18 November 2014

A Gift ~ royalties from these books are being donated....

Until the end of this month (November)Lindsay Downs is donating all the royalty from these books to two ladies, and fellow authors, who  are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

Author Lindsay Downs
What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.
In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.
More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.
After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.
For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.
I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA). 

The Masked Lady and The MurderBlurb-
When Lord Robert Markson, Viscount of Hampshire, is force to return to England to find out who murdered his father and older brother he’s in for a surprise.
It comes in the guise of Lady Kristina Rosewood, daughter to the Earl and Countess of Crossington. To many she’s quartz but to him a multifaceted diamond.
While recovering from an attempt on his life which thrust them closer together they work through emotions for each other while sorting through letters sent to his mother years ago. Slowly, they’re able to discover the one man who could have set the murders in motion. The only problem, he’s been dead for years so who could it be and more importantly why now.
Once all the evidence is compiled the answer is something neither could believe as the threat comes from within the late viscount’s house.

The Guilty CountessBlurb-
Accused of murdering her husband, Lady Donna Kersey turns to the only people who can prove her innocence, her brother and his new bride.
As Robert and Kristina start their search for the real killer they learn the murder might be more complicated than first thought. Uncovering evidence sends the three in pursuit of a possible suspect only to find this person is innocent, or is he not guilty of the murder but not something else.
When Robert and Kristina learn Lord Kersey might not be exactly who they believe him to be that’s when the facts become murky. It takes a surprise visit by Kristina’s brother to help set the record straight which only adds more confusion to the facts.
Will Robert and Kristina find the killer of Lord Kersey before the authorities take Lady Kersey away in irons? 

The Earl’s Spitfire Blurb-
At a house party a midnight gallop on a purloined horse leads Lady Sophia Walker into something she wasn’t expecting-a marriage proposal.
Barely knowing Lord Peter Gardner, 7th Earl of Modbury, Sophia devises a unique plan to make sure they will get along.
What neither realizes, there’s another, Lady Agatha Crumbly, wishes to become Lord Gardner’s countess and will stop at nothing to achieve her goal.
Returning to London Peter lives up to his promise. As they learn about each other he soon finds out she has an affinity for a certain flower. To help prove his devotion to her he proceeds to deck out his town carriage in them.
As the date of their wedding quickly approaches Lady Crumbly makes another appearance, this time threatening Sophia.
Will Lord Peter Gardner arrive in time to save his beloved from death, or will the other win what she wants?
* * * * * Where you can find me-
Twitter- @ldowns2966
Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/

A Bluestocking’s Christmas

Until the end of this month (November)Lindsay Downs is donating all royalties from these books to two ladies, and fellow authors, who  are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

A Bluestocking’s Christmas
Lady Brittany Sexton loves her newest book on Africa but she quickly learns keeping it in her possession is difficult. For her, the problem lies with Lord Samuel Palmer, who believes ladies should not read inappropriate tomes. Part of Lord Palmer’s fascination is the cryptic messages found in the margins. What quickly develops between Lady Brittany and Lord Palmer is even more confusing.

As Christmas draws nearer and with the book still in her possession, Lord Palmer follows her to her parents country estate.  It’s there they, along with some friends, slowly make sense of the notes.
During all of this, Lady Brittany learns a fact about Lord Palmer that disturbs her greatly—why he desired the book. To clear her mind and think about her answer to Lord Palmer’s sudden proposal, she goes for a horseback ride, only for disaster to strike.
Once well, she returns home. Lady Brittany now has to make a life changing decision. Can she… will she marry Lord Palmer ?
“Lady Brittany, what an unexpected pleasure meeting you. Then again, it’s well known within the ton you’re a bluestocking so I’m not that surprised on seeing you here,” he informed her with a bow.
“M’ lord, I’m truly astonished to see you at such a fine establishment as Mr. Winterbottom’s. After overhearing your conversation last night, I wasn’t sure you knew how to read. Now please remove yourself from in front of me so my maid and I may return home,” she demanded.
This time, much to her amazement, he did as asked and without saying anything until she stepped out the door and about to descend the steps.
“I hope you were able to find a book or two so you won’t be lonely at the ball this eve,” he sniped at her.
“Of course I did,” she snapped back while holding up the wrapped one on Africa.
From the expression she saw in his dark brown eyes, Brittany suspected he knew exactly what the book was but she didn’t want to say anything.
“Now, I must bid you good day m’ lord as you’ve detained me long enough and I’ve dress colours to look at and discuss. After all, isn’t that one of the few topics ladies can and are able to expound on?”
Brittany watched as he tried to say something in response to her comment. When, out of frustration all he could do was shrug his shoulders she suspected this tiny battle had been won. Turning on her heels she, with a glance to Aggie, set off for her way home.
As they fought the cold and the wind blowing down the street the heavenly scent of fresh-baked rolls caught Brittany’s attention as they came upon a tea room. With a glance to Aggie she cocked her head toward the shop.
“The fragrance of those cinnamon buns is making me hungry. Shall we stop in for tea and a bite to eat? I’m sure Lord Palmer will be rushing to find me and insist I turn over my book to him,” Brittany suggested.
“Aye m’ lady. If he’s in a rage as you suspect, he won’t be looking in the windows for you. Then, we can leisurely enjoy the offerings before returning home, where, if I don’t miss my guess, you’ll bury yourself in the book,” Aggie said in a teasing tone.
“You’re so correct. I wager we could take a front table as he won’t even look in, thus allowing us the opportunity to giggle at his antics,” Brittany said arriving at the door to the tea room.
As they stepped into the bakery they were met by a short, plump lady with rosy cheeks and her hair tied back in a bun. Behind her a young lad nervously shifted from foot to foot.
“M’ ladies, welcome to The Sweet Bun. How may I be of assistance on this cold morning?”
“May we could have a pot of tea, Earl Grey if possible, and two of those heavenly cinnamon rolls? Also, as you have a front table near the fire we would like to sit there,” Brittany answered.
“Certainly, and I’ve the tea you prefer. My son would be happy to take your pelisses,” the woman said, turning to the young boy and waving him forward.
Once relieved of their outerwear the ladies swept over to the table they’d requested. Taking a seat so she would be able to look out at the street Brittany started to unwrap her book but thought better of it.
What does it take to be a bestselling author? Determination, skill, talent, luck or taking a risk with a venture into a totally new genre. For me it was a little of some and a lot of the others.
In 2008 when I got two books published I thought it was due to skill; little did I know it was more luck than anything. Over the next three years I wrote, submitted, got rejected. I then did what I tell everyone who asks; I wrote some more. I didn’t give up.
More on a dare than anything I tried my hand at a regency, one of the most difficult genres because of the rules, which I might add I broke almost every one. Within two days of its release the book was on a best seller list and stayed there for two months.
Turns out it is all of the aforementioned.
After two failed marriages, one from divorce while with the other died unexpectedly I decided upon retirement to move. That opportunity came in September 2012 when I migrated to Texas.
For me, as a multipublished author, it was one of the best things I’ve done to date. Now, every day I can write, creating stories to take my readers to places they can only dream about.
I’m also a member of the Published Authors Network (PAN) by the Romance Writers of America (RWA). 
Where you can find me-

9 November 2014

Author Spotlight ~ Heather Gray

It is my pleasure today to feature Heather Gray's new release Queen
 QUEEN: (Regency Refuge #3)
Back Cover Blurb: 

You can't hide from the past.

Queen's world was shattered, and she was banished to a foreign land. Years pass before she dares to return, but what she finds is of little comfort. Greed and dishonesty have festered and grown in her absence. Embittered and cynical, Queen trusts few people.

Owen pursues a clandestine investigation and finds himself working side-by-side with a veritable ghost, an agent few have seen, a master of disguise known simply as Queen. He craves her trust…but then uncovers a secret from his family's past that could destroy her.

Queen once sought refuge in America and now seeks it in disguise. Owen has always found his refuge in God, but will his faith be strong enough for the challenges ahead? Can he convince Queen to stop hiding, or is he doomed to become her most hated enemy?
Three days had passed since the beginning of his employment with Lady Rutherford. Owen stared at the ledgers spread out across the considerable breadth of the walnut desk and blinked slowly. By jove, I think I'm on to something here. At the sound of approaching feet, he closed the ledger and picked up some of the late viscount's correspondence.

The housemaid shuffled in then. "I'm here to stoke the fire, Mr. Lobbing."

"Go ahead. By the by, can you tell me your name? I keep forgetting to ask."

She bobbed her head and gave a half-curtsy. "Isadore."

"I'm pleased to meet you, Isadore."

"But we've met before, Mr. Lobbing."

He chuckled. "Of course, but we've not been introduced until this moment."

She gave him an odd look and went about her business with the fireplace. He'd not seen her the last couple of days, and according to Chambers, she'd been punished for some infraction and assigned scullery duties. The butler hadn't been forthcoming about the infraction, so Owen had been left wondering.

"It's good to see you out and about again, Isadore. The footman did a passable job with my fire, but he's not nearly as efficient as you."

She glanced at him with wide eyes before she dropped her gaze back to her task. Once she was done with the fire, she took a step toward the door, but her foot caught on the edge of a rug. Time slowed. Isadore lurched to her right then overcorrected and stumbled wildly to her left until her feet became tangled up in the legs of a globe stand. The globe teetered, its position precarious, and Owen jumped to rescue it. Neither of their jobs would be secure if something happened to the globe, and he had a feeling Isadore didn't have many employment choices.

Isadore, in fighting to get her feet free, finally sent the globe stand toppling onto its side. The globe tumbled out, striking the floor before Owen could get a hand on it. He helped Isadore to her feet and found his eyes drawn to her blue ones in the most peculiar way. Owen turned his back to her and set the globe's stand to rights again. Then he reached for the globe, but Isadore must not have been quite steady on her feet yet, for her foot slipped past him and kicked the the spherical object before she regained her footing.

"I'm so sorry, Mr. Lobbing. Do you think it's damaged? I can't get in trouble again, I jus' can't."

Owen glanced from Isadore to the globe. It had made a sound when rolling that last little bit. "I'm sure it's fine. You'd best be on your way."

He picked up the globe and examined it. Much to Owen's relief, the sphere remained unbroken. Isadore did not need more trouble with her employer. Waiting until the maid was out the door, he shook the globe. A definite clank met his ears. Owen ran his fingers across the globe's entire surface. A compartment had to be hidden within. Sure enough, over the western part of the colonies along one of the seams, a slight irregularity could be felt along the surface, nothing more than a small bump. Firm pressure from his fingers, and he heard a satisfying click. The globe came apart in his hands.
Author Bio:
Heather Gray authors the Ladies of Larkspur inspirational western romance series, including Mail Order Man, Just Dessert, and Redemption. She also writes the Regency Refuge series: His Saving Grace, Jackal, and Queen - plus contemporary titles Ten Million Reasons and Nowhere for Christmas. Aside from a long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys are her relationships with her Savior and family. Heather loves to laugh, and this theme is prevalent in her writing where, through the highs and lows of life, her characters find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.
You can find Heather online at
 She can also be found most days at The Inspired Inkpot, a street team, prayer group, and all around awesome place to hang out - http://www.facebook.com/groups/theinspiredinkpot.

4 November 2014

Tuesday's Tales - Flower

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales 
Today's word prompt is Flower and I've shifted to another WIP. My heroine takes off on Christmas day in an attempt to outrun the festivities. She has no destination in mind and ends up calling at a fully book B&B for directions to the nearest petrol station.
Thank you for coming by - and feel free to leave a comment.
Please don't forget to click the link below to go back to the main Tuesday Tale site for more stories by very talented authors.
The gravelled surface of the driveway glowed golden and silver. A welcoming contrast to more of the high dark, stark hedging she’d driven past for the last ten miles. The drive curved round to her right before the hedge ended and revealed a large colonnaded house. It reminded her more of an ancestral home than a commonal-garden B&B. Pity it was fully booked.
The charm of the place called to her.
She pulled the car to a stop in front of the stone steps and cut the engine and looked about her. A large sweep of lawn ended in another high hedge. No doubt edging the road she’d just left.
The sunshine reflected off the grey stonework, and glistening windows twinkled like diamonds. Whoever ran the place loved it. Even from where she still sat behind the steering wheel and peered up at the building an aura of warmth and love reached out to her.
To the right of the house trees, enough of them to describe them as a small wood ran way beyond the back of the building. Was it all part of the property, or did it run out into what she assumed would be more of the fields she’d glimpsed in the gaps and opening in the hedges? She picked up her bag and slid out from behind the wheel and looked behind her. The drive narrowed again from the semi-circle in front of the house, and rhododendrons already showing the promise of a full head of flowers next spring bowed to the lane that separated them. Too dark for her liking.
If she had a place like this she’d cut such large bushes back and create a sense of space. Not that the place needed it. It looked massive, and the grounds promised to be much the same. Did it have the proverbial fishing lake at the back of the property, or perhaps somewhere beyond the trees. Did the farmland she’d been passing belong to this place? How the other half lived. She’d have liked to spend at least one night here. Pity about the full booking. But she still needed to know how far until she found a petrol station that would be open today, so she slipped the strap of her bag onto her shoulder, pushed the wisp of hair the breeze had blown into her face back behind her ear and headed for the massive wood panelled door.
Thank you for reading this week's offering,
there are lots more amazing reads at
Tuesday's Tales

30 October 2014

EsKape into a book ~ A double book-box-set bonanza

Holidays are a time for fun and relaxation, well if you're not off chasing extreme adventures or the suchlike :-) And with Thanksgiving, and Christmas just round the corner, what could be better than to snuggle down in a comfy chair, in front of a fire, with a good book? Or even a great box set of books!
Along with many other awesome authors Eskape Press have generously included my light paranormal romance, He's My Husky, in their Holiday Eskape box set.
And to celebrate they're doing a fun little contest. To play, you need to read my excerpt below, so please, don't fall asleep!  All you have to do is to follow the instructions over at Eskape Press's FB page
and answer the question about the except and you'll be entered to win a prize from EsKape Press!

* * * * *
Would she come? Max had thought long and hard about his options and decided this way would be less frightening for her. But was he right? More than ever, after what Emma had told him last night about Shane’s growth spurt and bursting his shirts, Max wanted, needed, to protect his son and the woman he now hoped to marry. His ego and selfishness had cost him the chance to be there for Emma and Shane. If things worked out, he’d do everything he could to…

A weak sun still managed to hold off the promised rain and twinkles of sunlight bounced off the bare tree branches above his head. To some it might seem eerie; to him it smelt natural, of nature. He could hear nearby animals rustling in the shrub, could smell the rabbits as he passed their burrows. A hawk keened overhead and Max wondered whether it was in optimism or intent. His skin itched and tingled, his muscles tautened and his fingers curled at his sides. His clothes rubbed against his sensitized skin and his shoes slowed his progress.

A couple walkers bade him a good morning, and he hoped there weren’t too many other people intent to beat the weather. As if to dash his hopes minutes later a couple of men, guns slung over their shoulders, came into sight. They stopped and stared at him then turned off on another path with an abruptness he found disconcerting. He hoped that whatever their destination, it wouldn’t involve a return to this clearing in the trees and the silent pond Emma had mentioned.

He looked round, sniffed the air and satisfied, began to shed his clothes.
Emma picked up the wash cloth Shane dropped on his way out and sighed. In some ways, due to his incredible height, she often forgot how young her son really was. Right after her meeting with Max she’d have to shoot into town and buy him more new shirts. She would call in on Sue. How could one day change a life as much as it had for her friend? Was it Sue’s belief that Friday the thirteenth was a harbinger of evil that prompted Tyler to wait until yesterday to act as he had? She’d never tagged Tyler as vindictive, but then what did she know about men? Not a lot. And while she had Shane to bring up she wasn’t too bothered about the fact she didn’t have a man in her life. She’d only ever given herself and her heart to one, and for her sins, she couldn’t get past him, couldn’t look at another man without seeing those earth-brown eyes, the wide shoulders and hands that brought her out in goose bumps just thinking about them roving over her body.

Magic! Those hands, the way they stroked across her skin, trailed over her back up her legs, and caressed her breasts, were pure magic. And then he’d added his lips to the magic and sent her up in flames. Why didn’t her heart believe her when she tried to convince it love had nothing to do with that night? It had all been about lust.

On Max’s part, anyway.

With an oath Emma swept up the breakfast dishes, rinsed them and posted them into the dishwasher. One of the bonuses of being self-employed meant she could shift her weekends to suit herself if Shane’s schedule allowed. This morning she took the time for herself ,she’d make up for it while Shane stayed over at Tim’s house tonight. It didn’t take long to tidy the bedrooms and clean out the bath, before changing into suitable jeans and warm jumper for the walk to the woods. Why had Max used a wolf, a wolf for goodness sake, to bring her a message about their change of plans? Never mind, her lips curved into a smile, that it was an amazing wolf.

If it had been a human it would have been a hunk of a specimen.

She changed her slippers for sturdy shoes, hauled on her coat and at the last moment grabbed a scarf and wound it round her neck.

She passed a couple of young mothers pushing prams and stopped to talk to both of them. How the years sped by, she thought, as they separated and went on their ways. She’d babysat both those girls when they were young, now they had children of their own… and loving husbands. If only things had been different… But they weren’t. So she’d suck up the useless longing and do what she’d done for the last ten years. Get on with it.

The washed-out blue sky gave way to thin grey clouds with their big brothers piling in behind them, dark, threatening and tinged with yellow. No one, she thought, as she gave the clouds a last look before stepping into the wood, had said anything about snow.

“Best be careful, Lass,” Ben Buckner warned as she met him and his buddy Brody Kemp coming in the other direction. How those boys ever passed an exam was beyond her, they never seemed to spend a full day in school, and yet they’d finished this summer with the best marks in their year.

“We passed a stranger not long back.” He jerked a thumb over his shoulder.

“Looked harmless enough,” Brody agreed. “But you never can tell.”

And with their well meant but dire warnings ringing in her ears, Emma followed the path that led to what she called the Fairy Den.

A few minutes later, Jed and Tupper, guns slung over their shoulders, blocked her path. She wasn’t afraid of them, precisely, but preferred it when they kept walking without comment. Rumour had it they were the two best poachers in the county and, in spite of their downtrodden appearance, were rolling in money. The first she believed, the second never quite rang true.

“Thur be a stranger in the woods, Missy,” Tupper growled. “He’s by yon pond, you best be careful where’s you walk today.”

Jed nodded, allowing his lips to move just enough for Emma to see two of his blackened teeth before they closed in a firm line again. “You’s take care then,” he added to his companion’s counsel, and without another word, both men walked away.

Anticipation had Emma increasing her speed, and she almost ran into the clearing ten minutes later. Disappointment had her skidding to a halt when she found no sign of Max waiting for her. Surely there couldn’t be two strangers walking the wood on the same day, when normally only the locals used these paths in the winter.

She looked round and shivered. Never had this place, normally so dear to her seemed so alien as it did today. The dark clouds had crowded out the wispier clouds and banished the sun, leaving the wood in deep shadow. A shiver chased up her spine. Should she leave, hope Max would come to her at home?


The protest rang inside her skull and she searched the area again. There! On the other side of the clearing stood the wolf from last night. She may not have seen the animal clearly during the night but instinct told her it was the same creature.

“I saw a couple of hunters.”

Hunters? Emma sought to equate his description with any of the locals and wondered whether he referred to the recent school boys. But no, both pairs of men mentioned one stranger. Hunters?

“Oh,” she said, when it dawned on her the wolf referred to Jed and Tucker. “Not hunters, exactly. Poachers, but you’re right. I wouldn’t want them to see you.”

“Would they shoot if they did?” The wolf remained in the shadows.

“They might.” Emma admitted after giving the matter careful thought. “As a trophy,” she expanded. “There aren’t any wolves left in Britain, other than those in zoos, so yes, they might shoot you if they saw you. And if they didn’t they’d set traps to capture you.”
* * * * *
As if this isn't enough, you can also get a second box set of Regency story goodies :-) Don't miss this chance stock up for your holiday reading :-)


28 October 2014

Tuesday's Tales ~ Ghostly

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales 
This week's snippet returns to where we left off a couple of weeks ago.
Thank you for coming by - and feel free to leave a comment.
Please don't forget to click the link below to go back to the main Tuesday Tale site for more stories by very talented authors.
The put-put sound of the boat’s motor drew closer, seemed to Ludo to idle and then, slowly, faded away. Until he gasped for much needed air he hadn’t realised he’d been holding his breath. He looked back at his companion and noted the deep furrows between her eyes.
“Not disappointed are you?” Where the hell had that brainless line come from? He was, he knew that, but it didn’t mean she felt the same tug of— what? Attraction? Definitely.
Lust? Hell, yes, just say it as it was. It was one more crazy in twenty-four hours of crazy, the likes of which he’d never experienced before, and he’d experienced plenty of crazy in this lifetime.
The stare she directed at him should have douched the heat burning up inside him. It failed. He liked a challenge and unwittingly she’d sent out a challenge he’d take great pleasure in accepting.
The ghostly image of a dark-haired woman, her hair blowing in the warm breeze, her smile challenging the sun, snuck into his mind. He pushed it away. It was the past.
Gone. Dead and buried, along with his son, Jerrard. But this was another woman, no smile, for sure. But what a look, and he’d fall into those eyes anytime, dream or no dream. And this was no dream. The sound of the ignition whirring into life killed the distant memories and he looked at her then clung on as the car inched forward over the rutted track and headed for the main road.
Did she have a destination in mind? It seemed so as she didn’t hesitate to turn right and ease into the busy flow of traffic.
Thank you for reading this week's offering,
there are lots more amazing reads at
Tuesday's Tales

21 October 2014

Tuesday's tales ~Picture prompt


Welcome to Tuesday's Tales 
This week is Picture prompt week when we are constricted to 300 words inspired by the picture.
Thank you for coming by - and feel free to leave a comment.
Please don't forget to click the link below to go back to the main Tuesday Tale site for more stories by very talented authors.
 While this week's snippet is from the same WIP and is further on in the story, but may - or may not- be used in the final story. :-)
Ludo prowled round his sitting room ignoring the astronomically priced paintings on the walls. The only image in his mind was Kate’s face when he’d placed a fancy coloured drink on the table in front of her. Ashen, not pale, not white, but a deathly grey. What possessed him to assume that because every other female he knew had plumped for the fancy option that Kate would do too?
Not even the slap of his palm across his forehead banished her stricken look, her race for the door and her frantic dash across the car park, in the wrong direction. His hand shifted to the scratches she’d raked down his cheek when he’d caught up with her. Wherever the sight of the drink had taken her, she’d no longer been with him, hadn’t recognised him and fought him with a strength bourn of terror. It still astounded him nearly a week later, that no one had called the police to report a man attacking a woman in the car park. After all it had taken more than ten minutes to calm her down enough to persuade Kate to return to his car.
Her silence on the journey back concerned him nearly as much as her earlier reactions and convinced him not to leave her alone and to take her to his place. The silence continued when he showed her into his spare room, and minutes later returned with one of his t-shirts.
Should he leave her, offer to stay? He wanted to wrap his arms round the desolate figure standing in the middle of the room her arms wrapped round her waist in what looked like a death grip.  “Do you want to talk?”
The tears spilling down her cheeks wrecked him, and he swept her into his arms.
Thank you for reading this week's offering,
there are lots more amazing reads at
Tuesday's Tales 

16 October 2014

An Inconvenient Courtship by Dana R. Lynn...

Mr. Darcy is determined to find a wife he can love and respect.  He is fascinated by the lively Miss Elizabeth Bennet, but is determined to forget her due to her low connections.  Until an act of jealously puts her life at risk.  Faced with the bleak reality of living without her forever, Mr. Darcy must examine what he really wants.   With the assistance of Colonel Fitzwilliam, his sister, and Elizabeth’s father, Mr. Darcy works to save Elizabeth’s life.  If he is lucky, he will then be able to win her heart.

What was the matter with him?

Darcy scowled as he paced back and forth across the length of the library. He could barely believe his actions of the past few days. To allow his control to slip so badly! And all because of a mere country girl, who was far beneath him. No money, no connections, and that family of hers.

But in spite of these objections, Darcy continued to find Miss Elizabeth Bennet everything that was fascinating and lovely. Not that he had always thought so. No, indeed. When he had first spied her several weeks ago at a dance, he had barely noticed her. His mood had been too dark. He even allowed himself to make a disparaging remark about her to his persistent best friend, Charles Bingley. He had come to Hertfordshire to help Bingley get his new estate in order, not to socialize with the local beauties. Yet, he found his interest in Miss Elizabeth growing with every meeting. Still, he was able to squelch this unseemly fascination with the second of the five Bennet sisters. Or so he had thought. Then, several days ago, the eldest Bennet sister, Miss Jane Bennet, had become ill while visiting Bingley’s sisters. Of course, she had to stay as their guest until she was healthy enough for travel. 

Although Darcy thought of Bingley as a brother, he didn’t much care for Bingley’s sisters. Miss Caroline Bingley had travelled to Hertfordshire to act as Mr. Bingley’s hostess, for it was one of the unwritten rules of the gentry that a single man could not entertain guests at his house without a hostess. Darcy would have been fine with Miss Bingley if she would leave him alone. But Miss Bingley had decided she wanted to marry Darcy. For his estate, no doubt. She was constantly batting her eyes and complimenting him. Louisa Hurst, Bingley’s married sister, was slightly better. Still a snob, but less obvious about it. She had dragged her husband to Hertfordshire so she could keep Miss Bingley company.

Darcy chuckled as he remembered the expressions on the faces of Bingley’s sisters when Miss Elizabeth had been shown into the breakfast room the next day. They were appalled to learn she had walked three miles to visit her sister. Three muddy miles, judging by the state of her skirt. Darcy admitted that he had enjoyed the past few days in her presence. She was unlike any woman he had ever known. Her conversation was witty and clever, and her playful manner challenged him. She paid him none of the compliments he was used to receiving from young women desiring his attentions. He had even allowed himself to forget his objections against her. Until her mother and younger sisters paid a visit, that is.

Darcy grimaced as he thought of Mrs. Bennet and her three youngest daughters. Their behavior was thoroughly shocking. It was the first time he could ever recall being in accord with Miss Bingley. She had openly disparaged the family to her brother, trying to point out the disadvantages of the connection. Bingley, however, stood firm in his defense of Miss Bennet, whom he declared an angel. But even Bingley could not defend Mrs. Bennet. He remembered Mrs. Bennet’s taunts as she and her youngest daughters visited Netherfield Park under the guise of checking on “Dear Jane”. She had apparently decided that Darcy was the enemy and aimed poorly veiled barbs his way throughout the visit.

Miss Elizabeth, however, had tried to defend him, her cheeks scarlet with mortification. Darcy came to a stop as he remembered the agonized, apologetic glance she had shot him with her spectacular eyes. Those gorgeous, sparkling hazel eyes with dark lashes made for flirting…

Flirting? Good heavens. What was wrong with him? Darcy strode to the window and stared out, not seeing the breathtaking view as dawn softly crept over the landscape. Instead of the trees and the vast array of flora, his mind was wholly absorbed with a beautiful face, its brows arched provocatively as she teased him. 

Today she would be leaving, going home where she belonged. He should be grateful. He could put distance between them. Then he would be able to regain his control and focus on more appropriate things. Even as he told himself he would forget her and move on, he felt a strange ache inside his breast at the thought of never seeing Miss Elizabeth’s beautiful eyes again.

His eyes grew far away as he considered his future. He was a Darcy. His family was one of the oldest and wealthiest in the ton. Even Grayson House, the home of his uncle, the earl, didn’t equal Pemberly. It had been made abundantly clear to him, first by his excellent late parents, and more recently by Lord and Lady Grayson, that he had a duty to marry well. That meant marrying a young lady with the appropriate breeding and standing in society. A wealthy landowner’s daughter at the very least. Better still, the daughter of a peer.

Darcy grimaced in distaste. Matchmaking mamas had been thrusting their daughters in his path since his father had died five years before. He shook his head. It was obvious the connection to wealth was more important to many than the happiness of the marriage itself. Most people in high society considered marriage as little more than a business merger. As long as the parties involved were discreet, infidelity was accepted as the norm. A view shared by many in his own family. 

His lips twisted as he thought of his aunt and uncle’s attitude towards marriage. The connection was what mattered. As was avoiding scandal at all costs. He remembered well the times he had seen his aunt give a young girl the cut direct for some rumored misdeed. Whether or not the misdeed were true, the girl was considered ruined and to be avoided. Darcy had not paid too much attention until several months ago when his own dear sister had found herself embroiled in a scandalous plot. Disgust roiled in his gut at the thought that his relatives would have tried to force him to marry her off to a cad or send her away, just to avoid any taint to their family name. Fortunately, society remained ignorant of her fall.

He shuddered. No, a marriage based on the whims of society was not what he wanted, either for himself or for his sister Georgiana. 

Frustrated, Darcy ran a hand through his hair. If he were going to marry, he would abide by the laws of Christian marriage. He would not marry someone he couldn’t hold in affection or respect. Mrs. Bennet again came to mind. No. Although he held the second Bennet daughter in the highest esteem, her family was too much of a black mark against her. Which meant he needed to forget Miss Elizabeth Bennet and her fine eyes.

“Jane, are you ready yet? The carriage is waiting!”

Elizabeth watched impatiently as her sister took her time preparing for their journey home. Elizabeth was eager to escape the snide comments of Miss Bingley and her sister. She was also anxious to be away from Mr. Darcy’s intense stare. Even imagining the way he watched her, she shivered, although she did not understand why. He made her uneasy, and Elizabeth disliked feeling uncertain.

“Jane,” she implored.

Jane Bennett glanced at her sibling with a gentle smile. Everything about Jane was gentle. Her voice, her manner, even her famous beauty. Where Elizabeth ran, Jane floated. Elizabeth laughed while Jane smiled serenely. Yet the two sisters adored each other. Until now, no one had ever held so much of Jane’s sweet heart as her sister. But now she knew Charles Bingley.

“I am coming Lizzy,” she sighed. “I am a little reluctant to go home. I will have to tell Mama that I am still not engaged.”

Elizabeth looked at her sister. 

“At least Mama had the sense to try and throw you at a man you actually like this time,” she teased. “Imagine if Mr. Bingley were a horrible bore, or an ogre. Actually, though, if he were that bad, I think Mama would send me his way instead of yours.”

It was true, and they both knew it. Although Mrs. Bennet loved all her girls in an abstract sort of way, she despaired of ever finding a man willing to marry her most headstrong daughter. What man wanted a woman who could argue and debate as well or better than he?

Jane blushed. The two smiled, then suddenly burst into laughter. They were still laughing as they descended to meet with the Bingleys and Mr. Darcy.

Darcy and Bingley looked up involuntarily as the sisters made their way towards them. Both men unconsciously sighed at the sight of girls. Mr. Bingley with delight written across his face as his angel approached, Mr. Darcy with regret as he realized with cold certainty that he would not be able to forget the woman who had plagued him since he arrived. Indeed, Miss Elizabeth would always be his idea of perfection, no matter how far away he went.

His feelings were muddled when he followed her out to the carriage. He was so disturbed by the path his thoughts were traveling that he barely took note of Miss Bingley. That young lady had pulled out all the stops to try and attract his attention.

She walked as near him as she dared, deliberately moving as elegantly as possible. She batted her light blue eyes coquettishly at him, moving her hands to draw his gaze to her perfectly coiffed red hair and brand new morning dress. Her conversation was everything the ton considered proper, yet it was all in vain. Mr. Darcy paid her no heed. Indeed, he may as well have been walking alone. Not once did he even spare her a glance. Oh, but that chit Miss Eliza Bennet, at her he stared. It was disgraceful! 

In a sudden fit of pique, Miss Bingley brought the sharp point of her closed parasol down upon the unsuspecting horse. The beast startled in fear and pain, rearing dangerously. Shouts came from the groomsmen as they tried to restrain the large animal. The second horse shied away from its yoke mate, pulling the carriage forward, causing it to wobble and tilt. 

A woman screamed. Silence.

“Miss Elizabeth!” No one recognized that hoarse, emotion-filled cry. They turned to see Mr. Darcy, kneeling on the ground, uncaring of his fine clothes. His pale face stared in anguish at the still form of Miss Elizabeth.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Dana R. Lynn grew up near Chicago, but now lives in rural Pennsylvania with her husband, three children, and enough animals to fill a small petting zoo.  She is an avid reader, and enjoys a wide variety of genres and authors, although her favorite will always be Jane Austen.  She loves writing inspirational stories, both contemporary and regency. 
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