Today’s post has been the most difficult one to write. I sat in front of my laptop for a very long time before I was able to start typing. There is so much to say, and yet, there are no words to convey the sentiments. The truth is that it is never easy to say goodbye.
I have recently taken on a job that requires much of my time and attention and between the new job, my family, and my writing projects, I barely have any time left. So, I am stepping down as one of the authors of Austen Authors. I have been delaying this decision for some months now, but I have finally accepted the fact that it is time.
I want to thank Sharon and Regina for welcoming and supporting me when I first joined Austen Authors. To have been welcomed among such great writers whose works I have enjoyed for many years, has been a privilege and a pleasure. I also want to send my love to everyone who has been reading and commenting on my posts. What an honour and pleasure it has been to be part of this amazing community and to be able to share ideas and opinions and to discuss Jane Austen’s novels and our most beloved characters. This has been a journey I will not forget and I will always treasure this valuable experience. Even though I will no longer be contributing posts, I will be very much part of the community and I will be reading posts by other authors on a regular basis.
I have been thinking about the excerpt I would share for this final post and I’ve decided to share an excerpt that has always made me smile and hopefully it will do the same for you. This is an excerpt from To Love and Cherish, where Lord Paisley and Miss Georgiana Darcy dance their first Waltz. I hope you will enjoy reading this piece as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Once again, I thank you all for your friendship and your sweet comments and constructive feedback throughout the years. Be well and stay safe everyone!
“Have you promised the next dance to anyone, Miss Darcy?”
“No, my lord.”
“Good,” he said, tucking her hand in his arm. “Dance with me.”
“Yes.” Lord Paisley smiled, walking toward the dance floor. “Now.”
“But this is the waltz, sir,” Georgiana said, as the musicians played the first tunes.
“So, it is.”
“But I have never danced the waltz, sir.”
“Have you not learned the steps, Miss Darcy?” Lord Paisley asked, feigning shock.
Georgiana rolled her eyes. “Of course, I have learned the steps.”
“I have never actually danced the waltz with a gentleman,” Georgiana whispered, blushing with embarrassment.
“Then I am honored to be your first.” He held out his hand.
Georgiana’s blush glowed as she placed her hand in his. She could feel the warmth of his gloved hand as his fingers wrapped around hers. But the sensation of his hand holding hers was nothing compared to the light-headedness she felt when his other hand rested on her back. She took in a deep breath as she placed her free hand on his shoulder. She was too timid to meet his eyes.
“Are you examining my cravat again, Miss Darcy?”
She looked up at him slowly. His face was so close to hers. She smiled weakly. The music began and he moved, leading her body into motion, commanding her every move. As they danced, her entire being was awake to his body. She now understood why this dance was so scandalous. She was in his embrace. The realization of it brought about sensations that were strangely familiar. She had felt it before on the day she had seen his shirtless torso by the river. She was so close to him now, to his muscular chest, in his strong arms. Georgiana felt breathless and lightheaded. She looked away from him, petrified that she might faint in front of him. Nay! That she might faint in his arms.
“Do not worry, my girl,” he said, as if reading her mind. “I will not let you fall.”
She looked up at him and the challenge in his eyes shook her from her embarrassment. “I am not prone to fainting, my lord,” Georgiana said with as much dignity as she could muster.
“I am very glad to hear that.” He smiled, his eyes mocking her mercilessly. “Or else I would have to do something quite shocking to prevent you from fainting.”
“And what would you do?”
“I would kiss you, Miss Darcy,” Lord Paisley said, a rakish smile gracing his lips.
His words had the desired effect. A gleam appeared in her sapphire blue eyes. Lord Paisley’s attention, however, was captured by her beautiful lips. He had to fight his urge from following through with his threat.
“You would never dare,” Georgiana said, her voice so low he could barely hear her.
“Oh, but I would.” Lord Paisley smiled as if enjoying a private joke. “And quite happily too, I assure you.”
“This conversation is most improper.”
“And there lies the provocation, Miss Darcy. It would hardly be effective if it were not improper. But as you can see, you are much recovered.”
“There was nothing the matter with me, my lord.”
“You were as white as the dead, my girl.”
Georgiana wanted to argue, but she simply could not.
“This is quite scandalous,” she said. “This dance…dancing with you twice in one evening, and one of them being a waltz will definitely set tongues wagging.”
“Why does that concern you?”
“People will say that I have set my cap at you,” Georgiana explained, exasperated by his calm demeanor.
“Well, have you…set your cap at me?”
“How can you ask me that question?”
“Seems to me to be a most reasonable question, Miss Darcy. Have you set your cap at me?”
“Of course not,” Georgiana replied defiantly.
“I do not think you could have thought about the repercussions of this dance, sir.”
“You are mistaken.”
“You must know that your attentions to me will be greatly talked of,” Georgiana said with great difficulty. “And will most certainly reach beyond those present at the ball.”
“I am sure you are right. But you see, I do not care a button for what others may say or think about my attentions to you. Yours, and yours alone, is the only opinion I value.”
Georgiana looked up at him, her eyes a myriad of emotions, uncertainties and questions.
“But I thought,” she whispered. “I understood…that is… Lady Sophia said—”
“You were informed that my affections are engaged elsewhere?” Lord Paisley asked with a sudden edge to his voice. “You thought I was merely amusing myself with you while pining for another lady?”
Georgiana was too emotional to reply. But her eyes confirmed his words.
“That is utter nonsense!” Lord Paisley said, no longer smiling. “Lady Sophia knows nothing of my affections, and if you believe there is any truth in her words, then I am extremely disappointed in your judgment.”
“How was I—”
“Now, you listen to me, my girl. I have been on the road for over a fortnight so I might attend this evening with you. Does that not say more about my sentiments than the unfounded chatter of a jealous woman?”
The familiar tremors of hope emerged from the depths of her being, grew stronger and pounded against her chest. The look in her eyes changed as outrage gave way to shock, then to disbelief, and finally to vulnerability.
“This is where I want to be,” Lord Paisley murmured. “Yours is the only company I have desired for some time.”
His tone was so different from the usual careless tone he used with others. Gentle. Yet, it held conviction, promise, and such intimacy. His gray eyes were clear, commanding her to believe him. She did. She believed him completely. He was there for her. Hers was the company he desired.
Her smile was all the reply he had hoped for and he was not disappointed. They danced the remainder of the waltz in wordless conversation, their eyes never leaving each other’s, no longer aware or concerned with what others thought or said about them. No one else mattered anymore.