I have exciting news. I have a new release coming soon. It’s titled After Last Night with Mr. Darcy. It’s a story of what happens after A Night with Mr. Darcy to Remember. Three years, one month, and so many days after the latter’s release date, its follow up-will be available. For everyone who read and enjoyed A Night with Mr. Darcy to Remember and longed to know what’s next, I sincerely hope After Last Night with Mr. Darcy will prove worth the wait.
Let’s rewind a bit to discuss the first story. The success of this little novelette about two strangers in the night exceeded my expectations and continues to delight me to this day. In terms of the number of copies sold, it ranks among my highest volume sellers. A story that despite its length was years in the making. Countless book projects continued to take precedence, but A Night with Mr. Darcy to Remember was always on my mind. It’s definitely not a story for everyone. It was never meant to be. It was a story for me (yes, I have a lot of those) that I thought I would take a chance and share just in case someone else might enjoy it too.
Not only did so many others enjoy the story, I’ve received lots of emails with comments, inquiries, and reminders over the years to tell the rest of the story. At last, the wait is over. I love the new story, and if it is half as well received as A Night with Mr. Darcy to Remember, I will have no cause to repine.
Of course, I wrote the second story in the same spirit as the first, except it’s longer—much longer. And it’s not all about ODC doing what ardent lovers are wont to do. Several of our favorite (or maybe not so favorite) P&P characters have their parts to play.
Here are a few snippets (subject to final edits) from the story, featuring Caroline Bingley (Elizabeth’s would-be competition), Mr. William Collins (Elizabeth’s betrothed), and Miss Charlotte Lucas (Elizabeth’s intimate friend). Enjoy!
What’s Up with Mr. Darcy & Miss Bingley
(Chapter 1 Excerpt)
She had promised herself that her night with Mr. Darcy was a one-time occurrence, at best, and certainly not something she was likely to repeat anytime soon, at most. Elizabeth had resolved to marry Mr. William Collins, her duplicitous cousin and heir to her late father’s estate, to save her family from losing Longbourn. She had no time for distractions.
Turning her attention to her brother-in-law, Charles Bingley, Elizabeth asked, “How is my sister this morning?”
“Quite well, Elizabeth. She is looking well and feeling well, too. She is happy as can be, as you can very well imagine the reason.”
Elizabeth smiled knowingly, for Bingley was no doubt referring to his wife’s being with child—the joyful news which Jane had shared with Elizabeth the day before and unknowingly set the stage for Elizabeth’s current predicament.
“I am happy to hear that,” said Elizabeth. “I look forward to seeing her before returning to Longbourn.”
“I know it will delight her to see you,” said Charles. “Pray, let me know when you plan to take your leave, and I shall call for a carriage.”
“Thank you, Charles. However, that is entirely unnecessary. I much prefer to walk. After last night, I am in desperate want of the exertion.” Despite her nocturnal activities, Elizabeth was bursting with energy, or maybe she was so energized because of it. All she knew was she was in no hurry to relinquish her memories from last night to the unpleasant reality of what awaited her at Longbourn – an excitable mother, three silly younger sisters, and her ridiculous intended.
“Yes, of course,” said Charles, nodding his head.
Elizabeth dabbed her mouth with her napkin, placed it aside, and stood to take her leave.
She had taken but a few paces before Mr. Darcy cleared his throat, setting his cup aside. “Pardon me as well, Charles. I have matters to attend with my man, Waters, which will not wait.”
“Of course,” replied Charles.
Miss Bingley stood just as Mr. Darcy did. She raced to him and tried blocking his path.
“Mr. Darcy,” she said, interlacing her arm with his. “It is so long since I last saw you. We have not seen each other in months. I am hoping we might spend the morning getting reacquainted—just the two of us.”
Elizabeth’s gaze widened. She could not believe Miss Bingley’s audacity.
“Miss Bingley!” said Mr. Darcy looking at the young lady most peculiarly, as though thoroughly displeased with what she had said. He snatched his arm away from her touch as if he had felt a sharp sting shoot up it from her hand to his elbow and wanted to get rid of the sensation as quickly as possible. He turned on his heels and strode out of the room, right past Elizabeth standing near the doorway, staring after him, utterly shocked at the scene that had just played out in front of her eyes.
Miss Bingley called out, “Oh, Mr. Darcy! I just remembered that I have something of immense importance to discuss with you. Let us take a turn around the garden so we may talk.”
Mr. Darcy did not slow his pace. He kept walking.
“Mr. Darcy! Wait for me!” Miss Bingley called out even louder.
“Caroline, please,” came Charles’s voice.
“Oh, very well,” said Miss Bingley, resigning herself.
Elizabeth could have sworn that there was something akin to pain in the woman’s voice.
Elizabeth was not sure she liked what she had witnessed. She was certain that what transpired was not at all proper. Would not the right thing for a gentleman to have done be to attend to the lady, however inconvenient it might prove?
Not that she wanted to be drawn into whatever theatrical performance was unfolding between Mr. Darcy and the other woman. Even so, being the curious creature she was, Elizabeth could not help but wonder.
Guess Who’s Coming to Netherfield
(Chapter 3 Excerpt)
“If I might have the pleasure of more of your time, my dear, I have other news to impart. I am sure you will never guess what it is.”
Elizabeth grew weary. “I am certain I will never guess. Perhaps you will end my suspense by simply telling me.”
Mr. Collins started bouncing on the balls of his feet like a schoolboy and smiling. “The Right Honorable Lady Catherine de Bourgh and indeed the most benevolent person whom I have ever had the pleasure of knowing also informed me that her esteemed relation, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley and Derbyshire, is to be a guest of Mr. Bingley and our own Mrs. Bingley. What a great honor this is for our family. He will be staying in Hertfordshire a month.”
“Mr. Darcy?” Elizabeth cried and immediately prayed that her manner of crying out the name of the gentleman whose very essence embraced every inch of her body from her head to her toe and everywhere in between.
Mr. Collins nodded. “Indeed, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Do you know Lady Catherine’s dearest relative?”
Elizabeth did not know what to say. Would confessing she knew Mr. Darcy not require some explanation of how she knew the gentleman? All the particulars of their introduction and under what circumstance? Speaking falsehoods was not something Elizabeth was in the habit of doing. Even though future circumstances might compel her to do so repeatedly, she did not mean to start at that very moment.
Denying she knew the man whose bed she had left mere hours earlier was something she would not do either. She could not. Instead, she nodded.
“How is that possible?” Mr. Collins scratched his head. “Lady Catherine said Mr. Darcy would not be arriving before Wednesday.”
“I had the pleasure of speaking with him this morning at Netherfield. You will recall I had no choice but to spend the night at Jane’s last evening so that I might avoid being caught outside during a rainstorm?”
His countenance reflected his lingering confusion over Lady Catherine’s intelligence. “Indeed, although I am certain the Bingleys would have made a carriage available to you had you insisted.”
“The last thing I wanted to do was inconvenience my sister and brother. So, no—I believe staying at Netherfield was the best thing I could do for everyone concerned.”
Elizabeth did not mean to make herself unhappy about what she had done. On the contrary, spending the night in Mr. Darcy’s bed was a memory she would cherish for the rest of her life. Still, Mr. Collins’s speech gave her something to think of.
A month, she silently considered. Mr. Darcy will be here in Hertfordshire for a month. Elizabeth did not know whether that was a bad thing or a good thing. She leaned heavily toward the latter.
“How fortunate you are to have enjoyed such a pleasure. Come, Elizabeth. You must tell me everything there is to know regarding your meeting Mr. Darcy.” He brushed by Elizabeth, intending to sit on the sofa, and then paused. “On second thought, I feel it is incumbent upon me to go to Netherfield Park straight away.”
Suspicion & Sensibility
(Chapter 9 Excerpt)
Elizabeth’s friend’s return was a mixed blessing, for Charlotte was shrewd. If she and Elizabeth had been in company all those past weeks, Charlotte would have known Elizabeth was harboring a secret. Even if Jane suspected something, she would not speak of her suspicions to anyone, including Elizabeth. Elizabeth could not say the same about Charlotte, who was the pragmatist among them.
“You seem more content than I’ve ever seen you.” Charlotte set her teacup back on the saucer, glancing over uncertainly as she did so.
“Whatever do you mean?” Elizabeth asked.
“It is difficult for me to say. The last time we were together, you seemed less spirited—I would say, even downhearted. But look at you now.”
As if she was not feeling heated enough, the sun’s rays seeped through the gaps in the drapes and slanted across Elizabeth’s face. Elizabeth placed her hand on her cheek. She hoped she did not look as discomforted as she felt.
“I have been exerting myself with greater alacrity of late,” she started, “taking longer walks every day and what not.”
“That must be what it is.” Charlotte eyed her friend with concern and a touch of humor. “But then again, you have always been an excellent walker which makes me wonder if there is another explanation for your revived spirits.”
You have to love Charlotte, right? But what about Caroline or poor Mr. Collins? Comment below for your share of the conversation.
Enjoyed the excerpts & looking forward to more?
After Last Night with Mr. Darcy is available for pre-order on Apple and Barnes & Noble.
The target release date is January 15th and will be available worldwide where eBooks are sold.
In keeping with the release of After Last Night with Mr. Darcy, what better time for a new cover for A Night with Mr. Darcy to Remember. So, without further ado:
What’s a new release without a giveaway?
A $5 Amazon gift card is up for grabs. Comment for a chance to win.
One winner will be selected. If the winner is unable to redeem gift cards on Amazon.com, a complimentary stand-alone eBook from my backlist will be awarded instead—the winner’s choice.
The giveaway contest ends on Tuesday, January 11th.