Darcy and Deception: Spies and Sea Bathing — and a Giveaway!

Darcy and Deception: Spies and Sea Bathing — and a Giveaway!

Just in time for my monthly Austen Authors blog, my newest Pride and Prejudice variation, Darcy and Deception, is now available on Amazon and at other retailers. I will be giving away one ebook copy (details below).  Please enjoy the below blurb about the book and an excerpt—from the beginning of the book when Colonel Forster is talking to Elizabeth about Wickham.

      Returning home from Kent, Elizabeth Bennet is still distressed over Mr. Darcy’s insulting marriage proposal. However, her attention is diverted by the local militia commander who asks her to observe Wickham, now suspected of being a French spy. Pretending to be besotted with Wickham, Elizabeth accompanies the regiment when they relocate to Brighton.
       Darcy arrives at Longbourn with the intention of making amends to Elizabeth, only to discover that she is now at Brighton with Wickham. Desperate to save her from the scoundrel, Darcy follows her to the seaside, where he hopes to woo her away from the other man.
      Deception piles on top of deception as Elizabeth attempts to carry out her mission without betraying confidences—or breaking Darcy’s heart. However, the French plot runs deeper than she knows; soon she and Darcy are plunged into the confusing and dangerous world of international espionage. Can Darcy and Elizabeth escape with their lives and their love intact?

“Unfortunately,” the colonel sighed, “I will have too many duties in Brighton to stay in Wickham’s company and hope he might reveal some information. He is likely to guard his tongue around his fellow officers.” His brow furrowed with concern; Wickham must be in a position to cause great damage.

Her father’s eyes focused on Elizabeth. “The colonel approached me about whether Lydia would be willing to observe Wickham in Brighton and report what she learned.”

Lydia? “Relying upon her would be a disaster!” Elizabeth exclaimed immediately. “She could not keep a secret if her life depended on it.”

Her father’s mouth curved in an ironic smile. “Just so. I told the colonel Lydia is too young and unreliable for such a weighty task. Yet it is vitally important. I did mention that Wickham had shown an interest in you, and the colonel inquired whether you would be amenable to such an assignment.”

Good Lord! Such a great responsibility. She hardly knew if she was equal to such a task. Her skin prickled, and perspiration dripped down her back as she sat still under the scrutiny of the two men.

As if reading her mind, her father said, “I know you would perform such duties admirably.”

Elizabeth welcomed the praise but wished that she could share her father’s confidence. Everything she knew of espionage she had gleaned from novels, and most likely they did not enjoy a high degree of accuracy.

The colonel cleared this throat. “I assure you that Wickham will never learn of your involvement, and I would not ask you to undertake anything dangerous or disagreeable. You would merely keep company with him at Brighton’s many balls, dinners, and card parties and observe him. He might reveal something about the source of his sensitive information, the identity of his co-conspirators, or the location of the spies’ hideout. He is apt to speak more freely around a lady than he would with a fellow officer.”

Naturally. No man would suspect a woman to concern herself with information about the war. Elizabeth experienced a hot rush of anger on behalf of her sex. Perhaps we cannot be soldiers, but we are not altogether useless.

“You could stay at my house with your sister and my wife. This would put you in position to relay any information to me,” the colonel said. “It would also give you an opportunity to learn if he is intercepting my post or sneaking into my study when I am away.”

Elizabeth was flattered by the trust the colonel exhibited in her discretion and judgment. However, it was such a weighty responsibility! The future of England could depend upon her actions. Her mind could scarcely grasp the enormity of the task.

Her father steepled his fingers. “The colonel and I have discussed this operation at some length. You will never be alone with Mr. Wickham, and you may beg the colonel’s assistance if a difficult situation arises. Of course, you may also return home at any time.” His eyes narrowed. “I would not risk your safety for anything in the world.”

“I know, Papa.” The comforting words nonetheless sent a chill through her. Her father must believe the threat to England was quite grave or he would not even consider such an undertaking.

As a woman, Elizabeth had never believed she would have an opportunity to serve her country. She could not deny a thrill at the idea of such an interesting and exciting task.

“I pray you do not experience a sense of obligation,” the colonel said urgently. “You are but a woman, and a young one at that.” Elizabeth’s spine stiffened, and her hands clenched into fists. “If you are too frightened—”

Elizabeth interrupted. “I am not frightened.”

A faint smile flashed across her father’s face.

“I can be cautious enough to mitigate the danger, and I may be alert for useful information,” she continued. “I am happy to accept your assignment.”

The colonel leaned back in his chair with a relieved smile; obviously her acceptance had been of importance to him.

“But how should we explain my sudden desire to visit Brighton?”

“Ah, yes.” Her father’s proud smile fade into an expression of anxiety. “As you guessed, I might send you to Brighton as a sort of chaperone for Lydia—despite your objections, naturally.”

Elizabeth grimaced. Under other circumstances she would object strenuously.

“My wife would be happy for the company of another lady,” the colonel said, “and our house in Brighton will have sufficient space for another guest. You should be quite comfortable.”

Her father watched her steadily. “I am sorry we must share such ill news about Mr. Wickham.” Of course, he did not know that Mr. Darcy’s letter had prepared her for thoughts of the officer’s perfidy.

Still, Elizabeth suppressed a shudder at the sound of the man’s name. Could she do it? Knowing his character as she did, could she allow him to court her? Dance with him? Converse freely with him? Perhaps kiss him? Yes, she had once thought him handsome, but knowing the blackness of his soul, could she pretend attraction to him?

Elizabeth squared her shoulders. She must do so. She must convince him that she cared for him. At any moment the tide of the war might turn against Britain. How could she continue with her life as usual knowing she might prevent such evil?

No, her duty was clear.

“Very well, Colonel Forster,” she said. “Tell me what I need to know.”

NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY. I have one ebook copy of Darcy and Deception for a lucky winner randomly chosen from those who comment below.  The giveaway will end at midnight EST on Monday, January 7, 2019. The winner will be announced on Saturday, January 12, 2019.

60 Responses to Darcy and Deception: Spies and Sea Bathing — and a Giveaway!

  1. Sounds like quite the intriguing intrigue and a must-read! What a great premise! I’m going to check this out right away. Congratulations on the new release.

  2. This book sounds really, really good. We all know how Darcy loves deception. Elizabeth too, for that matter. Congratulations on its release, and I wish there was more than one! But thank you for this chance to win it. I’m off to amazon though.

  3. Very interesting twist on the Wickham taking Georgiana to the seaside angle – instead Lizzie goes and finds out that Wickham is even more of a cad than she could have imagined. Sounds awesome, I love seeing different sides to Mr Darcy 🙂 Good luck! Thank you!

  4. Guaranteed to read your new book since I love all your books! Congrats to you but also to us readers. Happy New Year!

  5. I have to admit–I saw it on Amazon yesterday and read it already! It was fun. I love all your books, so I buy them without even reading the blurb. I need to head over to Amazon to leave a review…

    • Hi Alecia, Thank you for being a faithful reader, and I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed the book! Thank you, too, for leaving a review. Reviews are so important for the success of a book.

  6. Oh, wow. I hope she is a good actress. This sounds quite intriguing. Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

  7. Oh-My-Goodness! Poor Lizzy. Because of Darcy’s letter, she already knew Wickham was a scoundrel. Now, she finds out from her father and the Colonel that he may be a spy. Bless her heart. At least she was willing to help her country. I hear all their precautions for her safety; however, I also know what happens to best laid plans. I am sure Darcy will be on hand to lend her his support. This book was already on my wish-list so I would be honored to win a copy. Good luck to everyone in the drawing. Thanks to our author for the generous giveaway.

  8. What a great concept! I love how you took the Brighton storyline and used it for your own purposes – clever headstrong woman that you are!

  9. Sounds very interesting! I have no doubt Lizzy will do an admirable job!
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book!

  10. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a story with Lizzy as a spy. I enjoyed it and know I’ll enjoy this one. Reading one of your stories will be a cood way to celebrate the new year. Thank you.

  11. Happy newyear! How nice to start with a totally new plotline! I will have to finish A Very Darcy Christmas first, but tomorrow I’m available 😉
    I’d love to read your new book!

  12. Thank you for this giveaway and congratulations on your newest book release, it sounds like a really interesting story and I look forward to reading it.

  13. How will Darcy handle this? I can imagine him glaring at Wickham and Elizabeth constantly and wondering if she had read his letter. This book sounds quite intriguing. Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway. I am glad that Elizabeth is there to watch Lydia, but will she still create trouble?

  14. Wow, what fun!! I love the idea of Lizzy investigating Wickham as a spy, and can’t wait to see how Darcy reacts when he arrives! So unique, I can’t wait to read this! Thanks for sharing the excerpt. Happy New Year!

  15. Congratulations! What a great start to the new year! This sounds like another great adventure for ODC! Thanks for the chance to win!

  16. This is an exciting excerpt, and I can’t wait to read it. Congratulations on your new release. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  17. Congratulation on your new release. This story sounds very exciting and I look forward to reading it! Best Wishes in the New Year!

  18. This is exciting. Lizzie an undercover spy for a spy. And can’t forget about a jealous Darcy. ..
    Thank you Victoria for this excerpt and the give-away.

  19. Interesting storyline! Thank you for the giveaway chance!
    Happy New Year to all! Hope the coming year will be a bountiful for all!

  20. What an exciting storyline! I don’t think I’ve read such an interesting variation. Thank you for generously donating an ebook! Happy New Year to you and your family and other authors and readers!

  21. Congratulations on your new release! Thank you for the intriguing excerpt and the chance to win a copy 🙂

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