Anne de Bourgh turned her phaeton from the well-travelled road on which she was travelling onto a less used avenue. Five large trees down the path was a small open area that was just the right size for a small carriage like hers. After drawing to a stop, Anne climbed down, secured her horses and, with a glance back at the avenue, scurried into the seclusion of the trees.
“You’re late,” a low voice rumbled, causing Anne to smile.
“It could not be helped,” Anne replied, stepping closer to the source of the voice and enjoying the flutter his presence created in her chest. “I finally found Miss Bennet alone.”
The gentleman pushed off from the tree against which he had been leaning and pulled Anne into his embrace as she continued, “She seems willing to take on my cousin.”
“So you are free?” he asked hopefully.
So begins my newest book baby. This one is called Becoming Entangled and is the sequel to Unravelling Mr. Darcy. If you have read that book, you will know that where Anne de Bourgh is and what she is up to is left hanging in the air — completely, totally, absolutely unresolved. Becoming Entangled is her story.
Anne is something. She’s not the retiring, sickly young lady you might expect. (But then, if you read Unravelling Mr. Darcy, you probably already know that as she surprised both Elizabeth and Darcy in that story.) She does not have a strong constitution, and she is a slight little lady. However, she is also Lady Catherine’s daughter and a lady that has been overprotected, leaving her naive which in turn leads her to make some determined (that’s her mother in her) but foolish decisions.
As I have mentioned before, into every story a little research must fall. I did a good deal of researching for this novella, but instead of choosing one thing from the story about which to tell you, I thought I would create a couple of scrapbook pages. Those two pages are below. Enjoy looking at them, but don’t miss the excerpt and giveaway that I am including below those pictures.
Note: Alistair is Alistair Pratt, the son and heir of Lord Metcalfe. Do you remember who Lady Metcalfe is from Pride and Prejudice? Miss Pope is also mentioned in this story. Do you remember who she is from Pride and Prejudice? (Those two questions are related.)
“Now, tell me,” Ralston demanded as the door to the carriage was closed. “It is not proper to speak of marrying with all haste and then leave the details hidden for two full hours. It is simply not right. I suppose if you were another who was given to rashness such a comment as you made could be overlooked, but you are not. You are a time for everything and everything in due time Alistair Pratt.”
Alistair rolled his eyes. “Are you about through, or would you care to scold a bit longer? Honestly, Jack, there are times you sound very much like your mother.” A grin spread across Alistair’s face as Jack’s eyes narrowed.
“I am her son,” he defended. “It only stands to reason I might have inherited a few traits.”
“Only a few,” Alistair assured his friend with a chuckle. Alistair liked Jack’s mother. She was doting and sweet, but she was also given to blathering on for an extended length of time when she got a bee in her bonnet. Likewise, irritation sometimes spilled out of Jack in a river of words. It did not happen often, and then only with those with whom he was intimately acquainted. “I do not intend to remain at Stanton’s for the full duration of the house party. As soon as we arrive, I must investigate the best place and time for Anne to meet me before we continue on to Scotland.”
Alistair crossed one leg over the other and peeked out the window. The sun had disappeared below the horizon, leaving only a few fingers of light in the sky. Lamps were being lit along the street and windows in homes were beginning to glow in a welcoming fashion. He smiled as he turned back to the silent interior of the carriage. “I do look forward to having Anne waiting for me behind the glowing windows of our home at the end of the day.” A peace settled into his heart at the thought. Anne had always caused such a comforting feeling in him. It was as if with her his heart had found a home.
“You are eloping?” Ralston asked as he finally found his voice.
“It seemed the most practical course of action,” Alistair replied.
Ralston shook his head as if trying to clear a fog from it. “How is an elopement ever practical?” he demanded. “It is always scandalous, but … practical?” He shook his head again.
Alistair blew out a breath of air and settled back into his seat. “I need a wife. I love Anne. Anne needs to escape her mother.” He held up a finger as he listed each point. “Added to that, there is the saving of the expense of a wedding breakfast. I suppose we will have some sort of dinner to celebrate when we return, but we should be able to keep it small and intimate as my mother will not be involved.”
“Escape and saving money? These are your reasons for eloping?” Ralston was looking at Alistair as if Alistair would be a good candidate for a residency in Bedlam.
“Yes, as well as the need of a wife and the fact that I love her,” Alistair added. “I did protest when she suggested the idea. I am not unaware of the scandal and possible displeasure this will bring. But, I cannot marry anyone else and neither can she.” The sharpness of his words caused his friend to recoil a few inches from where he had been leaning forward.
“Possible displeasure? Possible displeasure? Have you considered the extent of the disapprobation you will face when you return? And not just from your mother, whom you are denying the privilege of seeing you leg-shackled by a parson, but what of Miss de Bourgh’s mother?” He clasped the sides of his head with his hands. “And what of her uncle? Your father relies on the earl’s support, does he not?”
Again, Alistair blew out a breath. “My father and Lord Matlock agree on most things. It is not as if Father must persuade Lord Matlock to vote in accordance with him on many issues. And I do not see how my marrying his niece would make Lord Matlock cut ties with my father. It is not as if I am some merchant’s son without a penny to my name. My wealth is secure, and I shall, in the hopefully distant future, ascend to the title of Lord Metcalfe. A viscount is not so lofty as an earl or a duke, to be sure, but I do think it outranks a mere gentleman, even if that gentleman is Darcy.”
“You are certain of this?” Ralston asked as they drew to a stop in front of his home. “You love her enough to face whatever consequences might come?”
Alistair nodded. “I would gladly face far greater scandal than an elopement will cause to see her by my side as my wife.” He held his friend’s gaze in the fading light as the shadows within the carriage lengthened and spread into blackness outside. If anyone knew how deep Alistair’s aversion to scandal was, it was Ralston.
Ralston accepted the meaning and determination of his friend’s words with a simple nod of his head as the carriage door opened. “Then, I will assist you,” he said as he exited in front of his friend.
“And I will return the favour should it become necessary,” Alistair assured him.
“I would expect nothing less.” Ralston chuckled as he clapped his friend on the shoulder. “The place is looking positively brilliant, Mr. Patrick,” Ralston called to the man climbing down a ladder which leaned against one of the lampposts in front of Albany.
Here’s another question to test your memory. Do you remember my mentioning Mr. Patrick in my post Unravelling Mr. Darcy at Vauxhall? Mr. Patrick was the name of an actual lamplighter at Albany. Of course, I do not know more about him than that, so his part in this story, aside from his name, is completely fictional.
Becoming Entangled is now on preorder and will be available to read on November 28, 2017.
I hope you will give it a try — it is a fun story. I honestly did not wish to leave this story. Alistair is pretty great, and Anne is fun. As it happens, I am not leaving all of the characters from this story behind. There will be a sequel to this sequel — but my lips are sealed on that for now.
To celebrate the release of Becoming Entangled, I am giving away two e-book copies. To enter, simply leave a comment below.
Contest ends at 11:59 PM EST on November 28, 2017.