*** Giveaway ***
Meet two of the accidental stars of my MISTER DARCY SERIES COMEDIC MYSTERIES. An author never knows how readers will respond to some of the quirky characters she creates. In the case of Lizzie Bennet’s poodle slippers, I had no idea they would develop such a lovely following. The slippers speak for Lizzie when the most outrageous things pop into her mind. They are her spokes-slippers. Thank you for welcoming these darlings in to your hearts!
I am giving away one pair of Lizzie’s Poodle Slippers to one lucky winner.
Poodle Slippers bio: The Poodle Slippers made their first appearance in Mister Darcy’s Christmas when Lizzie borrowed them from Georgiana during an overnight stay at Darcy’s London penthouse.
Lizzie and Darcy are sitting in front of the fireplace in his library. They have just begun to become attracted to each other and she is teasing him. ~ Lizzie always speaks in first person. ~
I bopped my poodle slippers together as if they were talking and gave them voices.
“Tell me, Sir Poodle,” said my right foot to my left. “Why is it that you have never married?” I sipped a bit more brandy to calm my nosey nerves. My mouth was saying exactly what I hoped it wouldn’t say. This would not do at all.
My left poodle-foot answered in a faux baritone. “I’ve just not found the right lady.”
“Perhaps your personality could use some tenderizing,” my right poodle-foot responded.
Darcy was grinning to the point his face might crack. “Ah, what do poodle-slippers know of love?” he said.
We were silent for long minutes. If he dropped the subject, I had no idea how I would pick it up again. I was truly curious.
Again, as if reading my mind, he spoke. “You wonder how I afford this lifestyle and why I choose to live like this?”
“Perhaps someday I shall tell you.”
Darcy fell silent. It was his quiet moments that drove me bonkers.
I gulped the rest of the brandy, put the glass on the end table, and stood. Or tried to stand. One poodle-foot landed plop on top of the other, and I tumbled sideways over Derby and Squire.
Darcy had fast reflexes. He caught me mid-air and held me to his chest.
I could hear his heart thumping, or perhaps it was mine. I looked up into his eyes and saw the end of my future and the beginning of his. This would not do. I pushed him away, straightened my poodles, and took two careful steps back.
“I’ll be off, then,” I said.
In Mister Darcy’s Secret, Lizzie is once again spending the night at Darcy’s London penthouse—but fear not, for they are chaperoned.
It was after ten that night when I changed into a long nightie and robe. I borrowed Georgiana’s poodle slippers and hunted Darcy, guessing he might be in the library.
He sat swirling a snifter of brandy and staring into the fireplace, Derby and Squire flopped at his feet. He smiled as I approached, stumbling over the plush poodles with their plastic button noses. Darcy read me like a familiar book. He knew the poodle slippers were my way of saying we had to talk. There were questions a proper British lady dare not broach, but certain slippers could be quite outspoken.
Plopping into the chair next to his, I accepted a snifter filled with two inches of amber liquor. We had enacted this fireplace brandy sniffing scene before, but this time I felt we were coming to a crux. There was more at stake than a flirtation.
“You know about the factories,” Darcy said. It was a statement not a question.
His words caught me off guard. “Bingley told me. I am impressed,” I said.
“Please don’t be. That is one of the things that drew me to you, Lizzie. You are no easy wicket,” he said. “I don’t want to impress anyone, least of all you.”
My left poodle slipper spoke in a gruff little voice I drew from deep in my chest. “That is what attracts me to you, Will Darcy—your pompous humility. You are like a marble cake all dark and light swirled together.”
Darcy burst into a laugh, spraying the brandy from his mouth. He ran the back of his hand across his lips. “I have been compared to many things, but this is my first marble cake simile.”
The right poodle slipper could contain itself no longer and chirped out, “Just when I become accustomed to your shadowy side, you get all light and goodness. You are a hard man to understand.”
“Lizzie, I have to speak to you about something dear to my heart, but if you continue slipper-blathering, I shall keep my own counsel.”
“It’s the poodles what’s talking,” I tried for a laugh with my Eliza Doolittle accent.
Darcy placed his glass on the table. He stood over me, one hand on each arm of my chair. “Lizzie Bennet, shut up.” He gently placed a finger on my down-to-pouty lips.
Oh butterflies’ toes, I felt something momentous coming. “You’re scaring me, Darcy.”
“I shan’t try to kiss you as you still resemble an upside down Christmas pudding, but I will say this…” he dropped to his knees. “I am asking you to learn of my quests and, if you are so inclined, to join me. I could use a woman of your feistiness and abilities if I am to accomplish what I must. I am not asking for any other commitment at this time except your sworn secrecy.”
My palms grew hot and then hotter as he slipped his hands over mine. “You can trust me,” I said.
Lizzie and Darcy are having a fireside chat. Lizzie is planning a secret wedding for Jane and Bingley.
Georgiana took one look at the slippers on my feet and murmured, “Oh dear. The poodle slippers mean time for a serious talk.” She grabbed Jane’s hand. “Let us make our escape!”
Hand in hand, they dashed off to Georgiana’s personal closet that made the Harrods designer inventory look puny.
I poured the tea and passed a cup to Bingley and Darcy. I added a touch of milk to my cup and sat back, staring into the artificial fire.
Once I had served the tea, the right poodle slipper began the conversation quite to the consternation of Bingley. Evidently it never occurred to him that poodle slippers could speak.
“There is still no plan to contain Mother,” the slipper said.
“Whenever I deal with an adversary, and your cantankerous mother qualifies, I look to their weaknesses. Tell me of your mother’s top three flaws,” Darcy said.
“Only three?” I said. I counted them off on my fingers. “She’s a control freak, she’s fiercely competitive, and surprises upset her.”
“When she is surprised what can we expect her reaction to be?” Darcy said being very analytical.
The right slipper knew the answer to this question and answered in a grumbly voice, “She indulges in a nervous headache to control her adversaries. To quell her nerves, she pours a healthy shot of medicinal brandy in her tea.”
Even as the slipper spoke, a plan crystalized in my mind. I jumped from the chair and paced in front of the fireplace.
Darcy smiled. “That’s my Lizzie. She’s onto a scheme.”
“We need to talk,” I said as Darcy and I returned arm-in-arm to the library.
“Is this a poodle slipper chat?” Darcy said, a tiny dimple showing at the corner of his mouth.
“Slightly poodle,” I reached into the ottoman and pulled out the silly poodle slippers I had adopted from Georgiana. They had become my little foot-puppets that found the words I often lost when speaking my heart to Darcy.
I sat in a wingback chair, my slipper clad feet on top of the ottoman.
“You have given me the feeling that only sinister villains reside in One Snyde. True?” the left slipper-puppet asked Darcy.
The right slipper spoke, “Present company excepted.”
Now happily married, Lizzie and Darcy are sitting in front of the fireplace in the penthouse.
We were in the library of Darcy’s penthouse and I had just settled into one of our two armchairs, wearing a pale-green nightgown and matching robe. A book about Anne Boleyn rested in my lap.
The pink poodle slippers permanently borrowed from Darcy’s sister, Georgiana, were on my feet. I kept them in the library for fireside chats. The slippers, acting as foot puppets, spoke for me on the occasions when I was too polite to push a point. The slippers were very outspoken whereas I was not, except on rare occasions.
“We are to honeymoon…finally?” the left slipper said.
The right slipper interrupted. “We have waited long enough.”
Fitzwilliam Darcy and I had been married for a tad bit longer than six months. Most of that time we had spent sequestered in his apartment in One Snyde Park, the ritziest and most secure structure in all of London. My husband’s devotion to protecting London’s historic real estate had caused us to repeatedly delay our honeymoon.
My darling husband handed me a brandy snifter with just enough jewel-toned liquid to put a sigh on my lips and a rosy glow in my heart. We were once again cozy in the library. The poodle slippers were on my feet and all was right with the world.
Lizzie, Darcy, and the gang will be back in October with a Christmas story. Meantime I shall try my hand at writing a Regency tale. Wish me luck! And thank you for your loving support of contemporary Lizzie and her beloved Darcy.
Giveaway Guidelines: One winner of Lizzie’s poodle slippers will be chosen from all those who post comments on this page. The deadline for commenting is midnight, Saturday, August 29, 2015 EDST.
With love & laughter!