Beau North and Brooke West, co-authors of Holiday Mix Tape from the Meryton Press winter anthology, Then Comes Winter, tour the blogosphere from October 8-October 19, 2016, to share their latest collaboration, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Thirteen book bloggers, specializing in Austenesque fiction and romance stories, will share excerpts, guest posts, an exclusive interview with the authors and book reviews from this highly anticipated Austen-inspired novel. Four ebooks and four paperbacks are also being included in our giveaways and entry is available to anyone who participates in this blog tour.
Today we welcome authors Beau North and Brooke West, with an excerpt from their new book, The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy. In addition, we also have a couple of fun things for you! Beau and Brooke are giving away 8 copies of their book, which includes 4 ebooks and 4 paperback copies. To win a paperback copy, the winners must have a U.S. mailing address. So be sure to hop down to the Rafflecopter widget near the end of this post and enter to win.
In addition to this contest, we're having a little fun with three images of some modern-day Darcy types. Which one would you cast as your favorite? On October 20 the winning Darcy will be announced at the conclusion of the blog tour. That final stop is at So Little Time...So Much To Read. Click HERE to vote!
And now, without further ado, is the excerpt from The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy!
Hello to the readers of The Calico Critic! We are so excited to be here for our blog tour. When we set out writing this unusual little story, we had no idea much it would snowball into something bigger than a simple idea, more than a simple “what if?” Without giving too much away, we can say that this excerpt, part of one of our favorite scenes in the book, comes along as Darcy getting a crash course in what it truly means to be selfless. He has a lot of hard lessons that come to him very quickly over the course of this book, and this is one of the key turning points for him. Anne de Bourgh is a bit of a hidden gem in this story, and has no problems enlightening her cousin—no matter how painful the truth may be! We hope you enjoy it!
While he had no purpose, he decided the library was at least distraction enough, though it was woefully out of date. Lady Catherine had certainly not added to it in the years since Sir Lewis’ death. There were a few volumes of Gibbon that Darcy took a sudden interest in—he found he enjoyed the man’s satirical style. It reminded him in a strange way of Elizabeth Bennet. Darcy took his selection to one of the leather chairs near the fireplace and settled in, wriggling around to get comfortable.
Try though he might, he could not force his mind upon the page. It drifted inevitably back to his present circumstances. It was a strange sensation, to have chosen such an ordinary activity as reading in the library when his entire reality had been put on its head. Darcy had decided, he knew not when, that if he were going to survive there must be some measure of acceptance. If he did not bend, he might well break.
A shuffling sound, a light step nearby told him he was no longer alone in the library—his refuge had been encroached upon. He sat up, curious to see who the interloper was, when Anne’s slight form appeared. He froze in place, watching as she made her way to one particular corner of the library, moving several books aside to reveal one volume tucked away, hidden behind the others.
“Good morning, Cousin,” he said, breaking the silence.
A startled yelp escaped her and she spun around to see him sitting there, dropping her purloined book. Her hand covered her chest, as though she were trying to keep her heart from escaping.
“Good Lord, Will! Announce yourself next time!”
Darcy stood and approached her. She protested as he leaned down to pluck her book from the floor.
“Please, give that to me at once!”
Darcy smiled. “Has anyone ever told you that you resemble Her Ladyship when you frown so?”
He looked down at the volume in his hands, feeling genuine shock at the title.
“Good heavens, Anne! What are you about? The Monk? Here I was expecting the bloody Romance of the Forest and you’re reading The Monk!”
Anne snatched the book from his hands, her face crimson. “It’s none of your concern what keeps me warm at night!”
He bowed, trying to master his expression. “I acknowledge that and beg your pardon. Come, sit with me. I should be glad of the company.”
She cast him a suspicious look before sitting primly in the chair near his. He wondered for a moment what would happen if he confessed all to Anne as he had to Fitzwilliam once. He knew she was prone to fits where she could not catch her breath, at times causing her to faint. He decided against it; it would not do for him to cause her to be ill.
But perhaps… An idea blazed through his mind, swift and brilliant as a falling star. It was a mad notion, but it was one of the few things he had not yet tried to break the cycle.
“Anne, perhaps it is good that you found me here. There is something I would discuss with you.”
He stood and began pacing, as was his wont when he had difficulties expressing himself.
“As you know, I am of an age where I ought to be securing the future of my estate.”
Anne’s expression quickly shifted from curiosity to alarm. “Will, dear…”
“I know it has been your mother’s wish since we were babes in the cradle, and while I have opposed this scheme, I now see there is some sense in it. We could be combining two great estates, securing the Darcy legacy for generations to come.”
“And we get on fairly well. It is true that I care for you as I would any relation but that does not own that we would not be well-matched in matrimony.”
“Fitzwilliam Darcy, I beg you will cease this now!” Anne cried, clutching the arms of her chair as if they were the only things keeping her upright. He gave her an indulgent smile.
“You are overwhelmed. Surely you can see this would be the most sensible plan for the both of us.”
“Oh, sensible indeed!”
He was surprised by the ferocity in her voice, which was usually so quiet he often had to lean in her direction to make her out.
“You…you are not refusing me, surely?”
Her reply was a laugh he could only categorize as astonished.
“Indeed, William, I am! Why you have chosen to ask me now, I can only suspect, for I know this sensible plan has never been your wish nor mine. I do not love you. You do not love me. We are both privileged enough to be at liberty to marry for love, and I intend to do so or not at all. And, even if I fancied myself so unmercifully practical, I think a little more highly of myself than to accept such an inelegant proposal as the one you just offered.”
Darcy’s heart sank. “What do you mean?”
Anne sighed heavily. “You must hear yourself! Surely you cannot be so dim as to think you can insult a lady to her face and expect that she will accept you.”
He sat down carefully.
“I insulted you?”
“Recollect what you just said.” Anne lowered her voice in what would have been in different circumstances an amusing imitation of himself. “‘While I resisted the scheme.’”
“Anne, it was not my intention to—”
“I know…which is what makes it so awful, Darcy. You are not callous but ignorant.”
“I must once again beg your forgiveness,” he said stiffly.
Anne sighed heavily, sitting back in her chair. “I accept your apology, Darcy, but not your proposal.”
“I would not have believed you to be vulnerable to flattery and appeals to vanity.”
Anne smiled thinly. “There are moments when flattery is a pleasant necessity, and I believe a marriage proposal is one.”
About the Authors
Enter below for your chance to win a copy of The Many Lives of Fitzwilliam Darcy!
Blog Tour Schedule
October 9/ Just Jane 1813/Interview with Beau and Brooke
October 10/ Pemberley to Milton/Book Review & Giveaway
October 11/ A Covent Garden Madame Gilflurt's Guide to Life/Guest Post
October 12/ Austenesque Reviews/ Excerpt & Giveaway
October 13/ Margie's Must Reads/ Book Review & Giveaway
October 14/ Babblings of a Bookworm/ Book Review & Giveaway
October 15/ The Calico Critic/Excerpt & Giveaway
October 16/ Obsessed with Mr. Darcy/ Guest Post
October 17/ Diary of an Eccentric/Book Review & Giveaway
October 18/ My Kids Led Me Back to Pride and Prejudice/ Book Review & Giveaway
October 19/ More Agreeably Engaged/ Fitzwilliam Vignette
October 20/ So Little Time... So Much to Read/ Excerpt & Giveaway