Imagine if Darcy hadn’t been humbled by Elizabeth before they were married. Imagine if his “Hunsford moment” had come after they were married . . . . and if he had no idea that his wife was not in love with him! Add in misunderstandings, assumptions, and miscommunications, and you have the plot for Duty Demands, my fourth JAFF novel. This is a high angst story with lots of drama, emotion, and surprising twists along the way!
Duty Demands will be for sale on Amazon starting November 15, but you can read a short excerpt below. Make sure to comment by midnight EST on Wednesday, November 16, for a chance to win one of five eBook copies of “Duty Demands”!
And now Elizabeth slept in her new bed in her new home, at Darcy House, in town. She had married Darcy yesterday, and he had entered her room and made her his wife last night. He had not left afterwards, to her surprise. As she began to stir she felt him also move, and she opened her eyes to see that he was leaning up on one elbow, looking down at her with concern. He smiled slightly when their eyes met. “Are you well?” he asked.
“Am I in a dream, or is this real?” she asked him sleepily.
“Dreams this sweet never come true for me,” he answered. “It must be real.” He began to kiss her again, and Elizabeth allowed her mind to drift effortlessly away.
She looked at her husband carefully over breakfast sometime later, served in the small dining room by a discreet staff that exited the room after his brief nod in their direction. What would life be like now with Fitzwilliam Darcy, she wondered, when she would be subject to his will in everything? She belonged to him in every way, down to the very name by which she would now be known. His word was law in this household, and his wishes would prevail utterly.
She began to discover his wishes immediately. Darcy spoke brusquely as they began to eat, laying out plans for the day.
“I have matters to attend to at my club this afternoon. You shall use that time to speak with Mrs. Moffat and begin to learn the management of the household accounts. I suggest that you start with the kitchen accounts and plan out our meals for the next week or two. That should keep you occupied for some time.”
“I need no assignments in order to keep me occupied. I am well able to order my own activities.”
He continued as though he had not heard her. “If you have time, visit a modiste today to have new dresses made. Mrs. Moffat will give your driver the directions to the proper locations. Everything will be placed on the Darcy account, and I expect the new clothing to be completed and delivered here for you within a week, unless there is something that requires more specialized work. They already know to expect you, and what will be required.” He had not looked up from his plate as he delivered these instructions in a crisp, business like tone.
“Are my present clothes inadequate for your purposes?’ Elizabeth asked, stung by the implied criticism.
Darcy must have heard the edge in her voice. He looked up at her for the first time. “Your current wardrobe was adequate for the station in which you were raised, but you are much greater than that now. You are no longer Elizabeth Bennet of Hertfordshire, but Elizabeth Darcy of Pemberley. Your clothing should reflect your new status. And besides, I cannot have you act as hostess or accompany me to events in town in your mourning clothes.”
“I intend to mourn my father for a full six months.” Elizabeth said, with her chin raised defiantly.
Darcy nodded approvingly. “And so you should. You have my permission to wear your mourning clothes inside Darcy House as much as you desire, unless you have callers. Then you must change into something appropriate for the occasion. Outside the house, of course, you will dress in normal attire. I want no gossip about our union. Nobody is to know the circumstances of our marriage.”
“You are all consideration, sir,” she said out loud. “And all condescension besides,” she added privately, her mouth curling down.
Darcy finished eating in silence, then took his leave of her for the day. “You need not plan any meal here for this evening,” he told her. “My aunt and uncle have invited us to dine with them. You should be ready to leave at eight o’clock. My uncle does not favor tardiness. I will see you then.”
Elizabeth waited until he had kissed her on the cheek and gone out of the house before rising from her seat. Facing the direction in which he had gone, she made the deep curtsey she imagined appropriate for a member of the royal household—perhaps even the prince regent himself. Then she returned to her room, determined to find the very blackest mourning attire she had. Perhaps Mrs. Moffat would be able to add black ribbons or combs for her hair. Prince Darcy, she decided, had little idea of the woman he had married.
I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Good luck in the giveaway!