Lady Catherine de Bourgh is prepared to be very generous when it comes to medical care for her sickly daughter, Anne – generous enough to lure noted physician Dr. Thomas Bennet to give up his London practice and move his family to Rosings Parks. But his good income comes with a price: complete dependence on his demanding patroness’s every whim.
Now the Bennet family is trapped, reliant on Lady Catherine for their survival. Their patroness controls every aspect of the Bennet household, from the shelves in the closet to the selection of suitors for the five Bennet daughters. Now she has chosen a husband for headstrong Elizabeth Bennet– Mr. George Wickham.
But Lady Catherine’s nephew, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is not so sure. He is fascinated by the compassionate Elizabeth who seems to effortlessly understand everyone around her, including him. Lady Catherine has other plans for Darcy, though, and she forbids Elizabeth to even speak to him.
Anne’s health takes a turn for the worse, and Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together as Dr. Bennet struggles to save Anne’s life. Darcy can no longer deny the truth – he is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. But Lady Catherine will do anything to stop Darcy from marrying her – even if it means Elizabeth will lose everything she loves.
Elizabeth hugged her arms around her shoulders and wandered through the French doors to the garden. Though different from Mama’s, the garden here embraced her with a welcome of color and fragrance. Had Jane seen the garden yet? She would approve.
When had Darcy come out? Such troubled lines in his forehead. Oh, dear.
“Enough.” He wrapped strong, warm arms around her and pulled her to him near a bountiful peony bush. “How long do you wish to give them to decide?”
“A day or two, no more.”
“Should I apologize for suggesting the notion?” He leaned his chin on the top of her head, pulling her just a little closer.
Did he realize how much she liked that?
“Not at all. It was generous and considerate. Their choices, whatever they may be, do not change any of that.”
He sighed. “You said you expected disappointment.”
She caressed a pink blossom. Of course, he had to have heard that. But then again, he already knew.
“It has saved me much heartache,” she whispered.
“Do you expect it of me?”
“I do not know what to expect of you, Mr. Darcy. You are a surprise at every turn.” She tapped his nose with her forefinger.
He rumbled with a swallowed laugh and bent to kiss her. The warmth of his lips spread to suffuse her entire being in tingles and light. How could he leave her so satisfied and so wanting all in the same moment?
He nibbled the side of her neck. “I hope I can continue to surprise you, in the most pleasant of ways, all the days of your life, my dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.”
She shivered and surrendered to his attentions. Every nerve came alive and cried in anticipation of his touch. His hands were so large and strong, but gentle, as they whispered across her neck, her collar bone.
She fumbled with the knot in his cravat—why did he wear it still?
It fell away on the gentle breeze and fluttered to the ground. On tiptoes, she reached the salty, stubbled skin of his throat, suckling the pulse point there.
He groaned, every fiber of his being poured into a sound of longing so profound it was painful to hear. His hands claimed her shoulders, her back, her hips, pressing her to him with an urgency that sated the deepest yearnings of her soul.
He loved her, not for what service she might render or what convenience she might add to his life, but for herself alone.
“I am a dreadful selfish being to say this, my love,” he rumbled in her ear, “but I would not regret Bingley standing up without us, for it would allow us to marry that much sooner.”
“So it would, Mr. Darcy. Happy thought indeed.” And in truth, it was.
Oh My! That is so sensual!!! I LOVE MR. DARCY!!!
My Mr. Darcy….Always
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.
She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six more novels in draft form, waiting for editing, seven published novels, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and tries to run at least ten miles a week.
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On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace