I am coming up on a finished draft for The Secrets of Pemberley and will be sending it to the editor shortly. It releases on March 29th, and I’ve enjoyed sharing excerpts with you all! If you recall, there has been one where Darcy has a nightmare Elizabeth is his wife but never loved him, another which introduces the question of his paternity, and one which shows Elizabeth has refused his hand and Anne gives him a needed lesson. Today, it’s Georgiana’s turn to impart wisdom to her older brother.
As previously established, Darcy and Georgiana are the product of affairs their mother had. At this point in the story, it is unknown if they share a father but Darcy suspects they do not. Given these circumstances, Georgiana was sent to school at a very young age and Darcy hardly knew her during their “father’s” life. Afterward, the gap seemed so large and he assumed remaining at school would be best for her. Even after she nearly eloped with Wickham, Darcy gave her a separate residence (establishment) in Town. They are not the close siblings most JAFFs portray.
“Fitzwilliam, I did not expect you,” Georgiana said as she invited him to sit in the modest drawing room.
Darcy looked at his sister, seeing more than a hint at the woman who bore them. He ought to have done this years ago.
“I returned from Rosings yesterday. Lady Catherine and Anne are well.”
Georgiana tensed. “Did they ask after me… do they suspect?”
If he answered as callously as he felt, it would be, Of course, no one suspects you planned to elope with the steward’s son! Ladies of Society rarely do so. However, even before Elizabeth’s chastisement, Georgiana was one person with whom he could be nothing but gentle. “Nothing is known, and there is no reason for alarm or worry.”
Sighing, Georgiana sagged in relief against her chair. “Then why do you visit?”
“I am your brother.” Did family usually need reasons for visiting? In the Darcy family that had been the case.
“Yes, I know. My brother and my guardian, in charge of everything about me until I marry.”
Darcy shook his head. “I do not wish for our relationship to be as cold as you say. I would not wish to encroach on your freedoms.”
“I am told you give me more freedoms than most brothers in addition to your unending kindness and forgiveness.”
Georgiana stood and walked to a window. Some might assume it an inherent Darcy trait yet it must have been Lady Anne who did so when troubled. Darcy had no reason to believe they shared a paternal blood line.
“Georgiana, I wish for your happiness.” Darcy walked to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. “Is it too late to ask you to confide in me?”
“Should I?” She asked, sounding like a fragile child.
“I wish to be your friend and confidant.”
“Is that not unusual and improper? I should conceal my feelings—”
“No, you should not,” Darcy said adamantly. “I have recently learned the very high cost of hiding one’s emotions.”
“In that case,” Georgiana whirled around and threw herself into his arms, sobbing on his chest. “I am so very tired of being alone.”
Slowly, Darcy’s arms tightened around her. Since George Darcy’s death, he had often felt over-extended and like he held too much responsibility. Too many people relied upon him. However, Georgiana never felt like a mere responsibility and never should.
I love her, Darcy realised suddenly. Having not grown up together and then merely being her guardian, he had not considered that sentiment. He had loved his mother yet when he knew the truth of what she did, he also hated her. He respected George Darcy but having so little affection from the man, he could not say it was real love. Darcy’s feelings to accept and protect Georgiana were love of the most profound sort. Family.
“You are not alone,” he said as he rubbed her back. “Would you like to return to Darcy House? To live there?”
Georgiana stilled and pulled back her head. Her blue eyes looked more vibrant against the red rims, but the sorrow in them struck him to his core. “Could I? You would not resent the weakness?”
Darcy hugged her closer. “You are my sister, and we are family. I wish I had understood all of what that meant earlier, but I think I begin to understand.” Loosening his hold, he offered his handkerchief. “It is what I had come to propose.”
“Yes. I no longer care about Society’s suggestions on how to raise you. You need family, and you need love. That you shall have.”
“Thank you so much, Fitzwilliam,” she stretched on tip toe to kiss his cheek. “I will begin packing right away.”
Georgiana scampered off, leaving Darcy alone in his thoughts. Jane’s pain had become Elizabeth’s because she loved her. Indeed, insulting her family hurt Elizabeth because of her love for them. What a dunderhead he had been! What a lesson he was learning about love, acceptance, and family. How had he lived nearly eight and twenty years without knowing it?
To the world, Fitzwilliam Darcy has it all. He’s the young master to one of the kingdom’s oldest and wealthiest Norman families. Through his mother, he is related to a powerful line of earls. Beneath the perfect façade lies the truth: he’s the product of his mother’s affair and the heir George Darcy never wanted.
At twenty-eight, Darcy has fought hard to put to rest the pains of the past and earn his place in Society. But can he resist the allure of ending his loneliness with the unsuitable woman who has tugged at his heartstrings? Will he tell her his secret and if he does, will she keep it? Or will someone else from the past destroy everything Darcy has worked for?
Prepare for another page-gripping read from Rose Fairbanks as she unfolds a Darcy and Elizabeth story unlike you have ever read before. For the first time ever, Ms. Fairbanks is offering a new novel release in Kindle Unlimited. Pre-order today!