Good Afternoon everyone,
Please join me in congratulating Jennifer Joy on the release of another book in the Dimensions of Darcy series! Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Wager was released last week and is the 4th installment of this standalone series.
In this promising story Mr. Darcy’s mother is still alive, so I am very curious to see how that will affect the entire story and even Darcy’s personality. Jennifer Joy brought an excerpt for you to have a glimpse of what you’ll find in this new book, and I hope you like it. Let us know what you think of it in the comments and apply to the generous giveaway Jennifer is offering 🙂
Thank you for visiting once more Jennifer, it is always a Joy to have you here (see what I did there?).
Thank you for letting me share a special snippet of my latest release with your readers, Rita!
The Setting: Lady Anne has invited several young people to her house for an indoor picnic. It doesn’t take her long to see in Elizabeth the lightness and humor her son so desperately needs. Involving Mrs. Gardiner and Georgiana in her scheme, Lady Anne “helps” our dear couple along.
Here’s a peek at what happens:
Darcy was contemplating how to get Wickham away from Miss Packer without giving any erroneous ideas. The last thing he needed was to suggest a weakness which Wickham would exploit. In a duel of charm, Wickham would win. Nor did Darcy wish to display any charm to Miss Packer when the mere sight of her soured his mood and left a bitter taste in his mouth.
It was a relief when he saw his mother spirit Miss Elizabeth out of the room. He hated that she had endured Miss Packer’s sly cuts in his home.
Besides, Colonel Donavan had enjoyed her conversation long enough.
The military man watched Miss Elizabeth leave the room, but he did not attempt to follow her. Darcy was grateful, though he did not spare a nod of approval when the colonel met his glance. Glares came too easily to Darcy, and Colonel Donavan soon broke eye contact to continue in conversation with Mr. Chamberlayne, Lord Percy and his sister.
Georgiana approached Wickham and Miss Packer, wisely standing closer to Miss Packer. Darcy decided to join them, and had risen to do so, when Georgiana addressed the room. “Miss Packer has agreed to play a duet with me. Colonel Donavan, would you please assist us with the pages?” Georgiana added with a smile that showed her dimples.
The gentleman was overjoyed to be of assistance, as happy as Miss Packer was to display her talents yet again.
Darcy spared the two no more notice. His attention was on his sister. She never performed for anyone aside from him and their mother … and Mother was not even here, he realized as he looked about the room. She would not want to miss Georgiana’s brave display.
He looked around again, but he saw neither his mother nor Miss Elizabeth. Striding toward the doors leading out of the hall, Mrs. Gardiner stopped him. “Mr. Darcy, I believe we are of the same mind. Lady Anne will want to see her daughter play. She will never forgive herself if she misses it. I believe I remember her mentioning that she wished to show my niece your conservatory. Do you think they might have gone there?”
Darcy glanced across the hall to the glass-enclosed conservatory which led to the garden at the back of the house. Looking over his shoulder to see the ladies situating themselves at the pianoforte bench, he decided he had just enough time to check. “I will look. It is an overgrown jungle in there, and I fear you would get lost in the tangled labyrinth.”
Mrs. Gardiner smiled. “Always looking out for the welfare of his friends. I thank you, Mr. Darcy, and will warn you not to get lost in your pursuit.”
Darcy crossed the hall, pausing just inside the opening of the conservatory to listen for his mother’s voice.
Slipping past the wicker chairs positioned under the first palm, he followed the path surrounded by pots of the exotic plants his mother loved to cultivate. She had a nurturing touch and a love for the countryside which she had seen fit to contain in one room which she crammed with flowers, shrubs, and trees. Darcy rarely entered the conservatory. All the green made him ache for Pemberley, the miles of verdant fields spotted with sheep and lined with rock walls.
Deep in the room where the air was humid, earthy, and sweet, he saw Miss Elizabeth. Delicate curls fuzzed around her forehead and cheeks, and he could not help but remember the nickname he had given her. Lively Lizzy. She wore no crooked bows, but her expression was every bit as alive and full of wonder as it had been that day.
She tilted her head back, her eyes wide and her mouth open, admiration escaping from her lips as the sun glistened across her face between the shade of palm leaves.
“I feel as though we have traveled to the jungles of India. It is so warm and the foliage so thick, I half expect an elephant to charge through the vegetation. Or a tiger,” she said, looking to the side. Nobody was there. “Lady Anne?” She spun in a circle.
Darcy stepped forward. “I thought you preferred dragons.”
Her eyes danced. He would have recognized the blend of mischief, excitement, and curiosity in her cognac eyes anywhere. “Dragons are for caves, whereas right now, I find myself in a jungle. And lost, at that. I seem to have wandered away from Lady Anne. I could have sworn she was standing beside me moments ago.”
Darcy tried to control his smile. “It would not be the first time someone has been lost in this cramped maze. She is probably around the next corner.” He extended his arm for her to take, only realizing how closely they would have to walk when they started down the path and bumped into each other. He glanced down at Miss Elizabeth, but she did not seem to notice, so enthralled was she with her surroundings. He tried not to concern himself with the limited room pushing them closer, but he had difficulty thinking of anything else but his nearness to Miss Elizabeth.
Mother was not around the corner.
He shoved his hand through his hair. Where had she gone? And why had she left without telling Miss Elizabeth she was leaving or where she was going? That was not like his mother.
Notes of music trickled into the conservatory, and Darcy remembered why he had come into the room in the first place. “Georgiana is playing a duet with Miss Packer. Mrs. Gardiner said she thought she saw my mother bring you here, and I had thought to retrieve both of you so you might see her exhibit.” He felt like a babbling fool, and yet, he could not help but continue, “Georgiana never plays for company.”
“That explains it perfectly. I was so enraptured with the plants, I did not hear Lady Anne suggest we leave. She must have assumed I followed her. We must join them immediately.” Miss Elizabeth’s step slowed, her gaze absorbing her surroundings as though she were attempting to memorize the place.
As badly as Darcy wished to leave the sweltering conservatory and return to the parlor, he did not have it in his heart to remove Miss Elizabeth from the room which had enchanted her. Not yet. He looked about him, seeing the plant-encased path as she did, traipsing through the jungle in search of tigers.
Rounding the final curve leading them back to the open glass doors and the hall, and finding it clear of predators, Darcy spotted the wicker chairs. Motioning toward them, he said, “I do not wish to interrupt Georgiana by appearing in the middle of her performance. Would you mind remaining a while longer?”
“What a wonderful idea!”
One would think he had given Miss Elizabeth the most thoughtful gift when, in truth, he now was in no hurry to leave.
Her smile reached her eyes, and her cheeks glowed with pleasure. “I had not realized how much I missed the countryside until I stepped inside this room. Green has always been my favorite color. There is something calming and comfortable about it.”
He knew that. He wondered if she still had her green ribbon. He had seen her wear one at the assembly, but he did not think it was the same one he had given to her. That had been too many years ago.
“Do you miss Hertfordshire?” he asked, taking a seat beside her.
She thought before giving a reply. “It is not Hertfordshire I miss, but the countryside itself. The open spaces, the rolling green fields spotted with sheep and cows. I enjoy the excitement of London, but I do not think I could be truly happy living here all the time.” She looked up at him. “How do you do it?”
Nobody had ever asked him that question. Perhaps it was because he knew she understood him, he answered more honestly than he otherwise would have. “It is a necessity I endure until I am able to restore my family to our proper place. We belong at Pemberley.”
Her smile faded. “I did not mean to bring up distressing memories.”
Darcy stopped her. He was not sorry, and he did not wish for her to be either. “It was distressing to leave our ancestral home, to know it was lost. But the memories I have of Pemberley and the plans I hope to bring about in the future fill me with purpose. It is what I live for.”
She smiled softly, swaying to the music echoing from across the hall. “I should like to have a purpose so worthy.”
He looked at her questioningly, but she did not elaborate. Instead, she changed the subject. “Georgiana reminds me of my sister Jane. She is one of the kindest, gentlest people I know. She is lovely in every way.”
“Is Miss Bennet as shy as my sister?”
“Very much so, although she has the added burden of younger sisters who are not in the least bit shy, and I believe she strives to offset their ebullience with her quietness.”
As openly as she spoke of her family’s faults, Darcy would not punish her honesty by criticizing them. “It is amazing how distinct people are, even within the same family. How they change.”
She raised her eyebrows. Had she been four-years-old, she would have asked outright. Age had not calmed her curiosity, but it had given her tact.
He answered her unspoken question anyway. “My father was a good man and a loyal friend to those he allowed to know him fully. He inspired confidence in his friends and trust in his tenants. He always knew exactly what to say in any given situation.” He stopped, his throat tight.
“It sounds like you admire him a great deal.”
“I did.” Despite everything his father had done, despite his isolation, Darcy had admired him. He wished he could be more like how he remembered him before.
And that scared Darcy. What if his character altered as his father’s had? Would he disappoint his mother and sister? Would he break their hearts as Father had broken his?
“Lady Anne still speaks highly of him. What a happy home you have had, Mr. Darcy.”
“They were two red fish,” he mumbled.
Her smile spread across her cheeks, into her eyes, and into Darcy’s chest. Her joy wrapped around him like a blanket warmed by the fire, the soft comfort that melts the bones and provokes deep sighs of contentment.
“I would like to see the vase again sometime,” she said.
He rubbed his hands over his arms against the chill of less-pleasant memories. He would show it to her someday, but not today. Not right now. He ought not to have mentioned the fish, but they were a fitting symbol of what his parents had been to each other. Mother still missed Father. Darcy did too. He missed the way he had been … how their family had been. “Maybe next time you visit Georgiana.”
The music stopped. How long had he and Miss Elizabeth been conversing? It could not have been more than a few minutes, and yet he felt as if they had shared a great deal of history. He felt as though he had known her always.
He shifted in his seat to rise, uncomfortable with how comfortable he was near her.
“Mr. Darcy—” Miss Elizabeth twisted her fingers in her lap and chewed her bottom lip until it turned crimson. She looked everywhere but at him, as if she wished she had not said his name. When she finally did meet his glance, Darcy saw her worry, and he wished he knew how to erase it.
He has one shot at regaining Pemberley.
Fitzwilliam Darcy has worked tirelessly to earn back his family’s estate. But the current master of Pemberley holds all the cards … and he knows his advantage.
She has one shot at finding love.
Elizabeth Bennet lays her happiness on the line when her freedom is threatened. Now, she has one month in London to fall in love her way, or she will have to marry to secure their home.
One toss of the dice will choose the winner.
With the help of Darcy’s mother and sister, Elizabeth finds her place in society … and in Darcy’s heart. Can a cautious man be convinced that love is a risk worth taking? The odds are stacked against him when Darcy faces an impossible choice: Pemberley or Elizabeth?
Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Wager is a sweet and clean romantic suspense variation of Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Pride and Prejudice. It’s the fourth book in the Dimensions of Darcy series of standalone novels.
You can find Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Wager at:
and on Kindle Unlimited
Jennifer Joy would like to offer four ebook of Fitzwilliam Darcy’s Wager to some of my readers. The giveaway is international and to apply to it all you have to do is let us know what you thought about this excerpt. The giveaway is open until the 13th of November and the winners will be announced shortly after that.
Good Luck everyone!