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Welcome back to Austen Promises!

I’m so sorry I did not have a post last week…I was busy publishing Lady Catherine Impedes and just lost track of time. This week, I will begin sharing excerpts from Book 3, which is titled Caroline’s Censure. Most of the excerpts from the previous story will come down in a week or two.

Feedback from reviews of Lady Catherine Impedes indicate that readers did not appreciate the action in that story. This one won’t be so “in your face.” Caroline Bingley is more subtle in canon, in my opinion, than Lady Catherine or even Mr. Collins.

Without further ado, here is an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Caroline’s Censure.

~~~***~~~

Elizabeth Darcy’s wide eyes sought out her husband’s as they rose to greet the newest visitor to Netherfield Park. The Darcys were newly-married, and had spent the previous few weeks visiting the estate, which was being leased by Fitzwilliam Darcy’s friend, Charles Bingley. Bingley’s sister, Caroline, had just sauntered in, unexpectedly and with derogatory comments to her brother about the house.

Darcy returned her look with a roll of his eyes. While his wife had never met Bingley’s sister, Darcy had been avoiding her since almost the moment they met. Her current unpleasantly dramatic entrance, typical behavior on her part, was the reason. That, and the fact that she quite obviously set her cap at him the first time she met him.  He wondered why she was here now, given what he knew about her current circumstances. Darcy reached for Elizabeth’s hand, laying it on his arm and squeezing it. If it were not the height of rudeness, he would seat them both; they ought to be comfortable while they enjoyed what was certain to be a spectacular performance from Caroline Bingley.

“Caroline, what are you doing here? Why are you not in Yorkshire?”

“Can a sister not visit her brother? I read your letter describing Netherfield and knew I must see the place for myself.”

“With no warning? How do you know I have a room for you?” Bingley shook his head. “Seriously, Caroline, if this were your home and someone did that, you would be angry. In any event, we will have to discuss it later. Come, greet the Darcys.” He gestured to the group of chairs and couches clustered in the center of the room.

Caroline’s sharp eyes had not missed that her brother’s guests were her brother’s friend and his sister. The other two were unknown to her, but based on her mode of dress, one was probably Georgiana Darcy’s companion. The other, Caroline could not begin to speculate on, but she could not like the way the ugly little thing stood so close to Darcy. Why, there is not a fine feature in her face! I will put a stop to that immediately.

“I see them standing there! Hello, Mr. Darcy,” Caroline cooed, approaching him with a gleam in her eye and her hands reached out to clasp his arm. “It is so good to see you again.”

Disengaging his arm from Caroline’s clutches, Darcy returned her greeting. He turned toward Elizabeth, intending to introduce her to Bingley’s sister when Caroline interrupted.

“And Miss Darcy! My, how you have grown since last I saw you! I am delighted you are here! We shall have a merry time together!”

~~~***~~~

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