Mr-Darcy's-Christmas-Cover-newSet in the wonderful world of Jane Austen, this sparkling and witty Regency romantic comedy takes us to Pemberley for an enchanting Christmas novella of intrigue and love.

Georgiana Darcy, haunted by her near-elopement with Mr Wickham, plays safe when she accepts a proposal of marriage from handsome, rich and well-born Mr Moresby. Her brother, Mr Darcy, finds him prosy and Elizabeth has her doubts about him: is this really going to be a happy marriage?

The Darcy family gather at Pemberley to celebrate Christmas and enjoy the delights of the season, culminating in a ball to celebrate Georgiana’s engagement. But a serpent lurks amid the greenery and Yule candles, as envious Caroline Bingley sets out to ruin her dear friend, Georgiana.

Can the attractive and sympathetic Sir Giles Hawkins rekindle Georgiana’s true Darcy spirit? Will she fight to save her reputation?

And will she at last listen to what her heart is telling her about love and happiness?

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MR DARCY’S CHRISTMAS

by

Elizabeth Aston

 

Chapter One

 

Georgiana Darcy, warmly wrapped in a pelisse and wearing a dashing hat, said her goodbyes and climbed into the carriage. Mr Darcy exchanged a few words with the coachman before joining her, the groom stood away from the horses’ heads and they were off.

As the carriage swayed on its way down the long drive, Georgiana looked out at the chilly morning. She wished the journey were over and they were already at Pemberley. And then she remembered that this would be the last time she would spend Christmas as Miss Darcy and probably the last time she would be at Pemberley for the festive season. This time next year she would be Mrs Moresby, passing the midwinter weeks with her husband’s family at Moresby Hall in Sussex.

Her brother leaned forward to look out at the pale sunshine now threatened by dark clouds gathering in the north east. “It looks as though we may have snow,” he observed. He sat back and drew out some papers from the leather case on his knees.

Georgiana knew her brother well enough to feel sure he would be absorbed in these papers for as long as the light held, and then afterwards, as dusk approached, by the light of the carriage lamp. She didn’t hold it against him that he was such a silent and withdrawn companion, for she knew how important was the government business that engaged her brother, serving his country in time of war.

Georgiana had shared Elizabeth Darcy’s fears that Mr Darcy might not be able to leave London, but tomorrow was Christmas Eve and, even in time of war, normal life must sometimes prevail. Georgiana was sure her brother was looking forward to being back at Pemberley to celebrate the festivities of the season with his wife and young daughters.

They had set off from London from the Darcys’ town house the day before and had stayed overnight with friends in Northamptonshire. Now they were on the final leg of the journey, with many tedious hours to get through before they were at home.

Georgiana had a book, but it lay unopened on her lap. She snuggled into the corner, drawing herself under a fur rug, watching the bleak and lonely landscape going past, wrapped in her own thoughts. She was thinking about Francis Moresby, the man she was going to marry. The announcement had not yet appeared in the London Gazette; it was only a few days ago that Mr Moresby had called on her brother the previous week to ask formally for her hand in marriage.

Mr Darcy had given his consent, although Georgiana was still unsure how pleased Mr Darcy was at the betrothal. She winced at the recollection of the talk he had with her after Mr Moresby had left the house. Her brother was so serious, so stern in wanting her assurances that she did indeed want to marry Mr Moresby, that she was truly following the instincts of her heart as well as head.

“Marriage can be a lottery, as many people have said, and I would hate for you, my dearest Georgiana, to make a mistake in choosing your life’s companion. Mr Moresby is a good man, no doubt: everything fine about him, a man of rank, highly regarded, heir to a noble title, rich and, so the ladies tell me, as handsome as he is gallant. I also know him to be a man of strict, if not rigid, morality. This may be why he is not the liveliest of men. . .”

Here she had interrupted him. “As to that, do you want me to marry someone lively, as you put it? To choose some restless man, one never content with his company or situation?”

“No, that is not what I mean, as you perfectly well know. He is clearly a clever man with a well-informed mind, but I find him prosy in his conversation and perhaps lacking in humour.”

“As you say, he is a man of strong moral principle, he speaks only after reflection. I like that in a man.”

“So you are quite sure?”

“Quite. He is a man with whom I feel safe.”

He frowned at that, but she took his hand and strove to assure him that she felt all the affection for Mr Moresby as was proper for the man she had chosen to be her husband. “I do love him, you haven’t mentioned love.”

“He did not mention it himself, when he spoke to me. That could be from reserve, I wouldn’t presume to criticise a man for that.” He paused and then went on, “I had at one time thought you and young Daunton might make a match of it.”

“I like Captain Daunton well enough, but I could not think of him in that way. He is too volatile for a husband.”

Too attractive, with his quizzing eyes; too dangerous, how could you trust such a man? She had liked him a great deal, had felt the power of his attraction and then, alarmed, had drawn back from his advances.

Once repelled, he had quickly found himself another object for his attentions. It had been a passing fancy, no more, and she was relieved rather than regretful or jealous when she saw him dancing attendance on Miss Bridgewater. Nor were her congratulations on his subsequent engagement anything other than sincere and wholehearted.

A very different kind of man from Mr Moresby, and she thanked God for it. She wanted a reliable husband, a man she could feel safe with, as she had told her brother. Charm was all very well for a dancing partner, but not for marriage.

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