Read Darcy's Temptation Online

Authors: Regina Jeffers

Darcy's Temptation

Table of Contents
 
 
 
This book is dedicated to all those
who believe true love is the most compelling of tasks.
“Sonnet 42”
 
That thou hast her, it is not all my grief,
And yet, it may be said I loved her dearly;
That she hath thee, is of my wailing chief,
A loss in love that touches me more nearly.
Loving offenders, thus I will excuse ye:
Thou dost love her, because thou knowst I love her;
And for my sake even so doth she abuse me,
Suffering my friend for my sake to approve her.
If I lose thee, my loss is my love's gain,
And losing her, my friend hath found that loss;
Both find each other, and I lose both twain,
And both for my sake lay on me this cross:
But there's the joy; my friend and I are one;
Sweet flattery! Then she loves but me alone.
-William Shakespeare
PREFACE
Every woman dreams of her one great love—the man who inspires an emotional response with just a glance across a crowded room. A romance novel must, by definition, exist purely for the advancement of the hero's love affair with the heroine; yet, the reader must want the hero to win the woman's love. To be believable, there must be a connection beyond the sexual appeal; there must be some conflict, which is character-driven. The characters must have believable reasons to be drawn together, as well as to be frustrated by their desires.
The main characters should respond realistically to the emotional conflict.They should have “fatal” flaws and exhibit a sense of vulnerability.The heroine should possess some insecurities and doubts to make the reader embrace her as a viable character.The hero should be honest and live by a strong moral code. He must embody all the qualities the heroine desires in a man. Often, he will easily make decisions for others, and he may not be in tune to the feelings of other people. In traditional historical romances, a gap must exist between the hero and heroine—socially, financially, and emotionally. She must win him over.
Jane Austen's greatest love story—that of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy—has lasted for two hundred years because of its perfection in the manipulation of the situations commonly found in Regency England. Jane Austen created characters who were the perfect fit for each other, but who were not pulled together purely by physical desire.
In
Darcy's Passions,
I followed Austen's original plot line to tell the story of Fitzwilliam Darcy's journey to find love with Elizabeth Bennet. I tried to be true to Austen's plot although I made no attempt to mimic her style; I would consider that an insult—how could I think of copying
perfection
?
My hope in this sequel to
Darcy's Passions
was to have Darcy revisit some of the internal conflict he felt when he first met Elizabeth Bennet. I debated long and hard about whether to use amnesia as part of the plot line. I wanted my readers to know Darcy and Elizabeth belonged together no matter what journey they took to find each other.
In addition, I planned to explore the relationship between Georgiana Darcy and Chadwick Harrison. Harrison, an abolitionist, must face the dangers associated with a strong political agenda. His trials and tribulations must intertwine with those of the Darcys. His and Georgiana's relationship must mirror that of Darcy and Elizabeth.
I created a secondary love affair for Kitty Bennet and Clayton Ashford. At the end of
Pride and Prejudice
, Jane Austen indicated Jane Bingley and Elizabeth Darcy would help Kitty find herself. Later, Austen shared what she perceived to be Kitty Bennet's future: Kitty would marry a clergyman.
Darcy's Temptation
begins the day after
Darcy's Passions
ends—on New Year's Day. It continues the saga of Darcy and Elizabeth through the first year of their marriage. I loved telling the new story line, but, in the beginning, I found it a bit daunting to create new scenarios to establish the characters for readers not familiar with
Pride and Prejudice, Darcy's Passions,
or any other of the many Jane Austen rewrites. I added a twist from
Darcy's Passions
to drive this story forward. In
Darcy's Passions,
Fitzwilliam Darcy briefly met Elizabeth Donnelly. He fancied her until he found her given name to be “Elizabeth,” and then he was lost once again to his memories of Elizabeth Bennet. Elizabeth Donnelly reappears in Darcy's life and tries to reclaim his affections.
It was important to keep the main characters of Darcy and Elizabeth fresh while manipulating the secondary story lines. I tried to balance bringing the readers up to date while entertaining them with the new stories.
I continue to give my thanks to my many students and coworkers who offer their encouragements. Will Davis, who started this process with a “challenge” eighteen months ago, continues to be a vocal supporter, and Brooke Stegall is a phenomenal sounding board. My love, as always, goes out to my son Josh, a brilliant young man in his own right.
 
Regina Jeffers
Indian Trail, North Carolina
CHAPTER 1
“We have all a better guide in ourselves,
if we would attend to it, than any other person can be.”
Jane Austen,
Mansfield Park
, 1817
The light streaked across the room through the slit in the heavy drapes, piercing his eyes, and Fitzwilliam Darcy reluctantly abandoned his dreams of Elizabeth Bennet. Ever since he met her in Hertfordshire over a year ago, the woman possessed his every thought—both waking and sleeping.This particular dream held real possibilities: Elizabeth Bennet lay beside him in bed, her legs wrapped across his body; she smiled her signature enigmatic smile, and Darcy rolled toward her to cup her face in his hands.“I love you, Fitzwilliam,” she whispered.
“You are bewitching.” He returned her smile and lowered his head to kiss her lips.
Elizabeth wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled her body closer to his, and Darcy felt himself becoming aroused by her nearness. “Fitzwilliam,” she whispered as she kissed along his jaw line. “I have something special to tell you; I hope you will be pleased to know I am with child.”
The news ricocheted through his body. “A child, Elizabeth—you are with child? My heir—an heir for Pemberley grows within you. Everything.You are everything, I do so love you, my Lizzy.”
The dream moved to the next level as he caressed her tenderly and kissed the woman he loved more than life. The kiss grew deeper and deeper, and Darcy could feel her passion
grow under his touch. She brought magic to his life and love to his home.
 
“Fitzwilliam,” the voice crept into his subconscious. The arm draped across him lightly rubbed his abdomen, and his back felt the warmth of her body as it snuggled close to his form. He forced his eyelids open to meet the new day, while he instinctively clasped her arm to his body and held it close to him. A smile flitted across his face as the realization of his dream lived in the woman laying behind him in his bed.
“Umm,” he moaned as he loosened her hold on him so he could turn to face her. “Are you awake already, my Love?” Darcy moved the curls from her face.“It's very early,” he whispered to the air.
“I was dreaming about you,” she mumbled, fighting to return to sleep.
He kissed her forehead. “I dreamed of you, Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, since I saw you first in Meryton.”
“Do you mean when I was only tolerable?” A hint of a smile turned up the corners of her mouth as she gave over to being awake.
“Will I never live down that remark?” Darcy teased as his kisses moved down the side of Elizabeth's face.
Elizabeth kept her eyes closed although she now felt fully awake.“Maybe in twenty or thirty years.”
“We will add your ‘last man in the world I could be prevailed upon to marry' to those phrases we wish to forget.” Darcy found her upturned mouth and kissed it tenderly.
“Our child will wonder why his parents once were so foolish.” Elizabeth's free hand snaked around his waist and caressed the small of Darcy's back and down his hips. Instinctively, his hand reached a similar point on her body as he pulled her closer to him.
“Our child will know his parents married for love.” He kissed along her neck and across her shoulder blade.
“Then you are truly happy, my Husband? A finer lady would not please you more?”
Darcy's hand cupped her face. “Remember, my Love, I am sick of civility, of deference, and of officious attention; I desire only the liveliness of your mind.”
Elizabeth's smile and the desire in her eyes encased him.“At the moment, Mr. Darcy, I doubt my mind has anything to do with the warmth I feel coming from your body.”

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