Good Morning everyone,
My first post of the year (well, after the From Pemberley to Milton’s 2020 Favorite Books) is an excerpt of Games of Love and Cruelty, a modern take on Pride and Prejudice by Laura Moretti, a new author at From Pemberley to Milton. This makes me super happy because there is nothing like starting the year with something new, or in this case with someone new, right?
Laura Moretti has written three Pride and Prejudice variations, The Governess, a 54 page novella released in 2018, Do you Love Me?, another novella released in 2019, and Games of Love and Cruelty released in the end of 2020. This last book is not the type of novel that would get my attention, but I confess that when I started reading the reviews on Amazon I was impressed, and I added it immediately to my TBR. The writting style appears to be unique and very interesting as you can see by the excerpt Ms Moretti brought to us today, and something tells me that Darcy and Elizabeth’s relationship will be electrifying on this one.
I hope you like this excerpt and that you tell me what you thought about it in the comments. I am very curious to know your opinion! Plus, there is a giveaway of 3 ebooks, so you may have a change to read the entire book 🙂
Thank you for visiting Ms Moretti, I hope this is the first of many visits 🙂
Set in the 21st century…
Fitzwilliam Darcy falls madly in love with the vivacious and clever Elizabeth Bennet. After a few shots of tequila, he declares his affections for her. It is a disaster. Elizabeth resoundingly rejects him.
But…it’s late, they’re alone and slightly intoxicated.
They sleep together.
Now Darcy has everything…and nothing. He is having sex with Elizabeth and while he falls more desperately in love each day, she still hates him. It is the beginning of a secret, sensual, complicated liaison, wherein each plays a cruel game; Darcy because he is hiding his passion and growing despair, Elizabeth because she is feeling lost.
As Darcy gets more hopeless, and Elizabeth tries to deny her budding feelings, another man begins to vie for her affections…
You can find Games of Love and Cruelty at:
and on Kindle Unlimited
Darcy is late and in a bad mood when he enters the subway. And of course, the gates are blocked, because a family of tourists is trying to forcibly get through with four suitcases and a stroller. They can’t; the entrance is too narrow. So they stay stuck.
And they block everybody’s way.
Darcy is ready to…be an ass. To tell the tourists, in his most haughty tone—cold anger implied—that there is a main entrance, you know, with a special door for strollers and people with suitcases. That maybe they could read a fucking guide, where these things are explained, so they fucking wouldn’t block everybody’s way.
Except there’s this girl.
A brunette. Not that pretty, but…sparkling eyes, gorgeous smile. She’s kind. She helps them. She helps with the stroller. Thanks to her, the family actually make it to the other side, and when they are not blocking everybody’s way anymore, she explains about the main subway entrance, the special gate, “so it will be easier on you next time.”
She’s wearing a purple sweater. Darcy doesn’t talk to her; he hurries to catch his train, but his anger has evaporated. Her voice, her smile. It’s nice to know that there are people who…kind people. It was something Georgiana would have done.
(It was something he should have done.)
(But he was in a hurry.)
That same night.
Two weeks ago, Darcy’s best friend Charles Bingley bought a loft in a ‘trendy’ neighbourhood; translation: in a cheap, dirty cluster of streets, where two bars have miraculously popped up and real estate dealers are calling it a trend. So tonight, Darcy, Bingley, and Bingley’s sister Caroline are at this party, in someone’s apartment. The owners are absent, but the Bennet girls, whoever they are, have borrowed the place for the night.
Darcy is still in a bad mood. Worse than this morning, even. Because of…life. Because of Georgiana. His sister, she’s barely fifteen, she’s had a rough time recently. Darcy should have kept a better eye on her. And Pemberley weighs on him, the size of the business, the never-ending responsibilities…and now Darcy doesn’t want to be here, in this stupid party in this vulgar place. The building is owned by the Bennets, he learns from Caroline, who somehow already knows all the gossip.
Well, Darcy thinks, the Bennets (he’s already sick of the name) are not doing a good job of maintaining their property.
“You should dance with Elizabeth!” Bingley says, pointing to someone, a girl with brown hair, who apparently is the sister of the blonde Bingley has been spending all evening with.
“Not pretty enough for me,” Darcy states.
Then he takes a sip of wine; it’s awful.
God. This day.
“You can be such an ass sometimes,” Bingley comments cheerfully, before going back to the blonde.
The young woman walks away—the brunette—the one Darcy said was not pretty enough. He realises she was close enough to hear—strike that, she has definitely heard. Darcy half recognises her—then she puts her sweater on over her nice, cheap black dress and—yep—she is the purple sweater girl from the subway.
He feels bad. It’s not fair to her. Here she was, putting good vibes into the universe— being kind to random tourists—and the universe thanks her the same night with a stranger insulting her.
Darcy doesn’t regret what he said—she isn’t pretty enough for him–but he regrets she heard it.
Moments pass. It’s a little irrational, how bad he feels, really. It’s just that kindness should not be met with spite.
For some reason, he observes her the rest of the evening. Elizabeth is her name. She laughs a lot. She seems happy. She dances well.
She really has the most sparkling eyes.
It’s dark and grey the next day in Elizabeth’s studio.
Late Saturday morning. The building is awakening; it’s so old, you can hear everything. Upstairs, in Elizabeth’s parents’ place, her mom must be cooking for the mandatory Saturday morning Bennet brunch. Elizabeth’s father is certainly on the computer. On the third floor, below Elizabeth, the Lucases are stirring. Steps, muffled noises. Music. Charlotte, maybe.
Elizabeth is a little hungover. Yesterday, she danced a lot, drank a lot.
Time for coffee. Liquid bubbles in a vintage Italian metallic coffee maker; it belonged to her grandmother, like the table, like most of the furniture. Elizabeth loves it all— how her studio feels old, lived in, familiar.
The machine hisses. Warm coffee smell in the November gloom.
The party yesterday was a tad disappointing; Elizabeth is not sure why. Great music, flirting, laughter, meaningless talk, drunken political discussions, being insulted by a random prick (“not pretty enough”—come on), a perfectly average, absurd evening, but—.
Elizabeth wants more.
She doesn’t know what she wants.
She sips her coffee.
A Christmas tinsel lies forgotten. Jane and Elizabeth used Christmas lights to decorate the Philips’ apartment yesterday—when the Philipses leave for the weekend, they rent their place for parties. Elizabeth hesitates, then she takes the lonely, orphaned tinsel, steps up on her small, unsafe balcony (it’s so cold, so grey), and arranges the cord around the railing before plugging it inside.
The lights flicker in the mist.
Trees. You can see autumn far away.
One year later
One of the rooms in the back, near the billiard table.
Darcy. “I love you.”
Elizabeth is stunned. She cannot believe this is happening. Darcy is still talking, pacing the room, declaring his affections; he’s somewhat drunk, maybe Elizabeth is too, a lot of tequila has been consumed tonight. Darcy is STILL walking, still talking, the word ‘passion’ is uttered, while Elizabeth is quickly reviewing her conduct of the last months, trying to see how she erred, how she could have given him the wrong impression, because… she hates Darcy. HATES him.
He was odious to her, to Jane, to everyone she loves.
Darcy pauses. He looks at Elizabeth as if he was, at last, expecting an answer.
The answer comes.
Darcy doesn’t take it so well.
All hell breaks loose.
“The deplorable lack of sense and decorum of your younger sisters”
“Your vulgar mother, in your father’s derelict building”
“If I had flattered you”
“But I hate lying, I am not a hypocrite, Elizabeth, like everybody is around you—pretending to be blind to…”
“Your selfish disdain for the feelings of others”
“Swimming in money” “Treating everybody with contempt” “Reducing friends to poverty”
“I have every reason in the world to despise you”
“I don’t think you are capable of showing even a modicum of charm, Darcy, or even a twinge of—I don’t know, basic politeness—but even if you had…”
Darcy is the one that initiates it. They are very close, very angry.
“Even if you were the last man in the world,” Elizabeth begins. She pauses; she is in his face—a light brown stubble is visible on Darcy’s chin.
He smells faintly of tequila.
Yes, a pause.
Darcy caresses Elizabeth’s cheek. It comes from nowhere. It is so strange. And tender, really.
Elizabeth takes a step back. The light is low. Muddled voices, glasses clinking, music coming in waves from other parts of the pub. This place is a labyrinth; Richard Fitzwilliam, Charlotte Lucas, and William Collins are drinking somewhere near the bar.
Darcy and Elizabeth are alone.
In this tiny room and its pool table. In this deserted, random corner of the universe.
They kiss. Lips tentatively brushing. Next thing Elizabeth knows, one of her hands is on Darcy’s collarbone, the other in his hair; Darcy is holding her tight, kissing her temples, her brow, he is biting her earlobe (not too hard), and then they are kissing, period. Passionately. Elizabeth has always thought, you know, those movies, where two people fight angrily before rage-fucking in a closet—those scenes were crazy, unbelievable, come on, who does that, but when Elizabeth finds herself half-naked in Darcy’s arms on the leather couch, she understands that—yes—that is what she is doing now.
The sex is gorgeous.
Elizabeth doesn’t think—and she’s always thinking. Darcy’s naked skin is perfect against her. When he’s inside her she’s losing…the stream of time, if it makes sense? His eyes and his hands and…
Then it’s later and Elizabeth is putting her clothes back on and she’s stunned. Shocked.
Clearly Darcy is too.
Elizabeth goes back to the other part of the pub. To the bar. To Richard and the others. She doesn’t want to flee, she doesn’t want to look like she’s ashamed, so she purposely orders a beer, she sits on a stool, she makes small talk.
Her cheeks are burning. She thinks that it must be painted on her face. That everybody must see. (But nobody does.)
Darcy joins them after a few minutes. He orders a beer, too.
Everybody drinks and jokes around. (Nobody suspects a thing.)
Darcy and Elizabeth’s eyes do not meet.
Laura Moretti would like to offer three ebook copies of Games of Love and Cruelty to my readers. The giveaway is international and will end on the 14th of January. All you have to do to participate in the giveaway is comment on this post. Every comment earns an entry in the drawing.
Good Luck everyone!