Elizabeth’s Choice revisited and Giveaway!

Elizabeth’s Choice revisited and Giveaway!

When I first thought of doing a sequel to Darcy Chooses, I knew there would be a lot of research to be done. I wanted them to honeymoon in Ireland, but I knew very little about the Emerald Isle. I also needed to figure out how to have them travel more quickly than normal as I didn’t want them spending most of their time traveling place to place. What I discovered were Baltimore clipper ships that were the forerunners of the clipper ships that would become more well known in the 1840’s. However, these ships were first built in the early 1770’s and used in the War of 1812 as well.

I found them fascinating little ships and featured travel on them in several scenes where Darcy and Elizabeth had some interesting sightings as they headed toward Dublin and later on to Cork.

For today’s post, I thought my readers might enjoy some insight into our dear couple’s trip home from Cork and have included the following excerpt.

 

 

Chapter XXII

By Monday morning, all had been cared for. They had found two first editions: one for Pemberley’s library and one for Mr. Bennet. The ship was ready and everyone and every necessary item was on board at the crack of dawn. For the moment, the weather was calm and pointed toward a good trip and, it was hoped, a safe trip also.

As they weighed anchor, Elizabeth stood at the rail in awe of all the ships that had appeared after their initial arrival. Not only were there many more ships, she was amazed at some of the war ships, their sizes and their armaments. And it made her a little sad also to realize mankind still wouldn’t work for peace. How she yearned for wars to cease but determined it was probably just a pipe dream. She was grateful William was not nor ever had served in the military, but she knew he worried about Richard. His cousin had recuperated from his wound and should always be in a position to train young pups in the ways of war rather than being on the battlefield, but that was not a surety. If necessary, he could still be sent to the battlefield if his rank was high enough, not to fight but to oversee and give orders to those who would be fighting. But it would be no guarantee for his safety as officers were often targeted even though at a distance from the fighting. William had been trying for two years to get Richard to retire and take up ownership of a small estate her husband was holding for him. It wouldn’t make Richard rich but with 2,000 pounds per year, he would live comfortably and could consider marrying for love rather than money.

“What are you thinking of, Elizabeth?”

“Richard and hoping his prospects will continue to keep him near London and not the Continent.”

“I hope the same.”

***

That day there was relatively little to see but water. Seabirds had been near the Port of Cork scavenging for scraps, but few were visible once they drew away from the port and headed to Waterford for the night. Since there was little of interest, Elizabeth and William stayed in the Captain’s cabin and read some of the new books they had purchased for pleasure.

Arriving at Waterford, they had an early dinner and retired for the evening as they wished to get a restful night’s sleep as the last leg of their trip would take a little bit longer than their trip from Dublin to Cork. This would be because they would be sailing around Holy Head Island—a portion of Wales that jutted out southwest of Liverpool—before they would be changing direction and then heading east to eventually dock at the port.

The Darcys woke up eager to set sail. By the end of the day, they would be just that much closer to home. Both looked forward to seeing Pemberley again.

“Home. It has such a lovely ring to it.”

“I agree, love. Georgiana will be delighted to see us again and hearing about Ireland. Richard might even have leave and be waiting for us as well although we have been gone a little less than four weeks.”

“It will be good to see them both. I have missed them. Our cousin’s sense of humor always makes me smile.”

“I too until I am the object of his humor.”

Elizabeth giggled at her husband’s huff. She was well aware Richard poked and prodded at William to prevent him from being such a stodgy, hidebound gentleman and to get him to smile more. And Richard’s ways usually worked, and he would have him laughing in a short while. William has so many responsibilities. If he would only smile and enjoy life more, I feel he would be able to bear them better.

Her husband looked questioningly at her wondering why she suddenly seemed more serious, but Elizabeth gave him a brilliant smile that took his breath away and let him know all was well.

***

It was only a couple of hours into the ten to twelve hours to Liverpool that clouds began to form. Captain Lowery and Darcy wondered if they would cause problems before the day was over. Most of them seemed to be forming north of them where they would expect to see Holy Head Island, which they had to pass by in about five more hours.

“Mr. Darcy, I don’t know if this means trouble or not. They seem to be forming slowly, and they may be just gathering moisture to drop during the night or on the morrow. If it’s building up to a storm though, we could be in trouble if we’re caught in the open water. We can keep an eye on it and head to shore and drop anchor if it looks too dangerous or we can continue on. If we need to, we can stop at any one of numerous fishing villages all along the coast and wait until the morrow.”

“Does it look dangerous right now?”

“No, but it can change in a heartbeat. If it does get bad, my men and I are prepared for it. But I worry about Mrs. Darcy. If it is a storm, the winds can get mighty high and dangerous. The men will even have problems staying on their feet.”

“What could I do to protect my wife?”

“There is rope in the closet of my cabin. You can tie the both of you, one on either side of the pole in the middle of the cabin. Tie it with the knot I showed you that holds tight but can be released quickly when you pull the end. You and Mrs. Darcy would need to hug the pole tightly and not let the motion of the ship snap your heads into the pole. Do you understand?”

“Yes, I’m going to get the rope out and be prepared. Will we have any warning if the winds increase?”

“Generally, yes. However, if it is a squall, the winds can increase rapidly and are extremely dangerous. If need be, I will send you below if I think you and the missus should tie yourselves to the post. And, Darcy, you will need to do so immediately when I tell you.”

“Yes, Captain Lowery.” Darcy had no intention of questioning the captain if their lives were in jeopardy. He would do whatever was necessary to protect Elizabeth.

For the next few hours, they watched as the clouds slowly built up in the north. As they got closer, they could see the layers of clouds had grown somewhat thicker near or over Holy Head Island but still didn’t seem to be a major threat. Darcy relayed Lowery’s instructions about being tied to the pole to prevent them from being thrown about if the sea got rough.

“Does he think it will happen?”

“He said it is possible as the storms can come up quite suddenly. Pride of Pemberley is a strong ship, but she might find it difficult if the winds are extremely high.”

“And you know how to tie the knot he mentioned?”

“Yes, though I have forgotten what it is called.”

“No matter. When we see him next, I will ask him,” she said, raising one eyebrow.

William just chuckled and shook his head. That is my Elizabeth.

A short while later as the Darcys read in Lowery’s cabin, they heard a loud ‘bloody hell’ and a cry of, “Squall line. Man the sails.”

A split second later, a hard wind slammed into the ship and threw William and Elizabeth to the deck.

Darcy crawled across the floor of the cabin, unable to take a breath but frantic about his wife. When he could finally breathe, he called out, “Elizabeth.”

“Yes, I am well,” came the weak response.

“Are you hurt?”

“Yes, but not seriously. Knocked the breath out of me.”

“We need to reach the pole.”

For the next few minutes, it took all the strength the two of them had to crawl over to and grasp the pole with both hands as the ship was tossed. Standing took even more effort, and the ship pitched due to the large waves created by the surging winds.

Darcy nearly had them tied to the post when the ship dropped out from under them, and Darcy’s head hit the pole and started bleeding. Elizabeth had her own injury from biting her lip.

“Hold onto the pole, Lizzy.”

Elizabeth had to laugh as her husband never called her Lizzy, but Darcy had said it deliberately, despite preferring Elizabeth, in order to divert her from his bleeding forehead. He cautiously reached for his handkerchief and quickly dabbed at the blood flow until it stopped.

All this time, the ship was tossed up and down then to and fro as the winds kept slamming into her, and the waves would drop out from under her. They could hear the sailors on deck as orders were shouted and the men did what they could to stabilize the ship and keep her from being torn apart.

A loud ripping sound sent a spear of dread to Darcy’s heart. One of the sails had surely been damaged.

“Hold tight, Elizabeth.”

“Yes, my love.”

As he heard the words, he felt his heart swell. He knew Elizabeth loved him, but this was the first time she had used that particular expression. He kept his arms wrapped around her and the pole and kept her body pressed up against it.

Elizabeth screamed when without warning, the ship tilted sideways and seemed as if it would completely turn over. Darcy knew the rail on the lee side had to have gone completely underwater, and he was grateful when the ship righted itself. But he worried at the amount of water flowing into the cabin under the door. Please don’t let the ship wreck and any of us drown.

For the next hour, they gripped the pole and the ship bucked on the waves until they felt it couldn’t take any more. When he heard a large crack, Darcy tensed. Without a doubt they had lost at least part of a mast. He could only hope it didn’t land on the deck and kill anyone. The whole time the Darcys had been praying all would get through the storm in one piece. The ship could be repaired. Lost lives could not.

The ship vibrated as the piece of mast landed on the deck with a deafening thud. Tears were rolling down Elizabeth’s cheeks as she worried about the men topside. They had been so kind to her and William, and she didn’t want to see any of them harmed. Please God, let everyone be well.

 Please comment below for an entry to the Giveaway. The Giveaway of three copies of Elizabeth’s Choice will close at 5 P.M. EST on Friday, January 21, 2022. The winners will be announced on Sunday, January 23. The giveaway is open worldwide. Winners in the United States will receive Kindle books, and winners abroad will receive secured PDF copies.

And for those who are not winners but would like a copy at a lower price, the book will be available at $2.99 through the end of January. Reviews are very much appreciated.  ENJOY!

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22 COMMENTS
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Rachel B.
Rachel B.
January 20, 2022 12:51 PM

This looks like a wonderful book. Would love to read it!

Robin G.
Robin G.
January 19, 2022 12:53 PM

Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway. I didn’t realize there was a sequel to the Darcy Chooses series.

DarcyBennett
DarcyBennett
January 18, 2022 4:38 PM

Great excerpt. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

Michelle David
Michelle David
January 18, 2022 9:39 AM

Oh how terrifying for our lovebirds and the poor crew.

Jean Stillman
Jean Stillman
January 18, 2022 6:43 AM

Wonderful excerpt! It sounds like it will be an exciting read! Thank you for the opportunity!

Buturot
Buturot
January 17, 2022 11:56 PM

Thank you for the excerpt. This is quite a scary scene, I sympathize with Lizzy ( and all the sailors)

Laura
Laura
January 17, 2022 9:52 PM

Well now I am ready to read that whole book! It sounds like a wonderful story. Thank you for having a giveaway!

JanisB
JanisB
January 17, 2022 4:47 PM

As I recall you posted some wonderful photos of your Ireland researches. I thoroughly enjoyed both the photos and the story. Clipper ships also transported tea! Nice nostalgic trip, Gianna.

Linda A.
Linda A.
January 17, 2022 12:10 PM

Oh, you made me nauseous just reading about it. Glad ODC are good sailors and don’t get seasick! Thank you for sharing.

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
January 17, 2022 10:42 AM

Ah, man… cliffhanger!!! Wow! That was amazing. OMG! I need to read this. That was so gripping… well done. Thanks for sharing and thanks for the generous giveaway. Good luck to all in the drawing. Blessings on all your hard work.

Kim Vizzini
Kim Vizzini
January 17, 2022 9:05 AM

Can’t wait to read this!!

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