It’s that time again. My latest book is scheduled to publish this spring, but there’s just one tiny problem…
I DON’T HAVE A TITLE!
So I thought I’d elicit the assistance of you lovelies and see if anyone has any grand ideas.
Doesn’t sound like much fun?
There’s a reward!
If I choose the title you suggest, I will name a character after you. Which one is up to me, but you will be thanked in the book and immortalized in fiction. Sounds like fun now, huh?
Okay, to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here, I will give you a simple blurb, a few details, and an excerpt.
What it’s all about: Shortly after the Netherfield ball, Mr. Bennet turns his household on its ear, making big changes and becoming a more active father. One of his new acts of fatherly intervention is to agree to marry off Elizabeth to Mr. Darcy, even though she thinks very poorly of him. Through a tumultuous courtship and early marriage, she has to deal with preconceived notions and misconceptions, and Darcy has to figure out how to make her love him.
This regency story takes place in multiple locations including Longbourn, London, the seaside, the Lakes, and Pemberley. The main characters, in order of importance, are Elizabeth, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bennet, Jane, Mrs. Bennet, and Charles Bingley. There is a very strong theme of family throughout, and more than one relationship gets attention, though Darcy and Elizabeth are the main ones.
Excerpt: This is one of the first meetings after the engagement has been formalized.
“I enjoyed dinner very much,” he said.
“I am glad. My mother will be pleased. She enjoys hosting.”
“She was a very able hostess and the meal was quite fine, but I enjoyed the company more.”
She was pleased by this and smiled warmly at him and he could not resist placing his hand over hers on the cushion.
“Elizabeth, you are lovely,” he said softly, his body turned in her direction.
She blushed and looked down. “You flatter me, Mr. Darcy.”
“I speak the truth. And my name is Fitzwilliam.”
She laughed. “Yes, I’ve noticed that you’ve wasted no time at all calling me Elizabeth.”
“What do you mean?”
“Simply that as soon as I accepted your proposal, I was Elizabeth to you. You have not called me Miss Bennet or Miss Elizabeth once. You are very good at the proprieties, Mr. Darcy,” she said teasingly.
“Not all the proprieties, Miss Bennet.” She raised a brow in question and he looked around the empty room, raising his own brow in response.
She flushed again, annoyed at herself for this ridiculous tendency, and answered, “Touché, Fitzwilliam.”
He smiled when she said his name and scooted a little closer, moving their joined hands to his knee. “Propriety has its place, but there are times when it should be set aside.”
“Really? Like when?”
“When a man desperately wishes to kiss his betrothed.”
Her mouth formed a silent ‘O’ and she looked at him wide-eyed, her mouth going just a little dry.
“Elizabeth,” he whispered, leaning closer and closer until looking at him made her eyes cross. She closed her eyes and the next thing she knew there was a warm, soft sensation on her lips, and then it was over.
“Oh,” she said after opening her eyes.
He smiled and squeezed her hand. “I am pleased to be your first kiss.”
“How do you know you are my first kiss?”
“Some things are evident, my dear.”
She flushed in embarrassment and looked away, saying indignantly, “Would you prefer a woman who kissed every man she came across?” He laughed. A loud, deep, happy sound that echoed across the empty room. “I am glad you are amused, Mr. Darcy. Excuse me.” She stood to leave and was stopped by his hand grasping hers.
“Don’t be angry, darling. Come here.” He pulled her down next to him on the sofa and she went grudgingly, her body small and stiff next to his. He couldn’t help chuckling again and turned her chin gently towards him. He stroked her cheek softly as his laughter faded and she eventually raised her eyes to his. He traced his fingers over her lips and looked at her questioningly. “May I?”
She nodded reluctantly and he leaned in, pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth, first one and then the other, before kissing her more fully. She stayed stiff and immobile, refusing to give him the satisfaction of returning his kiss if he was only going to make fun of her.
He chuckled again and said quietly, “My beautiful, stubborn little woman. You are right.” Her eyes snapped to his. “I would not like a woman who kissed every man she came across, but I would like a woman who kissed the one she was engaged to.”
He kissed her again, swiftly, and pulled back to smile at her charmingly, as if he knew a great joke that she couldn’t possibly understand.
“I am not stubborn,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. He laughed again.
“Whatever you say, my love.” He leaned back and crossed one leg over his knee, the very picture of relaxation and comfort, which only vexed Elizabeth more, as she was feeling decidedly tense and uncomfortable.
Taking advantage of his repose, she rose swiftly and crossed the room to the instrument.
“I shall play for you,” she said simply.
“Very well,” he replied.
“Thank you for the permission,” she said sarcastically.
All right, there you have it. Any ideas??? The working title is ‘Undecided’, but that doesn’t really do the trick, I think.
Help, please! And thank you very much!!!