My latest modern Pride and Prejudice variation, Darcy in Hollywood, was recently released. Check out the bottom of this blog where you can enter a Giveaway for an ebook Copy!
Below is a scene from near the beginning of the book. Darcy almost runs over Elizabeth with his Ferrari and she hits her head while dodging his car. During this scene, her family is visiting her hospital room several hours after the incident. Enjoy!
“So you have a concussion,” her mother clucked at Elizabeth.
Feeling more than a little muddled, Elizabeth hoped she could avoid a long, involved family conversation. “I’m really tired. Can someone just take me home so I can sleep?”
Her mother ignored this. “I don’t know how you managed to get a concussion on a film set!” she exclaimed. “It’s not like you’re a stunt man…woman…person.”
“Don’t you know?” Lydia said as the other daughters crowded in behind their mother. “She was hit by William Darcy’s car!” Elizabeth winced as her sister’s high-pitched voice jangled her scrambled nerves.
Their mother’s eyes lit up. “William Darcy? Now that was quite clever of you, Lizzy.”
“He didn’t actually hit me.”
Her mother waved this inconvenient fact away. “That is unfortunate, but I’m sure we can still make something of it.” Elizabeth exchanged a long-suffering look with Jane, who had taken the chair by her bedside. “Mr. Darcy did have that scandalous incident, but he is so well connected. Perhaps he could give your career a boost in exchange for a promise not to sue.”
Elizabeth took a deep breath, praying for patience. “I don’t need a career boost from him.”
“I know. Everyone believes they can make it on their own, but in the film business, connections mean every—”
“Mom,” Elizabeth said, trying to keep her voice low as the pain in her head surged back. “I’m going to medical school. Remember? Knowing Darcy won’t matter at all.”
“Medical school? Medical school?” Her mother gaped, aghast, although this was far from the first time she had heard of this plan. Franny Bennet gave her husband a stricken look. “First Stanford and now medical school. Where did we go wrong, Tom?”
Being in the habit of not responding to his wife, he simply shrugged. Being in the habit of not expecting a response, she continued to speak. “I just don’t think it’s practical, becoming a doctor. The world is full of unemployed doctors.”
“There are a lot of good jobs for doctors,” Elizabeth said wearily, wishing she could just sleep.
“Well, I don’t know about that. How useful are doctors, anyway?” Franny Bennet fluttered her hands as her eyes took in the hospital room. “I don’t understand why you insist on this medical school pipe dream when you could have a perfectly good career in Hollywood—a career most people would kill for.”
How many times do I need to explain this? Elizabeth wondered. “I don’t want a career in Hollywood. I don’t like Hollywood.”
Her mother gasped and crossed herself, although they weren’t Catholic.
Elizabeth pressed on. “I’m not an actor or director, and I’m not interested in being on the production side doing makeup or camera work or special effects.”
Her mother sniffed. “I suppose there’s no harm in fostering that delusion a little longer.”
“It’s not a delusion.”
“If you say so, my dear.” Her mother leaned over the bed and patted Elizabeth’s hand in a most irritating manner. Turning to Lydia, she spoke in a loud stage whisper. “She does have a concussion, the poor thing.”
Elizabeth clenched her fists in the sheets, knowing the only way to stop the argument was to change the subject. If only I had been born into a different family.
“Are you ready to leave the hospital?” Jane asked.
Bless her. “As soon as the nurse brings a wheelchair. Will you drive me home?” she asked her sister. “I’m supposed to have a responsible party with me for the next twelve hours.”
Jane squeezed her hand. “Of course.”
I can always rely on Jane. Elizabeth’s eyes stung; apparently head injuries made her maudlin.
A gleam in her mother’s eye suggested she was about to return to the subject of Darcy. Quickly Elizabeth asked, “How did the table read go?”
“Lydia was magnificent!” their mother gushed before anyone could say anything else. “Her line reading about the meatloaf was so nuanced.” She nodded approvingly at her youngest daughter. “I knew that adding a little more irony would create the subtlety the line needed.”
Lydia preened at the compliment while Kitty slouched into her customary pout. Mary was just as happy to be ignored by their mother since she was quietly steering her career toward being a camera operator, but Kitty resented not getting her share of maternal attention.
“Mom, you weren’t at the table read,” Jane pointed out.
Franny shrugged. “Lydia told me all about it.”
“How was William Darcy?” Elizabeth asked her father.
He glanced up from his phone as if surprised to be asked about an event he had overseen. “Oh. Good. Good.”
Jane smiled benevolently at her father’s absentmindedness. “Will was terrific, Lizzy. I think he’ll be great in the role. He’s got a real star quality, you know?”
“Yeah.” Elizabeth did know. Nearly being wiped out by Darcy’s car had momentarily muted the effect, but she had noticed how others responded to him. He possessed that ineffable charisma that rolled off some actors in waves. Unfortunately, most such actors were real jerks and shameless in using that charisma to bulldoze their way through everyone else. She was not excited about six weeks of hanging around with a prime specimen of Hollywood privilege.
Her father scowled at his phone. “I just got a text from Darcy’s manager. His personal assistant quit, so he’ll need someone on set. Lizzy, could you be—”
Elizabeth didn’t need her father to finish the sentence; it would be a cold day in hell. “Oh no, no, no!” Elizabeth shook her head vigorously but stopped when the movement made her dizzy. “I will not be his personal assistant! Get Anoop or Monica.”
“Anoop is working with the location scout, and Monica doesn’t have the patience.”
“I don’t have the patience to deal with William Darcy’s crap either. He almost ran me over.”
Her father regarded her over the rim of his reading glasses. “Almost is the operative word here, Lizzy. If he had actually run you over, I wouldn’t ask you.”
Because I’d be dead. Elizabeth managed to stifle a slightly hysterical giggle. “I just can’t.”
His expression was slightly panicked. “Some of the backers are spooked by Darcy’s recent incident—and they don’t even know about today’s crash, thank God. I need someone who can keep an eye on him. Someone who won’t smuggle booze or drugs to him.”
“What about when he goes home at night?”
Her father waved this away. “He’ll have weekly drug tests. I just want someone reliable working with him on set.”
Elizabeth imagined fetching lattes and dry cleaning for the man who had given her a concussion and hadn’t bothered to apologize.
“I really need this, Lizzy,” her father said pleadingly. “I’ll pay you double.” Now that was an incentive. Medical school wasn’t cheap.
Elizabeth let her shoulders sag. She was going to hate this. “All right, but I’m only responsible for him on the set. I have med school applications to work on.” She didn’t even want to think about how far behind a night in the hospital had put her.
Her father nodded eagerly. “Of course, of course.”
Jane had watched their back and forth apprehensively. “I hope this works out, Lizzy.”
Elizabeth sighed. “I hope so, too.”
NOW FOR THE GIVEAWAY. I am giving an ebook copy of Darcy in Hollywood for a winner randomly chosen from those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EST, Tuesday, July 23. The winners will be announced on July 28. Good Luck!