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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Unforgettable Mr Darcy Excerpt & GIVEAWAY

Today, Victoria Kincaid is dropping by to share a sneak peek of her latest, The Unforgettable Mr Darcy, as well as offer one of YOU a chance to win it! Click through to read a bit about the book and get a taste for the story, and then enter to win — and make sure to stop back by tomorrow and Thursday, when we'll have a guest review of Unforgettable and a giveaway of another of Victoria's titles, respectively!

Hi Misty!  Thank you so much for having me as a guest. [Edit from Misty: *waves*] The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy was great fun to write—and hopefully just as much fun to read!  It combines many of my favorite tropes—mistaken identity, amnesia, and believing a loved one is dead—as well as giving me an opportunity to include some fascinating and dramatic information about spies and smuggling during the Napoleonic Wars.  Below is an excerpt from the beginning of the book, but don’t worry—a happy ending is guaranteed!

By happy coincidence The Secrets of Darcy and Elizabeth has just been released on audiobook—with terrific narration by veteran Jane Austen narrator Stevie Zimmerman.  Secrets was my first Pride and Prejudice Variation and the other version that is set in France – so it makes a fitting companion to The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy, although the plots are quite different.  See below for information on Giveaways for both books!

The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy Blurb:

The Unforgettable Mr Darcy, Victoria Kincaid, excerpt, giveaway, book giveaway, Jane Austen, Austen in August, Pride and Prejudice sequels, JAFF, Jane Austen fanfiction
Mr. Darcy arrives at Longbourn, intending to correct the mistakes he made during his disastrous proposal in Hunsford.  To his horror, he learns that Elizabeth Bennet was killed in a ship’s explosion off the coast of France.  Deep in despair, he decides to travel to France in disguise to seek out the man responsible for her death.  
But a surprise awaits Darcy in the French town of Saint-Malo: Elizabeth is alive!  
Recovering from a blow to the head, Elizabeth has no memory of her previous life, and a series of mistakes lead her to believe that Darcy is her husband.  Now they must escape from wartime France and avoid capture by Napoleon’s spies.  Elizabeth slowly regains her memories, but they often leave her even more confused.  
Darcy’s pressing goal is returning Elizabeth to England, but what will she think of him when she learns the truth of their relationship?

“What shall I do if Miss Bennet will not speak with me?” Bingley asked.  “If she cuts me?”

The carriage rattled over a bump in the road, causing Darcy to lurch as he considered how to respond to this latest inquiry.  This subject had occupied Bingley’s entire conversation for the length of their journey to Hertfordshire.  Darcy considered new ways to offer reassurances. “It is highly doubtful that Miss Bennet has ever cut anyone in her life.”

 “No, no.  She is an angel.”  With a small sigh, Bingley fell back against the squabs.  Within a few minutes he would no doubt find a fresh cause for concern, which Darcy would need to assuage.
Darcy gritted his teeth, wishing he could be as sanguine about his welcome as he was about Bingley’s.  Miss Jane Bennet would assuredly receive his friend with tolerable composure and a warm smile, but Darcy could not be as certain about his own reception.  Miss Elizabeth Bennet was unlikely to cut Darcy publicly, but her reception of him might be cool.  Even disdainful.  She might even refuse to speak with him in private, thus depriving him of the opportunity to apologize for his behavior in Kent. The words he had uttered during his proposal at Hunsford Parsonage continued to haunt him; only a heartfelt and abject apology could possibly exorcise them.

Bingley need only apologize to Jane Bennet for his precipitous departure from Netherfield in November.  In contrast, Darcy sought Elizabeth’s forgiveness for having offended and insulted her—and her family—while making her an offer of marriage.  Not for the first time he wondered if there had ever been such a maladroit proposal in the history of the world.

Darcy’s fingers drummed restlessly on the seat beside his leg.  Perhaps this was a fool’s errand.  Upon waking that morning, Darcy had nearly convinced himself of its futility; were it not for his obligation to Bingley, he might have begged off the whole venture.

Darcy’s regret over his role in separating Bingley and Miss Bennet had been increasing for some time. As had, he admitted to himself, his desire to see Elizabeth Bennet once more.  Two days ago, Darcy had finally confessed to his friend that he had concealed Miss Bennet’s presence in London the previous winter.  He also had unburdened himself of the entire sad tale of his proposal to Elizabeth at Hunsford. While rejecting Darcy, Elizabeth had suggested that her older sister had been anything but indifferent to Bingley and actually had mourned the loss of his company.

Bingley’s fitting anger at Darcy’s duplicity had quickly given way to eagerness to see the woman again and seek her forgiveness.  When Darcy offered to make amends for his deceit, Bingley demanded that Darcy accompany him to Netherfield as his penance. Darcy had agreed with alacrity.  Over the long months of May and June, he had harbored delightful fantasies of encountering Elizabeth, begging her forgiveness, and demonstrating the amiable side of his nature.  Perhaps there was hope he could change her opinion of him.

But the nearer the horses brought them to Longbourn, the more Darcy’s doubts increased.  While Bingley had every reason to anticipate a warm reception, Darcy did not.  After all, Jane Bennet had never declared Bingley to be the last man in the world she would ever be tempted to marry.

Bingley’s voice roused Darcy from his reverie and the sight of both his fists clenched on his thighs.  Deliberately relaxing his stiff hands, he nodded at Bingley.  A smile was beyond his capacity at the moment.

But his friend was not concerned with Darcy’s state of mind.  “What if she is engaged to somebody else?”

“Surely not in so short a span of time,” Darcy said even as his mind seized the possibility.  Elizabeth might have accepted an offer from another man! Nausea roiled his stomach as Darcy silently urged the carriage to greater swiftness—as if arriving half an hour earlier could thwart such an event.
Dear Lord, there were so many possibilities with which he could torment himself.
Momentarily appeased, Bingley glanced idly out of the window.  In relaying the story of the disastrous proposal in Kent, Darcy had deliberately avoided details.  His friend did not know of the vehemence of Elizabeth’s rejection or how badly he had botched the proposal.  If Bingley understood on what terms they had parted, he never would have suggested that Darcy face her again.  He would not have understood why Darcy leapt at the opportunity to visit Longbourn.

Darcy did not understand it himself, save that he had no choice.

Darcy had tried for the better part of three months to forget his feelings for Elizabeth, but she had haunted his waking thoughts and inhabited his dreams.  His stubborn heart insisted that only Elizabeth would make an acceptable wife. Every other woman he met paled in comparison.
Bingley noted the angle of the sun. “We are in good time.  Perhaps we might visit Longbourn before arriving at Netherfield?”

“Of course,” Darcy said, simultaneously anticipating and dreading the inevitable.
Darcy stretched his stiff legs as he alighted from the carriage, hoping that the Bennets would offer them some refreshments. Hours in a closed coach had made for a stifling journey.

The late afternoon sun was still bright, and Darcy squinted as he surveyed the front of Longbourn.  There was none of the activity he associated with the house—no servants bustling about or chickens pecking along the drive.  The sounds of giggling Bennet daughters did not float in from the garden.  Was the family from home?  No, there was no reason for alarm; everyone simply must have sought refuge from the heat in the relative coolness of the house.

The two men strode to the front door, and Darcy reached out to knock—only to withdraw his hand with an oath.  A length of black crepe had been secured to the knocker.

Bingley sucked in a breath.  “They are in mourning.”

The two friends exchanged a swift glance.  If only Darcy knew the family well enough to have maintained a correspondence with Mr. Bennet! Or indeed anyone in the neighborhood.  But he had been too proud then to forge the ties that would provide him with valuable information now.
What if they mourned Elizabeth’s father?  The Longbourn property was entailed away upon the odious Collins, placing the Bennets in distressing circumstances.  Or perhaps it was Elizabeth’s mother—or one of her sisters. Darcy’s heart clenched painfully in his chest.  What had Elizabeth endured these past few months?  He should have visited earlier.

Bracing himself for distressing news, Darcy banged the head of his walking stick on the door.
The ensuing wait stretched several minutes, tempting Darcy to knock again, but finally the door was opened by a craggy faced housekeeper.  She stared dully at the two men, only coming alive when they gave their names and produced cards.

She ushered them into a cramped drawing room, mumbling that the family would soon join them. Darcy’s eye was caught by a fraying sofa arm and several chairs at least thirty years out of fashion, but he dismissed such observations as uncharitable.  The housekeeper eventually returned with a tea service that she set on a low table, but they still saw nobody from the family.

After several minutes, the door opened to admit Mr. Bennet, moving slowly and with a heavy tread.  At least he was not the one who had perished, Darcy thought with relief. Still, he might have aged ten years since their last meeting; Bennet’s face was drawn and pale as he shook his visitors’ hands.  They had exchanged only a few pleasantries before Mrs. Bennet and Miss Jane Bennet—both wearing black mourning clothes—slipped into the room.  Darcy had hoped the deceased was some distant relative, but their demeanor and dress suggested otherwise.

Mrs. Bennet gave Darcy a cursory curtsey but hurried to Bingley, embracing him warmly.  “Mr. Bingley, I am so glad you are come, even under these circumstances!”

“I am very glad to be back in Hertfordshire, madam,” Bingley responded.

Surprisingly, the normally voluble Mrs. Bennet did not follow up on the subject but merely invited them to sit. Darcy took a chair opposite the three Bennets while Bingley and Jane had somehow managed to sit beside each other. A long, uncomfortable silence followed.

“I am afraid we are behind the news,” Bingley said finally, his face solemn.  “I see that your family is in mourning…?”

Jane Bennet’s hand flew to her mouth, her eyes wide with horror.

“You do not know?” Mrs. Bennet exclaimed.  “I thought you called to offer your condolences.”

“I am afraid we have had no recent word from Meryton,” Bingley responded.

Tears rolled down Jane’s cheeks.  Darcy found himself holding his breath.  All evidence suggested a grave loss.  Had one of the younger daughters perished?

“Our darling Lizzy is gone!” Mrs. Bennet sobbed.  “Gone!  A full fortnight now.”

Victoria has offered up a copy of  The Unforgettable Mr Darcy to one lucky Austen in August reader, in ebook or paperback format -- winner's choice!
And make sure to stop back by on Thursday to win an audiobook of The Secrets of Darcy & Elizabeth!


Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter.

Anyone caught trying to “game” the system will have their entries invalidated, and will be barred from future giveaways. Void where prohibited.

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All Austen in August giveaways are open until September 7th at 11:59 Eastern.

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  1. Oooo I love the sound of this. What a fantastic idea. *fingers crossed*

  2. I read this excerpt before and it is one of my favorite cliffhangers as I really want to find out how Mr. Darcy reacts to this news.

  3. While doing research for The Unforgettable Mr. Darcy, I learned a lot about espionage activities during the Napoleonic Wars. In particular, I read about the Alien office (part of the Home Office) which was basically the British government’s first official spy agency. I learned about a number of fascinating incidents which would make great scenes in novels but didn’t fit into this ebook. Still, I think that anyone who is interested in the era would find them remarkable

  4. Bingley is so adorable in the carriage. He lets his imagination run wild thinking about the what ifs that may happen and Darcy is there to comfort him as a dear friend should. Thank you for sharing this enticing excerpt, Victoria.

  5. I have read several blog recommendations of this book and definitely plan toread it. Thanks for another gieaway chance!

  6. I like the worrying of the gentleman on their way back to the Bennets. Thanks for sharing your book with #Austeninaugust.

  7. This book sounds so good!! Cant wait to read it!

  8. Darn, already have it and all the others except for "President". Love all your books, don't know why I haven't gotten "President".

  9. "After all, Jane Bennet had never declared Bingley to be the last man in the world she would ever be tempted to marry."
    How true! It sums up the presumption of Darcy's actions and the irony of offering for Elizabeth after thwarting Jane's romance perfectly... but of course what awaits him in this universe is much worse.


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