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Welcome back to Austen Promises!

Today I begin posting excerpt of a new Regency story. As I did last time, I will only post excerpts. The story is titled Lady Catherine Impedes, and it is the sequel to Darcy’s Wife Search. I am working on this story at the same time that I am working on the sequel to Darcy’s Race to Love. My plan is to publish the racing sequel first, in about a month, and then this story a few weeks later. Of course, we all know that me and planning do not get on well at all. LOL

If you bought Darcy’s Wife Search, you saw an excerpt from this chapter in the back of the book. Today I present to you another excerpt from that chapter.

Did you know that if you pledge as little as $1 on my Patreon creator page, that you would have had access to this post a day early?

 

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“They what?” Darcy was incredulous at his family’s presumption, a feeling that was clear in his voice?

“I said, sir, that your aunt and cousin…”

“I heard you the first time,” Darcy snapped. “I am amazed that you would gossip about your benefactress in such a manner.”

Collins gasped. “Gossip! I would never gossip!”

“And yet, by speaking to me of the activities of my relations, you have done just that. I can assure you, sir, that I was never engaged to Anne de Bourgh. Anything Lady Catherine has said regarding such an engagement was speculation on her part, paired with a long-held desire for the event. I have never been under any obligation to my cousin; in fact, I have frequently stated to both my aunt and her daughter that I would not marry where I did not choose.” Darcy grasped Elizabeth’s hand once more, placing it on his arm and caressing it. “I have made the appropriate choice. Elizabeth Darcy is the perfect wife for me. She will run Pemberley House and my other homes admirably.”

“But Lady Catherine-“

“Enough!” Darcy barked the word, his deep voice carrying an authority that few would dare cross. “Regardless of what my aunt and cousin may or may not have done or said, I have never been engaged to Anne. I refuse to discuss it further.” Darcy bowed to Elizabeth’s father and sisters. Turning to his wife, he lifted her hand, kissing the back of it. “Will you be well if I leave you, my love?”

Elizabeth stroked his cheek with her free hand. “I will. Shall I come find you after my visit?”

“Please do.” He darted a glance at Mr. Collins and then leaned in to whisper in Elizabeth’s ear. “If he does not stop talking about my supposed engagement, please send for me and I will throw him out personally.”

“Very well. I love you.”

Darcy brushed her lips with his, repeating her words, then turning and walking out the door.

Elizabeth watched his progress across the room. Her gaze remained on the empty doorway for a few moments after he disappeared from it, thoughtfully considering his words to Mr. Collins. Darcy had told her about his aunt’s proclamations—delusions, he called them—of a marriage between he and his cousin, and that neither his mother nor his father had ever given him any inclination that it was the wish of either. With kisses and words of love, he had tenderly assured her that she was the only woman he had ever wished to marry, and that he was perfectly happy with his choice. She smiled to herself at the memory. Finally coming back to an awareness of where she was, Elizabeth asked her guests to be seated and poured the tea that had come in just as Darcy had gone out.

Conversation between Elizabeth and her family flowed with loving banter and teases. Mr. Collins remained quiet, put out by the great Lady Catherine’s insolent nephew. Of course, he dared not speak about his offense. The gentleman was high above a lowly clergyman and his patroness did like to have the distinction of rank preserved. He thought it highly likely her nephew felt similarly. He was, however, upset.

There had been a division of long standing between his branch of the family and Mr. Bennet’s. Mr. Collins knew not what the cause of the breach was, but he had heard from his own father’s lips it went back a couple generations, perhaps more. Being a clergyman, Collins rather thought it behooved him to heal the breach. He had heard, through connections of his own, that there were five Bennet daughters, and his original thought had been to marry one of them, thereby extending an olive branch and healing the rift.

His surprise the previous afternoon to being told there were only four daughters had been immense. Mr. Collins had not thought his contact could have gotten it so wrong. Of course, with the delicious dinner spread out before him, he could not keep his mind focused on that conundrum, and so waited until after-dinner drinks with Mr. Bennet to ferret out the information. He was greatly surprised to hear that there was, indeed, another daughter, and that she was staying at a nearby estate. Mr. Collins insisted on meeting her.

And now, to learn that this cousin had stolen Miss de Bourgh’s betrothed away! It was no wonder she was being shunned by her family. I must write Lady Catherine about this travesty! Mr. Collins waited impatiently through the remainder of the visit, eager to regain his room at Longbourn and write out an express.

On the way back to his future home, Collins made his displeasure known to Mr. Bennet. He was made even less happy by that gentleman’s response.

“I am sorry to have so inconvenienced you, Mr. Collins. Perhaps, when you are married you will understand that there are times when it is best to appease your spouse to retain peace in the household. For now, it will have to do for you to simply leave me to my business and attend to your own.” With that, the Bennet patriarch turned his head to the window and refused to speak further. His daughters, daunted by their father’s unusually harsh tone of voice and their own dislike of their cousin, said nothing for the entire three mile trip.

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