Renata and I are very excited to announce that we have a new variation almost ready for you: Love, Letters and Lies!
What do we mean by almost? Well, any day now, and definitely by the time this Giveaway ends on December 26th.
As a teaser (we don’t really like to tease, but this time we must), below is the back cover script, an excerpt, and our Giveaway! Oh, and, of course, the cover. What would a book be without a cover? (Now there’s an interesting question!)
We hope you enjoy!
Love, Letters & Lies
Elizabeth Bennet is not the type of woman to be forced into marrying anyone, especially not the insufferable Mr. Darcy. When, through no fault of her own, she ends up in a compromising situation with him, she does everything she can to keep their scandal secret and avoid matrimony. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to go along with that plan.
Darcy doesn’t want to wed an aggravating country miss with no connections, but honor dictates he offer. When, shockingly, she refuses, he’s relieved. Upon reflection, that relief turns to indignation, for no other woman would think of turning him down. Indignation soon grows into preoccupation… or could he be in the grip of some other, even stronger emotion?
Love, Letters and Lies is a Pride and Prejudice Variation of approximately 92,000 words.
... Leading up to this point, Elizabeth is residing in Netherfield Park to look after Jane, who is ill from riding over in the rain. Jane has finally fallen asleep and Elizabeth has gone to the library to find a different book to read, having already read poetry to her sister for hours. Elizabeth is now ensconced in a large armchair behind a wide decorative pillar and is not visible from the other side of the room…
Elizabeth had nearly dozed off by the time she reached Lettsom’s recommendation for where to find flies but came more fully awake at reading a rather gruesome description of how best to catch and pin butterflies. Precisely where to stab a pin into the beautiful creatures constituted more of a foil to poetry than she required. She was about to close the book and seek another when footsteps sounded in the hall. In moments, someone entered the room.
The conscientious servant come to see if the room still required light? No, the firm footsteps in the hall most likely meant one of her companions sought a late night read. As the tread was too heavy to be feminine and Mr. Bingley didn’t strike Elizabeth as the reading sort, she could only assume the intruder on her solitude was Mr. Hurst at best and, at worst, Mr. Darcy.
Whoever it was, for the moment, fortunately, they browsed the shelves near the door. Should she announce herself or remain hidden and hope to go unnoticed? If the gentleman made his way between the pillars to the far side of the room, she would certainly be seen. Better to alert him to her presence now. She eased forward in the chair and opened her mouth to speak.
New footsteps sounded, the light patter of slippers heard only once they tapped on the wood planks just inside the library door. Mrs. Hurst come to join her husband in selecting a book to read in bed? Elizabeth closed her mouth over her greeting and eased back again. Perhaps, if they came around the pillar, she should feign sleep?
“Good evening, Miss Bingley,” Mr. Darcy’s voice said.
Elizabeth cringed. Worse than the Hursts. Two of her least favorite people.
“Good evening, Mr. Darcy,” Miss Bingley replied in a honey-coated voice.
Elizabeth stifled a gasp. Heaven above, she did not want to bear witness to a tryst. But surely, despite his many faults, Mr. Darcy wouldn’t—
“I do not mean to intrude,” Mr. Darcy said. “I will make my selection and depart, so you may make yours.”
“I’m not here for a book,” Miss Bingley said. “I must speak with you.”
“Then you should do so in the morning, not alone with me, late at night.” Cordiality bled from Mr. Darcy’s voice.
“You won’t wish anyone, even a maid, to hear what I must say.”
Grimacing, Elizabeth realized she’d long since missed her chance to inform them of her presence. She curled more tightly into the chair. She could only pray they didn’t come to the back of the room.
“I find it difficult to believe you and I have anything to discuss privately, Miss Bingley,” Mr. Darcy said. “If you will excuse me?”
A shuffle of footsteps and swishing skirts ensued.
“Please step out of my way,” Mr. Darcy said, voice touched with anger now.
“Not until you hear me out,” Miss Bingley declared.
“Say what you feel you must.”
One of them, likely Miss Bingley, drew in a long breath and let it out again. “I don’t know how to say this, but you have shown an unbecoming interest in Miss Elizabeth.”
Elizabeth grimaced, muffling a groan which threatened to turn into a laugh. Interest in her, indeed. Only Miss Bingley would conjure such an idea, born of how badly she coveted Mr. Darcy. Or, rather, Mr. Darcy’s connections and wealth.
“I? In Miss Elizabeth? Preposterous.”
Elizabeth pursed her lips. Despite how his sentiment mirrored her own, Mr. Darcy’s tone held scorn enough to sting.
“You watch her,” Miss Bingley accused.
“Oh, really?” Miss Bingley countered. “When I stood up and walked about the room, you ignored me. When I invited her to join me, you put down your book and paid attention.” She sounded aggrieved. “Your gaze is always on her.”
“I do not think so.”
Even Miss Bingley, Elizabeth thought, must hear the frost in Mr. Darcy’s voice.
“Oh, yes, it is.” Miss Bingley sucked in another breath. “You even commented to me once that she has fine eyes.”
Elizabeth widened those eyes in shock.
“She does. May I not make an innocent observation?”
“You may, but you didn’t,” Miss Bingley snapped. “Your observation would be innocent if you didn’t pay particular attention to her.”
“I do not.”
“Don’t you? Miss Bennet is very pretty, but you haven’t said so. When we spoke about how pretty she is, all you said was that she smiles too much. More importantly, you don’t watch Miss Bennet constantly.”
Heat rose in Elizabeth’s cheeks. She considered standing and coming around the pillar. Her appearance would be nearly comical now. To her, at least.
“What do my comments about one sister have to do with the other sister?” Mr. Darcy asked, words clipped. “Miss Bingley, this is a highly inappropriate conversation. Let me make one thing clear. You are my friend’s sister and I will treat you with respect, but I have no interest in this kind of exchange. My opinions of other women are mine. Your observations are distasteful. If you do not depart this library immediately, I shall.”
Light footsteps sounded. The door slammed. The lock clicked.
Before Elizabeth could fully register that Miss Bingley had locked them in, her slippered steps sounded again, still in the library. They pattered across the other side of the room at an alarming rate.
“What are you doing?” Mr. Darcy exclaimed as another click sounded. Frigid air swirled in. “What did you throw out? Was that the key?”
Elizabeth stood, alarmed by the consternation in Mr. Darcy’s voice. The howling November wind whipped through the library. All around the room, curtains stirred and swayed. Flames, candle and fireplace alike, danced, emphasizing light and shadow. Firm, masculine footfalls crossed to the door. The knob rattled.
“Why did you lock us in?” Mr. Darcy demanded.
“I am tired of waiting for the proposal that will never come,” Miss Bingley cried. “I am completely suitable to be your wife, yet you ignore me.”
“I beg your—”
“Well, now we are locked in a room together,” Miss Bingley continued, speaking over Mr. Darcy. “No one but you ever comes to this wing. If you shout, no one will hear you over the sound of the wind. Even if they do, we are locked in here together. Come morning, you will have to marry me.” Miss Bingley’s voice rang with triumph. “You cannot spend the night alone with me without consequences.”
Elizabeth had heard enough. She squared her shoulders. “But he is not alone,” she said, stepping around the pillar to take in two startled faces.
Now, for the Giveaway!
We’re giving away two kindle copies to two winners! To enter, just leave a comment below. You may leave any comment you like, of course, but we do have a couple questions:
Should Elizabeth have remained hidden?
How do you think Miss Bingley will react to finding Elizabeth there?
Good Luck in the Giveaway, everyone, and have a happy, safe, wonderful rest of 2018! ~ Summer & Renata
*Giveaway runs through December 26th. Winners will be announced the following weekend.