Hello readers I am delighted to welcome Maria Grace today as part of the 'Mistaking her Character Virtual Book Tour'. I first met Maria when she was a guest on my blog, along with the other authors who co-wrote the book 'The Darcy Brothers'. 'Mistaking her Character' is Maria's latest book and today she is kindly sharing an excerpt with us, as well as giving two lucky readers a chance to win an e-book copy of 'Mistaking her Character'.
Book Blurb ~
Lady Catherine de Bourgh is prepared to be very generous when it comes to medical care for her sickly daughter, Anne – generous enough to lure noted physician Dr. Thomas Bennet to give up his London practice and move his family to Rosings Park. But his good income comes with a price: complete dependence on his demanding patroness’s every whim.
Now the Bennet family is trapped, reliant on Lady Catherine for their survival. Their patroness controls every aspect of the Bennet household, from the shelves in the closet to the selection of suitors for the five Bennet daughters. Now she has chosen a husband for headstrong Elizabeth Bennet– Mr. George Wickham.
But Lady Catherine’s nephew, Fitzwilliam Darcy, is not so sure about his aunt’s choice. He is fascinated by the compassionate Elizabeth who seems to effortlessly understand everyone around her, including him. Lady Catherine has other plans for Darcy, though, and she forbids Elizabeth to even speak to him.
As Anne’s health takes a turn for the worse, Darcy and Elizabeth are thrown together as Dr. Bennet struggles to save Anne’s life. Darcy can no longer deny the truth – he is in love with Elizabeth Bennet. But Lady Catherine will do anything to stop Darcy from marrying her – even if it means Elizabeth will lose everything she loves.
~ Excerpt from Chapter four ~
“You will forgive me, your ladyship, but on this point, I must disagree.”
What was that? Elizabeth started and sat up very straight. Mama never contradicted Lady Catherine.
“Disagree? Disagree? On what basis can you possibly disagree with me?”
“I have three living daughters, your ladyship, and experienced seven lying-ins. I have far and away more experience in all things related to motherhood.”
“Experience alone does not make you an expert—”
Mama’s words had that tone, the one that never ended well. Jane and Elizabeth rose and hurried toward the other ladies.
Charlotte sat between Mama and Lady Catherine while Georgiana looked on with wide eyes and a creeping pallor.
“I should think, Mrs. Bennet, that married to a man of science, you would be quick to recognize science is the best arbiter of experience.”
“I thought you believed tradition to be the arbiter of experience.” Mama’s pitch climbed an octave, rapier sharp to make her point.
Had Mama not learned? It was unwise to remind Lady Catherine of opinions she had declared previous to a current conversation.
“Indeed it is, in some things. But in other matters, like this, it is science. And science dictates—”
“Nonsense! It is not Mrs. Collins’ fault she fell with child, now. No means of preventing it is entirely effective.”
Charlotte colored almost to match the wine of the upholstery, eyes bulging and begging for deliverance.
“Had she but followed my advice, she might be spared her current situation.” Lady Catherine waved her hand, nearly striking Charlotte in the face.
“Summer is a most ill-advised time for a confinement. I told her spring—”
“So you expected Mr. Collins—”
Jane wavered and clutched an overstuffed pillow. Miss Darcy gasped, so pale she might faint.
Elizabeth sprang to her side. “I discovered some music in the sitting room upstairs. Would you come examine it with me? You might enjoy playing it when the gentlemen join us.”
Miss Darcy leapt to her feet. “Yes—yes, that is an excellent idea.” She grabbed Elizabeth’s arm, and they rushed out the door.
A dozen steps from the drawing room, she collapsed against the wall. Poor girl was trembling. Long Tom appeared at Elizabeth’s elbow. Miss Darcy shook even harder.
“Fetch Miss Darcy some wine and water. We will be upstairs.”
He bowed and strode away.
They trudged their way up the stairs, and Elizabeth guided her to the sitting room’s window bench. She pushed the window open. Soft night air, tinged with clean green smells flowed in. “Just sit back. The fresh air will do you good.”
Miss Darcy leaned back and closed her eyes. Color gradually returned to her features.
Elizabeth retrieved several sheets of dusty music from the ancient armoire.
“You actually found music here?”
She handed Miss Darcy the neatly penned scores. “Of course, I did. I find it ill-advised to employ deception, especially when a convenient truth is available. These are older pieces, just plain folk songs—”
Miss Darcy traced the line with her fingertip and hummed. “I shall enjoy playing them, and my brother will approve. He likes these simple melodies very well indeed.”
“I am glad then. It makes the excuse that much more palatable.”
“Thank you for removing me from that conversation. I cannot believe—”
“Yes, thank you.”
They both jumped and turned.
“Not ill, brother, only mortified.”
“The drawing room conversation took a turn inappropriate for a maiden’s ears,” Elizabeth said.
“So I gathered.” Darcy strode in and handed the glass to Miss Darcy. “The conversation was quite animated when I left. Your father was doing his best to pacify them both. Fitzwilliam suggested the rest of us should adjourn to the music room while they settled matters. We thought you might be willing to play the music Miss Bennet procured.”
Elizabeth quirked her brows.
Miss Darcy giggled. “Of course, I think it a very good idea. Shall I go then?”
“Yes, we will follow in a moment.”
Georgiana picked up the music and left.
Mr. Darcy offered Elizabeth his arm. His fingers were warm and heavy over hers. Lady Catherine would certainly not approve.
“Thank you for removing Georgiana from that scene. I cannot fathom what possessed my aunt to engage in such a debate, much less with my sister present.”
“My mother contradicted Lady Catherine, and her ladyship cannot abide being disagreed with.”
“I know that to be true.” He turned and gazed into her eyes.
No man had ever looked at her that way, so intensely, seen her so completely. Her skin tingled where his eyes touched it, and her breath came in shallow pants. Why could she not breathe when he stood so close?
His voice turned husky, a music she would never tire of. “I am deeply grateful. My sister is easily distressed by our Aunt.”
“Those of a stronger constitution are as well.” She chuckled.
The room swam. Had he actually asked? When was the last time anyone had asked how she felt? Only her grasp on his arm kept her from a swoon.
“I suppose there are times when it is challenging—”
He threw his head back and laughed. The bubbling, joyful melody surely held the power to make everything right in the world. Would that he never stop.
“Excuse me, sir.” Long Tom broached the doorway, hands clasped behind his back, face frozen in an impassive mask.
Of all people to come upon them, thank Providence it was one she trusted.
“Shall I send refreshments to the music room?”
Darcy stared, color creeping up along his jawline. “Ah, yes, that would be …”
“Most agreeable,” Elizabeth said.
Tom bowed and disappeared.
“Perhaps, we should adjourn there before we are missed.” She did not sound as convincing as she should.
“I am sure you are correct.” He pressed her hand to his arm.
She held firm, glad for the support against her weakened knees.
If only the journey to the music room were a fraction longer, they might have had time to talk, even a little. Their morning walks left her greedy for more.
Maria Grace is generously giving two readers a chance to win an e-book copy of 'Mistaking her Character'. Leave a comment below for a chance to win.
Winner to be announced on the 9th July (open internationally). Good Luck! Thank you again Maria, for sharing an excerpt with us & for your generous giveaway!
Meet Maria Grace
Though Maria Grace has been writing fiction since she was ten years old, those early efforts happily reside in a file drawer and are unlikely to see the light of day again, for which many are grateful. After penning five file-drawer novels in high school, she took a break from writing to pursue college and earn her doctorate in Educational Psychology. After 16 years of university teaching, she returned to her first love, fiction writing.
She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six more novels in draft form, waiting for editing, seven published novels, sewn eight Regency era costumes, shared her life with nine cats through the years and tries to run at least ten miles a week.
She can be contacted at:
Random Bits of Fascination (http://
Austen Variations (http://AustenVariations.com)
English Historical Fiction Authors
On Twitter @WriteMariaGrace
On Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/
As Always I delight in hearing your thoughts!