I will do so myself without you.” She harrumphed and stomped out.
Silence lingered in her wake as they both watched the door. Darcy held his breath, a little trepidatious of her return.
“She was right about one thing,” Fitzwilliam said. “What has come over you?”
Darcy let his head fall back against the chair. “I already met the man.”
“Shortly after you encountered him. George and I went riding and came upon one of their coaches stuck in the mud. We helped them free it and suggested an alternative road.”
“And I found him an amiable gentleman with well-mannered sons who will make excellent playmates for George and David.”
“So, why the row you created—” Fitzwilliam pointed his chin toward the doorway.
“He still grieves an esteemed wife, lost only last winter, and does not deserve match-making machinations.”
“And his daughters? Are they pretty? What of their dowries?”
“They remained in the carriage.” Darcy rubbed the back of his neck. “I do not believe, ‘Hello, pleased to meet you. Are your daughters suitably attractive, or do their fortunes offer sufficient compensation for their facial deformities?’ is considered a polite introduction, even in the wilds of Derbyshire.”
“You will be able to judge for yourself soon enough.”
“You are going to visit them?”
“No.” Darcy pushed to his feet and laced his hands behind his head. “Alston Hall will require a full staff working two weeks complete, probably more, to make the place livable. They brought only a half dozen long-time servants with them.”
“So, I invited them to stay at Pemberley. Mrs. Reynolds can help them hire a proper staff.”
“You did what?” Fitzwilliam slapped the settee.
“They did not immediately accept the invitation. However, after they visit Alston Hall, I am certain they will.”
“Do I comprehend you correctly? You invited them to stay? Here? A stranger—and a sailor no less? What are you thinking? You are no lover of company, particularly that of strangers.”
“We have both read of his exploits often enough. His connections and his reputation are common knowledge. To call him a stranger is hardly fitting. I regard it an honor to host a man of his standing.” Darcy looked away and shrugged. “Besides, he reminded me of Father.”
Fitzwilliam slapped Darcy’s shoulder harder than necessary. “I’ll be damned. I shall not tell Aunt Catherine, though. She likes surprises.”
Want to read a little more? Find another excerpt here.