Yes, I’m still at it with writing and sharing excerpts of The Secrets of Pemberley. If you recall from the two previous excerpts, Fitzwilliam Darcy doesn’t have an ounce of Darcy blood in him and somewhere along the way, he has a terrible nightmare of Elizabeth dying after twenty-five years of marriage but she never loved him.
This excerpt is less disturbing than the previous ones but, provoking all the same. In this scene, we have Darcy speaking with Anne after his rude proposal to Elizabeth is soundly rejected.
“I have seen that I am selfish and arrogant. Years ago, when we spoke about your mother’s plans, I laid out that I had no intention to marry you. I never allowed you to speak.”
“Did she say that to you?” Anne asked softly and stared at her hands. “Miss Bennet is wrong, Fitzwilliam. You are not selfish or arrogant, but I will not be your consolation prize.”
Anne’s words surprised Darcy, and he looked at her as though he had never seen her before. “I would not demean you so but how did you know?”
“I know what longing and love looks like. I know the face of rejection.” A tear trickled down her cheek.
“Anne,” Darcy sighed. “I never meant to hurt you. Did I mistreat you? Did I raise your expectations?”
“No, do not blame yourself,” she said as she wiped away her tears with a handkerchief. “I knew you did not want me, you told me so, but it could not stop my heart from yearning.”
“Perhaps you only wish to be away from your mother. Perhaps if you were in more company…”
“I know my mind and my heart,” she snarled. “There is Richard. There is Mr. Brimstock. There are other gentlemen I have met. It is you I loved.”
“I am sorry,” Darcy said quietly but meaning it with all of his heart. When he first made contact with the Fitzwilliams and de Bourghs, they filled a hole in his heart. “I never knew.”
“I did not wish for you to know,” she shrugged. “Mother told me I could gain your interest. However, I always saw we would not suit. I admired and loved you but would be an abominable wife to you, and you are not the sort of man that would make me happy.”
Darcy furrowed his brow. Thinking of being with Elizabeth made him happier than he had ever been. In his mind, that happiness equated love but what Anne talked about was dark and depressing. How could you love someone who could not complete you or be your equal? How was it love if it could only bring pain?
“You asked me what I wanted,” Anne interrupted his thoughts.
“I wish for your happiness. I hope Miss Bennet will see her error and if she does not, that your heart will be stirred by another.”
Darcy felt the lines between his brow deepen.
“You do not understand?” Anne asked and gently touched his hand. “I wish for that because I love you.”
That sentiment Darcy understood entirely. Of course, he desired for Elizabeth to love him but having no hope of that now, he wished for her happiness. No matter how painful it was to consider, she would find it with another man. “I do understand.”
“I would do nearly anything for you.” He covered her hand with his other one. “You are family.”
“Find someone to love and marry her. Do not return Rosings unwed.”
Darcy hung his head. “Anne, I do not know that I will find another.”
“Please,” Anne pleaded. “You do not know how my mother’s constant hints and nagging torment me.”
“I did not know, forgive me.”
“I will not,” Anne said and raised her chin. “You have no reason to reproach yourself.”
Darcy pulled his hand from hers and paced around the room. “I am a flawed man. I have wounded people—”
“Did you mean to?”
Darcy ceased walking and stared at her. “Pardon?”
“Did you mean to hurt anyone?”
“No, but my mere existence in this world has created pain.”
“It is not your fault,” she insisted. “Accidents may happen, over-sensitivities occur. But I will not forgive you for my silence and secrecy.”
Darcy remained rooted, hearing Anne’s words and the clemency she offered but wishing it was another woman before him. The things he wanted to share about himself, the deepest parts of his heart, he could not say to his cousin. Given her feelings for him, expressing them would only hurt her further. One thought stood out to him, however. She must feel similar to Jane Bennet. Loving a man from afar and with a mother who cannot keep silent about it. He castigated himself anew.
“I will leave you now,” Darcy said.
“I will not see you off tomorrow,” Anne said. “I meant what I said.”
Darcy nodded and bowed to her then made his way to his chamber.
So, Elizabeth has rejected Darcy. Anne loves him but thankfully there won’t be a complication there. What do you think about Darcy’s confusion over love not having a happy ending? What can this mean for the man we’ve gotten to know in the last two excerpts? What do you think he’ll do next?
To the world, Fitzwilliam Darcy has it all. He’s the young master to one of the kingdom’s oldest and wealthiest Norman families. Through his mother, he is related to a powerful line of earls. Beneath the perfect façade lies the truth: he’s the product of his mother’s affair and the heir George Darcy never wanted.
At twenty-eight, Darcy has fought hard to put to rest the pains of the past and earn his place in Society. But can he resist the allure of ending his loneliness with the unsuitable woman who has tugged at his heartstrings? Will he tell her his secret and if he does, will she keep it? Or will someone else from the past destroy everything Darcy has worked for?
Prepare for another page-gripping read from Rose Fairbanks as she unfolds a Darcy and Elizabeth story unlike you have ever read before. For the first time ever, Ms. Fairbanks is offering a new novel release in Kindle Unlimited. Pre-order today!