Earlier this week I was very happy to share with you the cover reveal of Win, Lose or Darcy, Jennifer Joy’s latest release, and today I’m very happy to share with you the first excerpt of this book! Especially because it’s release day!!!
That’s right; Win, Lose or Darcy is as off today available at:
If you want to know more about the book or try your luck before buying it, you can read the excerpt Jennifer Joy brought to From Pemberley to Milton, and comment on this post to be entitled to win one of the 4 eBooks she is offering. Don’t forget, comments on the cover reveal and excerpt double your chances of winning.
But enough with the technicalities, I’m sure what you all want to do is read the excerpt, so here it is:
***Win, Lose, or Darcy Excerpt***
“Mother, what has happened?” Elizabeth panted.
Jane held Mother’s skating chair still while Kitty clamped her hands over her mouth in dumb silence.
“Where is Lydia?” Elizabeth insisted.
Near hysterics, Mother was unable to say anything of use.
“Kitty, where is Lydia?” Elizabeth repeated frantically, her pulse pounding in her throat and her limbs shaking.
Mr. Darcy skidded to a stop behind her, his breaths coming out in powerful puffs.
Kitty looked between Mother and Mr. Darcy. She hiccupped, then she burst into tears.
Elizabeth resisted the urge to shake her. In a calmer voice, she asked once again, “Where is Lydia? Please, you must tell us so that we can help her.”
“Perhaps you can lead us to her?” suggested Mr. Darcy.
Wiping her nose against the sleeve of her coat, Kitty nodded her head and turned toward the tents, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth holding onto Kitty’s arms so she would not fall on the ice in her boots.
“Wait! I must go with you!” exclaimed Mother from behind them, ignoring Jane’s pleas that she remain in her chair.
Mother made it five steps away from her chair. Far enough that nothing surrounded her to prevent her fall. With a shriek, Mother’s arms flailed as her feet slipped out from under her.
Mr. Darcy dropped Kitty’s arm and pivoted to help her when Elizabeth called to him, “Wait!”
Mr. Gordon swooped behind Mother and in a maneuver that looked practiced in its elegance, he caught her around the waist and held her in place. More than that, Elizabeth did not see, for she and Mr. Darcy returned their attention to Kitty. Mr. Gordon would take care of Mother. They must make haste to Lydia.
A cluster of people surrounded a tent selling tissue flowers with ‘Frost Fair of 1812′ embossed in gold letters on a card and glued to the papered wire stem. The onlookers pointed and laughed as Kitty came to a stop in front of the object of their amusement.
Elizabeth turned to Kitty. “She is not in peril! She is merely suffering from her own foolishness,” she hissed, mortified that Mr. Darcy should be a witness to Lydia’s immaturity.
“Go back to Mother and tell her that Lydia will be very well soon… although she may not wish to talk much for the rest of the day. She is not in danger and there is no need for hysterics.”
Kitty hiccupped again and left.
“If only they had a chaperone…” Elizabeth muttered to herself as she knelt down to unbuckle her skates.
Mr. Darcy walked through the clumped snow to stand between Lydia and the crowd. The skates added to his already impressive height and he spoke in a booming, authoritative voice. “There is nothing to see here. Continue about your business.”
A few small children dared look over their shoulders as their parents herded them away, but nobody questioned him. They did as he bid.
“Thank you, Mr. Darcy,” she said.
A woman with an apron on came from out of the tent and joined them, her hands on her hips. Seeing Mr. Darcy standing next to Lydia, she spoke to him. “I told the young miss and I will tell you the same: Her antics will not work on me. The paper flowers cost a shilling and I will not accept anything less. Now, kindly remove her from my tent! She is distracting the customers.”
Thus addressed, Mr. Darcy replied, “We will extricate her from your property immediately and apologize for the trouble we have caused.”
Elizabeth had thought that her shame was complete. This went far beyond Lydia’s flirtations at the Netherfield Ball. “Thank you for your help, Mr. Darcy, but you really do not need to involve yourself. You have caused no problem. It is not your sister who has stuck herself to the tent pole.”
“All the same, I will return shortly.” He clamped his mouth shut, the muscles on the sides of his jaw pulsating. Elizabeth could only imagine what he thought of them at that moment. It could not be flattering.
She looked at her youngest sister, whose tongue stuck fast to the metal tent pole, and groaned. Of all the foolish schemes.
Lydia tried to protest, but only incoherent garble proceeded from her.
“Do not move so much, Lydia, or you will bring yourself more harm. Have you tried breathing on your tongue?” Elizabeth asked.
Lydia stomped her foot and bunched her eyebrows together.
“Very well. Something else then.”
Elizabeth searched around her for a patch of clean snow to melt in her hands. If she found enough, she would soon free Lydia’s tongue.
She shoved her gloves into her pockets and filled her hands with the puffy snow. Spinning toward Lydia as she stood, she saw Mr. Darcy round the corner at the front of the tent. He held a steaming beverage which he blew on until he saw her.
Working together in a single mind, he dumped a portion of the hot liquid out of the cup and Elizabeth filled the empty space with snow. Dipping her little finger into the brew, she nodded at Mr. Darcy who then poured the contents over Lydia’s tongue slowly.
“Your tongue will be swollen and your jaw may ache for some time, Miss Lydia. Might I suggest that you refrain from any unnecessary strain for the remainder of the day?” he said as the pole released its hold and Lydia stood upright rubbing her throat and the small of her back.
She tried to give an answer, but decided to take his advice and remained quiet. Mumbling an inarticulate, “Thank you, Mr. Darcy,” she looked repentantly at Elizabeth. It was the same look she had given when she ate the last of the biscuits and felt very sorry about it when she suffered a stomach ache.
Elizabeth did what she always did. She embraced her and, with a mild rebuke, said, “You must leave your childish antics behind you. A young lady out in society ought not stick her tongue out in public, much less fix them to metal poles.”
Elizabeth avoided Mr. Darcy’s gaze until he spoke. “We should return to Mrs. Bennet and the others. They will be concerned.” The corner of his mouth curled up, confusing Elizabeth all the more.
The more he attempted to restrain his smile, the more Elizabeth appreciated the humor of what had transpired, until she had to bite her cheeks to keep from laughing.
Miss Darcy joined them as they neared their party. She was the only one who noticed them. Even Jane was fixed on the performance before them on the ice. Mr. Gordon leaped into the air, spun a full turn, and then landed with effortless grace. Sophia turned in circles around him, her movements as elegant as a ballerina. Elizabeth was not surprised to see proof of yet another accomplishment her friend had perfected. Elizabeth would fall flat on her face if she attempted such acrobatics.
Reaching her hand out to Lydia, Miss Darcy asked, “Are you well? Come and have a seat and I will fetch a blanket for you to wrap around your shoulders.” She led them to an empty chair off to the side of their group where Lydia could appreciate Mr. Gordon and Sophia’s show.
After seeing to Lydia’s comfort, Miss Darcy asked, “What happened?”
Mr. Darcy chuckled and Elizabeth struggled to contain the laughter welling up inside her.
Lydia rolled her eyes and opened her mouth to reveal a swollen, red tongue.
Miss Darcy’s eyes widened. “Oh no! You did not…?” She covered her mouth with her hands, then she smacked her brother on the arm. “It is no laughing matter, William,” she hissed, though she could not keep herself from smiling.
Elizabeth watched the Darcys’ playful exchange in interest.
With a crooked grin, Mr. Darcy looked at her. “I apologize, Miss Elizabeth. It appears that I miscalculated the number of times I have seen Georgiana angry. Miss Lydia has reminded me of another instance.”
Lydia’s attention had been captivated by Mr. Gordon.
Taking advantage of their privacy, Elizabeth looked to Georgiana for an explanation.
“You acted like such a… such a… such a boy!” Georgiana threw another weak punch at her brother’s arm, only making him laugh all the more.
“And what boy would not have laughed heartily at the scene you presented?” Mr. Darcy replied as he caught his breath.
Miss Darcy crossed her arms and glared at him for good measure. “Do you know how many times over the years I wished to trade you for a sister?”
Mr. Darcy clutched at his heart and sighed. “You would wish to trade back soon enough. I am certain that Miss Elizabeth would agree with me that having sisters is no less toilsome than having a bothersome older brother.”
“How can I disagree after what you have witnessed today?” Elizabeth teased. “Although I will admit that there have been times when I have wished to trade them for an older brother.”
Miss Darcy giggled. “Oh, I tease about trading William, but the fact of the matter is that there does not exist a better brother in the world. I was only embarrassed that I had allowed my fancies to lead me to stick my tongue to an icicle in the hopes of turning into a princess with a castle made of snowflakes and cherry blossoms.”
“You stuck your tongue to an icicle?” Elizabeth said between snickers.
“I was nine years old and had to stand on my tiptoes to reach it. How my jaw ached after being stuck there for what felt like forever before William found me. And do you know how he reacted?”
Mr. Darcy remained guiltily silent. Elizabeth had not noticed it before, but his chin had an indentation in it. It was not so deep as to be classified as a cleft or a dimple, but more like a slight dent which deepened as he smiled.
“He laughed,” Miss Darcy said, her merriment at the memory much stronger than her resentment.
So entranced had Elizabeth been by Mr. Darcy’s chin, it took her a moment to remember what they had been discussing. She shook her head. Ah, the tribulations of older brothers.
“The knight in shining armor is not supposed to laugh as he rescues the damsel in distress. Or have you not read enough fairy tales, Mr. Darcy?” Elizabeth asked.
Miss Darcy stopped laughing and looked up adoringly at him. “You have been the hero again today, though it appears as if nobody outside of us recognizes it.”
They looked at the group, who marveled and clapped as Mr. Gordon and Sophia bowed and curtsied at the end of their performance.
“I do not seek accolades. I want for nothing more than your approval,” he told his sister, raising her hand up to kiss it.
Elizabeth wondered what it would feel like to be cherished by Mr. Darcy. Er, rather, to be cherished in the manner Mr. Darcy treasured his sister. Elizabeth grew so warm, she expected to see a puddle of melted ice at her feet.
***It’s giveaway time!***
Jennifer Joy is offering four e-book copies of Win, Lose or Darcy.
The giveaway is international and to participate all you have to do is comment this post. If you want to double your chances of winning, you can also comment on the cover reveal post we posted in the beggining of the week.
The giveaway is open until the 30th of June and the lucky winners will be randomly picked and announced a few days later.
Good luck everyone!