Hello Everyone! We are very happy to announce that we’ve finally published A Duel in Meryton! In celebration, we have for you the blurb, an excerpt and, best of all, a giveaway!
With his young sister Georgiana’s reticence a constant reminder that his onetime friend, George Wickham, should not be trusted, Darcy decides a trip to rural Hertfordshire is in order, for both him and Georgiana. Darcy believes the people there are of so little consequence, Georgiana will know no fear in interacting with them. He soon learns he’s wrong about both his sister and Hertfordshire, but not about Wickham.
Even bearing the brunt of Mr. Darcy’s insult doesn’t soften Elizabeth to her husband-hunting cousin, Mr. Collins, and her first reaction is to disdain both men. As the two join forces against Meryton’s newest militia member, the charming Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth comes to see a different side of both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins. Their presence in Hertfordshire, along with that of Mr. Darcy’s other companions, will forever alter the lives of Elizabeth and those she cares for most.
At the infamous assembly, Bingley has brought more guests. Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is there, and Georgiana Darcy managed to persuade her brother to let her come…Darcy still behaves badly.
After what felt like hours, Richard left off dancing and headed Darcy’s way. Darcy dared to hope his cousin had come to his senses. It was high time they headed back to Netherfield Park.
“Georgiana isn’t going to come to any harm,” Richard said. “You should dance.”
Darcy grimaced. “Why? You know how I detest it unless I am particularly acquainted with my partner. I danced once already with Georgiana and both of Bingley’s sisters. All are engaged now.”
“You shouldn’t need me to point it out to you, but there are other women here,” Richard said. “Many of whom are in want of a partner each set, there being a shortage of gentlemen.”
Darcy shook his head. “Bingley is monopolizing the only beautiful woman in the room. There is no one else here who is pretty enough to dance with.”
Richard looked over to where Bingley spoke with a young woman Darcy had come to understand was Miss Bennet, eldest of the five Bennet sisters, whom Mr. Hurst had mentioned.
“She is beautiful, and very pleasant as well,” Richard said. He turned back to Darcy, grinned, and held up a finger. “First, it is your duty as a gentleman to dance.” He added a finger. “Second, as I warned you long ago, Bingley is wont to monopolize the most beautiful woman in every room.” A third finger, and a pleasant expression aimed over Darcy’s shoulder. “Third, Miss Bennet’s sister, Miss Elizabeth Bennet, is very pretty, and she is behind you. I could introduce you to her.”
“Which do you mean?” Darcy turned around and caught the eyes of a young woman who stood a few paces away, beside Miss Lucas. Her interested expression revealed she eavesdropped on their conversation. Her impudence caused him to frown. “She is tolerable, but not beautiful enough to tempt me; I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”
The young woman’s eyes, which were far more tolerable than he’d acknowledged to Richard, widened slightly. Beside her, Miss Lucas issued a small gasp.
Darcy hid a wince. Perhaps, in his ire, he’d gone too far, but he wouldn’t apologize. He was a Darcy, after all, and these people were beneath him. There was little anyone, even Richard, could say to convince him otherwise.
Richard stepped around him, obscuring the two women and filling Darcy’s vision. “Darcy, come with me,” he said in a tone he had probably used for ordering troops.
Puzzled, Darcy took in his cousin’s hard expression. Richard gestured for Darcy to follow, then led the way toward an empty corner of the room, far from the dancing. Since the musicians were taking a break, conversations were increasingly filling the room, with everyone speaking louder to be heard over the din.
Richard reached the wall and turned. His censorious expression hadn’t slackened. “Darcy, you did me a great favor by helping me with Rosings and I’m going to do you one now.”
“I beg your pardon?” Darcy said, for Richard didn’t appear in the mood to grant a favor, but rather like he wished to lecture.
Richard’s mouth quirked in a wry smile. “The difference is, I appreciated your intervention. You will resent mine.”
Darcy held up a hand. “Can it not wait, then? This evening is already intolerable.”
Richard’s face became once more devoid of humor. “No, I do not believe it can wait,” he said, tone serious. “You behaved insufferably just now. You insulted a lady. Not only that, she overheard you. I don’t care how wealthy you are or how distinguished your ancestors were. I’ve heard from others that you are resented by many. I didn’t understand it before. Now I realize that is because I’ve only seen your behavior among people you respect.”
“Come now, it can hardly matter what I do here,” Darcy cut in defensively, chagrin surging through him.
“It always matters,” Richard said, implacable. “Good manners aren’t only about behaving properly when you want to. For no reason at all, you insulted a woman. If she’d any brothers, they’d be tempted to challenge you.” Richard shook his head. “I thought you were taught better than that. Your father would never have behaved that way.”
Annoyance and humiliation did war in Darcy’s gut. “My father knew how to insult people,” he muttered. “I’ve heard him do it.”
“Yes. So, have I, but he did so deliberately and when he had a reason. That woman did nothing to deserve your insult.”
“She didn’t have a partner,” Darcy said, that paltry excuse ringing hollow.
“What if it had been me?”
Darcy whirled to find Georgiana behind him.
To enter the Giveaway, comment below and, if you like, answer this question: Will Georgiana’s question cause Darcy to change his mind about his own behavior?
Giveaway runs through Wednesday, September 11th. Winners will be announced on Sunday, September 15th.
Good luck and Happy Reading!