The holiday season is upon us, though here in Australia the seasons are reversed and it always feels strange to be singing about snow and winter when the temperatures outside are scorching! Born and raised in the UK, I still always associate Christmas with the long dark nights of winter, snow (sometimes), mulled wine, sitting by the fire watching Christmas movies and getting wrapped up in heavy coats, scarves and gloves to go carolling.
Every year in December, I find myself starting at least one Christmas romance. Thus far I’ve only written one JAFF romance set at Christmastime, though, and although I actually released it in May this year, it seems like a good time to talk about A Christmas Miracle At Longbourn.
(And yes, for those of you who have read it and asked. It’s the first of a planned trilogy.)
The idea for Christmas Miracle came about when I started thinking about the fact that Darcy and Colonel Fitzwilliam must, at some point before arriving at Rosings, have had a conversation about Wickham being with the Hertfordshire militia. While Darcy might not have spilled out his feelings for Elizabeth to his cousin, there’s no reason at all for him to keep information about Wickham’s whereabouts from his cousin. Fitzwilliam might even have gone to Hertfordshire to see for himself, and possibly have a word with Wickham’s commanding officer about his dangerous propensities (which is a whole other story now I think about it. Hm).
Anyway, the what-if which began A Christmas Miracle At Longbourn begins with that conversation occurring at Darcy’s London townhouse… and Georgiana, still hopelessly besotted with Wickham, overhearing it. Below you’ll find an excerpt from the first chapter.
“Give me that bottle,” Fitzwilliam demanded, and when Darcy pushed it over, he refilled both their glasses. “Now tell me everything about Wickham. Why in God’s name is he in the militia? The man is the biggest coward I have ever met; the concept of bravery is as foreign to him as are the Tsar of Russia’s Cossacks.”
“Not only that, but he has somehow obtained a commission in said militia and is mingling with the local society as an officer and a gentleman. Lieutenant Wickham, no less.”
“You jest!” Fitz stared at him in horror. “My God, is this why Bingley has been so long-faced lately?” He jumped to an erroneous conclusion. “Did Wickham try for his sister? Her dowry’s generous enough… No?”
Darcy was shaking his head. “Say what you will about Miss Bingley, Fitz, but she’s not foolish enough to fall for the honeyed words of a penniless rake. And that’s if Wickham had been able to overcome his personal cowardice enough to risk being in my close proximity, anyway, because Miss Bingley was doing her best to stick to me like glue.”
“You must have been absolutely miserable in Hertfordshire,” Fitz commiserated.
“There were moments when things weren’t so bad,” Darcy said unguardedly as a memory of dancing with Elizabeth crept into his mind. The way her eyes sparkled as she looked up at him, the way her dark curls lay against her blushing cheek, the arch of her brows as she made yet another impertinent remark… he jerked himself back to awareness as Fitzwilliam spoke again.
“All right, Darcy, I will forgive your distraction of late, and I will speak to Mother for you, though God knows what excuse I will have to make.”
“Thank you, Fitz,” Darcy said genuinely. “I do not think I would be very good company at the present time anyway.”
“Oh, I don’t know.” His cousin smiled broadly. “As long as you are pouring brandy this fine, I believe that I can tolerate you well enough.”
Darcy laughed, uncorking the bottle to fill Fitz’s glass again. “Yes, but you are easily pleased.”
“Never tell my men so!”
“Talking of your men, how goes the training of the new recruits?” Spying an opportunity to change the subject, Darcy seized upon it, and was grateful when his cousin accepted the new topic to converse upon.
Neither man heard the door that connected Darcy’s study to the library close very quietly, lost as they were in their conversation.
Georgiana Darcy stood very still for a long moment beside the closed door before creeping quietly away on slippered feet, tears drying on her pale cheeks. She needed to return to her rooms and find the letters Darcy had sent her from Hertfordshire; she had paid little attention to them on their arrival but now they contained crucial information she must discover.
The name of the town where she might find her beloved Wickham.
Georgiana makes the fateful decision to run away, and manages to get herself as far as Hatfield. Attempting to hire a post-chaise there to take her to Meryton, she brings herself to the attention of Mrs Bennet, Elizabeth and Mary, who are in the town shopping. In typical Mrs Bennet fashion, she railroads Georgiana into going to Meryton with them, and when Georgiana claims her engagement to Wickham, the Bennets quickly become aware something is very wrong. They elect to deliver her to Colonel Forster directly, at which house they are met by a frantic Darcy. Jumping to incorrect conclusions in his terror, he blames Elizabeth, erroneously assuming she is somehow aiding Wickham in his pursuit of Georgiana.
A tense situation is made much worse when Georgiana falls ill and Darcy has no option but to accept Mrs Bennet’s offered hospitality at Longbourn. Thrown together in close quarters, both Darcy and Elizabeth are forced to re-examine their assumptions about each other, and of course it isn’t long before Darcy’s hopeless attraction to Elizabeth surfaces again. With members of both families hoping for a happy outcome, the stage is set for A Christmas Miracle At Longbourn.
I’ve reduced the price of A Christmas Miracle At Longbourn to $2.99 until December 10th if you’d like to pick up a copy, or of course it’s always available to read in Kindle Unlimited. I hope you enjoy this Christmas-themed JAFF and I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read the book!
(Oh, and please don’t forget to leave a review on Amazon!)