This surprisingly steamy sequel to Pride and Prejudice is the first of Lathan's fan-fiction interpretations of life after "happily ever after" for Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. The story, which opens moments after the lavish wedding ceremony, finds the new Mr. and Mrs. Darcy nestled into a carriage bound for their honeymoon. With curious minds, hands and mouths, they while away their vacation-and the following weeks and months, as they set up house at Pemberley-relishing their privacy and delighting in their new roles as husband and wife. And when the talk grows tiresome or those hours apart unbearable, they tumble into bed-or onto a bearskin rug. Still, through the haze of wedded bliss, time marches on: to Lizzy's delight, Darcy's sister, Georgiana, returns home just as Christmas preparations are underway, but all is not calm-the marquis of Orman, whom Elizabeth first encounters at the Twelfth Night Ball, has sinister intentions. This is probably the hottest Austen sequel yet. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become Oneby Sharon Lathan
Sharon Lathan presents Mr & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the sweetest, most romantic Jane Austen sequel.
The first in a series that follows Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from their wedding day into married life, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy is inspired by the Keira Knightley/Matthew MacFayden movie. The author vividly imagines this young and/b>/p>/i>… See more details below
Sharon Lathan presents Mr & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the sweetest, most romantic Jane Austen sequel.
The first in a series that follows Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy from their wedding day into married life, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy is inspired by the Keira Knightley/Matthew MacFayden movie. The author vividly imagines this young and energetic couple as they immerse themselves in their profound love and face the challenges of their era.
Elizabeth and Darcy are positively goo-goo eyes for each other and the burgeoning love and closeness between them drives the plot. As the narrative unfolds through the honeymoon and then the challenges of Elizabeth assuming the role of Mistress of Pemberley, Darcy and Elizabeth thoroughly reveal their differing points of view of how their relationship blossomed from misunderstanding to perfect understanding. As the couple grows in maturity and understanding, as they accustom themselves to each other and to married life, Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy emerges as a fascinating portrait of a deep and passionate marriage.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING:
"This journey is truly amazing."
"So beautifully written... making me feel as though I was in the room with Lizzy and Darcy... and sharing in all of the touching moments between."
"What a wonderful beginning to this truly beautiful marriage."
"I love your style of writing, the vocabulary you use, and the way you describe things but still leave things to the imagination."
"Could not stop reading."
"One can visualize, quite accurately, every detail."
Read an Excerpt
Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam DarcyTwo Shall Become One
By Sharon Lathan
Sourcebooks, Inc.Copyright © 2009 Sharon Lathan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy
Thank goodness it is finally over, Fitzwilliam Darcy thought with a heavy sigh.
He realized that he probably should not entertain such a thought, but it could not be helped. The past eight weeks of his engagement had held many wonderful moments and all in all had been delightful, but also exceedingly trying. Daily he wanted nothing more than to spend time with his beloved Elizabeth. However, the constant pressures of wedding plans, visits from a seemingly inexhaustible quantity of friends and family, constraints of propriety, and business interests that had taken him from Hertfordshire on several occasions all had conspired to separate him from her far too often. Add to that his own uneasiness with all the social engagements, not to mention his continued distaste for Mrs. Bennet, and the weeks had seemed interminable.
Nonetheless, he thought while gazing lovingly upon his sleeping wife ... my wife! ... There certainly were some marvelous times to be remembered. In truth, he and Elizabeth had managed to pass numerous satisfying hours together alone, or at least almost alone, yet it never was sufficient as far as Darcy was concerned. She had teased him on occasion for actinglike a petulant child whose favorite toy had been taken away. Initially, he had been a bit offended, but then he realized she was correct and had to laugh at himself. Yet he could not deny how bereft he felt without her by his side and how he had treasured every moment that they were together, even if it was brief.
They discovered, much to their mutual joy, that the trials of the previous months, during which each had suffered tremendously, had brought them to a place of complete understanding and honesty. The conversations they now shared were open, deeply profound, intimate, and blessedly free of all artifice and misunderstanding. He had revealed himself to her as he never had to any living soul, not even to his sister or dear Cousin Richard. She had done the same.
They had strived to learn as much as possible about each other. The resulting adoration and respect had only grown deeper with each passing day. And all this before they were married! Now they were truly husband and wife, and Darcy could only imagine their love and communion growing stronger.
He rested his head back against the rocking carriage wall, tightened his arm around Elizabeth, and closed his eyes as his thoughts continued to drift. The ceremony itself had been lovely. The women had triumphed in every aspect of the arrangements. Frankly, Darcy could not have cared less about the decorations as long as his precious Elizabeth became his wife. However, he understood the importance of these things to the ladies and had to admit that the Meryton church and the reception hall at Netherfield were stupendously adorned with flowers in profusion, ribbons and bows, candles and more.
Darcy merely gave it all a cursory glance, eyes riveted to the door. Once Elizabeth entered on the arm of her proud father, Darcy saw or heard very little else. She simply stole away his breath and all conscious thought! How he managed to recite his vows was a mystery. Elizabeth was wearing a simple but lovely white gown of silk with lace along the edges and a golden sash. She had styled her hair in an elaborate design of curls and braids with thin gold ribbon and buds of baby's breath and lavender intertwined. She wore the strand of sapphires he had given her as an engagement gift around her slender neck. Her fine eyes sparkled, her cheeks were rosy, and that special smile only for him highlighted her luscious lips. It was a picture imprinted on his mind's eye and would remain there flawlessly rendered for all of his life.
The lovely and ancient church in Meryton, where the Bennet family had worshipped for years, was perfectly suited for the ceremony. In truth, Darcy had always imagined marrying in the chapel at Pemberley and was mildly saddened initially at the natural choice to marry where both Bennet daughters had grown up. However, he quickly recognized the logic to the decision and realized that he honestly did not care as long as they were married with the sanction of the Church, religion being a vital part of his life.
The elderly vicar performed the traditional ceremony impeccably, his strong voice reciting the vows and quoting Holy Scripture with firm conviction. When Darcy slipped the slim, etched-in-jewels gold band onto Elizabeth's finger, nestling it alongside the sapphire and diamond engagement ring that had been his mother's, it was far and away the most profoundly moving moment in his life.
Elizabeth stirred slightly and he pressed her closer to his side, kissing her gently on the top of her head. He pulled the blanket further over her body and tucked it in. Once he was sure she still slept, he rested his cheek on her head and went back to his daydreams.
The reception at Netherfield was joyous, filled with all of their respective friends and relatives. The food was superb, the musicians exceptional, and the wine of the best vintage. Darcy had an extremely difficult time tearing his eyes away from his bride, but he did manage to congratulate Charles and Jane on their nuptials as well, realizing with a start that Jane looked quite beautiful herself. He was embarrassed to admit that he had not even noticed her presence at the church's altar alongside Elizabeth!
He and Lizzy had previously agreed that they would make their escape as soon as good manners would allow. Darcy had secured lodging at the White Stag Inn near Bedford. He had discovered this superb establishment years earlier while still at Cambridge. Located only a few miles off the main thoroughfare to London-on the turnpike to Cambridge, in fact-it was secluded enough to fulfill his preference for quiet while traveling, but also popular enough as a halting place for those journeying to Newmarket for the races, or on to Suffolk for the sea, so that it was well maintained.
It was also the perfect resting point for the two-day ride between London and Pemberley, a trek he had completed more times that he could remember. He had stayed at the White Stag so frequently over the years that the owners, a pleasant couple named Hamilton, knew him well. They had been ecstatic at the idea of hosting him and his new bride for the initial days of their married life.
All arrangements had been made in advance and, to ensure their privacy, he had rented out the entire second story. Luckily, the late time of year meant the road would be lightly traveled, with hired coaches rarely passing and passengers minimal. Even the pub would see few customers, although it would not matter greatly, as their suite was to the rear of the sturdy red-brick building and well away from the public rooms.
Their luggage had been sent ahead earlier in the day, so all would be ready upon their arrival. Darcy was breathless in anticipation of this night! Not just for the obvious reasons of their promised intimacy and consummation of their marriage, but for the peace and relief from the hustle and bustle of the past two months. Just to be alone with his beloved! Never in his life had any evening been so tremendously and lovingly contemplated.
The carriage pulled off the main road, and Darcy knew they were close to their destination. "Elizabeth," he whispered softly, "wake up, my love; we are almost there."
She moaned softly and wriggled closer to his side, wrapping her arms tighter around his waist. "Much too comfortable here," she murmured sleepily. "Do not want to move."
Darcy chuckled. "Well, imagine your heightened comfort in our room, and perhaps that will help you wake up."
She leaned her head back, safe and warm within the circle of his embrace, gazed into his brilliant eyes, and smiled. "You make an excellent point, Mr. Darcy, most excellent indeed!"
They stared for a long moment with their arms remaining tightly wound about each other. Finally Elizabeth could stand it no longer and exclaimed with breathless impertinence, "Are you going to kiss me, husband, or do I need to beg?"
He smiled impishly. "Perhaps I should have you beg. That might be interesting to watch. The proud Miss Bennet begging."
"Ah, but I am no longer Miss Bennet and since you hold the monopoly on pride, William, I daresay I would not be very amusing at all!" Her eyes were twinkling as they always did when she teased him.
He feigned deep consideration and seriousness while lowering his face to hers slowly. "Now it appears it is your turn to make an excellent point, Mrs. Darcy." He kissed her gently at first, then deeply as she responded in kind. Cupping one cheek and caressing tenderly, Darcy murmured, "I love you, Elizabeth, my wife." Allowing no opportunity for her to reply, he reclaimed her lips. Who knows how far the kisses may have gone, but, alas, they were interrupted by the carriage stopping with a jolt. Darcy released his wife with a lingering caress and regretful sigh.
They were greeted at the courtyard door of the inn by Mr. Hamilton. He welcomed them both as they alighted from the carriage and hurried them into the warm and inviting reception room. A servant took their coats and gloves. Darcy spoke to Mr. Hamilton, assuring that all arrangements had been carried out, while Elizabeth looked around the room. The pub was to the left through an archway of polished oak and gray stone. Two men in farmer's garb sat at the edge of the bar, ale mugs in hand, as they attended to an unseen minstrel whose strains of violin music could be faintly heard.
The reception area was a quaint and cozy room warmed by a roaring fire in a huge fireplace located to the right; numerous chairs and couches were positioned around the heat source. An older gentleman sat in one chair, newspaper in hand, attending avidly to the words. A middle-aged couple sat upon a settee, lifting smiling faces to the Darcys, and nodding politely. There were rooms and hallways branching off from the main chamber, including a public dining area and what appeared to be a tiny library. Lizzy's attention was diverted to a stout woman with a sunny face who appeared from around a large desk.
"Welcome, welcome!" she sang. "Mr. and Mrs. Darcy! How delightful! Newlyweds! How precious it is to have you spending your first days with us!" Mr. Hamilton turned and introduced his wife to Lizzy.
Mrs. Hamilton continued in her breathless, singsong way of talking, "Mr. Darcy has been our guest so very often! And now he is married! What a blessing it is! A private parlor is set up for dining, Mr. Darcy, just as you requested! Dinner will be ready momentarily! All the dishes you asked for, Mr. Darcy! Very private!"
She took Elizabeth's hands and guided her toward a far room, all the while prattling on, "You look absolutely radiant, my dear! Stunning gown! And your hair! Beautiful!"
As Mrs. Hamilton continued, Lizzy glanced back to see Darcy grinning as he followed the two women down a short corridor to a small parlor over-looking the moonlit meadow outside the paned windows. Mrs. Hamilton seated them at a small table close to the fire, bustling about and rattling on, until Mr. Hamilton coaxed her out of the room with a promise that they would be left as unaccompanied as possible. Once alone, Darcy and Lizzy could not resist laughing.
"Are you pleased, dearest?" Darcy asked, scooting his chair nearer until their knees were touching.
"Oh yes, William, it is all so very wonderful." She reached over and took his hand, squeezing it gently. "You have gone to so much trouble for me, and I do so appreciate it."
"It was no trouble at all, my love, and I must confess I was not only thinking of you," he replied with a laugh, kissing her fingers. "As we have established, I am a rather selfish man and I want you all to myself, far away from Bennets and Bingleys or anyone else!"
"Well, now you have me, for better or worse. I hope I do not disappoint," she said with a sly look from under her lashes and a firm squeeze to his knee.
Suddenly Darcy had a difficult time catching his breath. "Oh no, Elizabeth. I am positive that it would be impossible for you to disappoint me in any situation." He placed his free hand over the dainty one resting on his knee, leaning instinctively toward her.
Sadly, before any further action could be taken, a maid entered with the first course. Darcy jerked backward with a ready blush, Lizzy laughing. The dinner was excellent, all of Elizabeth's favorite dishes, but neither of them were hungry. Odd, considering they had not eaten much all day, what with wedding jitters and endless socializing. The fact that this finally was their wedding night seemed to occur to them both at the same time. Anxiousness, underlying passion, and hints of nervousness dissolved any appetite.
Finally the courses had been served and taken away barely eaten. With scarcely concealed enthusiasm and a faint rosiness to her cheeks, Elizabeth announced that she would retire to her dressing room to change. Darcy nearly choked on his wine, but managed to maintain a calm demeanor as she rose from the table and leaned over to give him a brief kiss of passionate promise.
"Will it suit you if I am ready in half an hour?" she asked softly, to which he could only nod. With a tender caress to his cheek, she turned and left the room.
Never had thirty minutes lasted so long! Darcy truly thought he would lose his mind. He wandered into the small library and pulled a book off a shelf at random. Any attempt to actually read it was ludicrous to the extreme, but he made a show of it, employing all his well-perfected composure.
After twenty minutes he could stand it no longer and briskly strode to his dressing room. The house's manservant was awaiting him and assisted Darcy with his toilette. Darcy again found himself calling upon every ounce of his strength of will not to rush through the agonizingly slow procedures. Common sense did prevail, thankfully, since he did not reckon his new wife would appreciate her new husband arriving with a bleeding face!
Eventually all was done and he nervously entered the bedchamber, only to find it empty of his wife. He wandered around the room, pleased with the décor and the attention to detail Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton had ensured. There were several vases of flowers about the room, a bottle of chilled champagne, a platter of fruits and sweets and breads, a sofa, and an enormous bearskin rug with several cushions before the blazing fire. The spacious four-poster bed was turned down invitingly, plump pillows waiting. Darcy went to the window and gazed out at the moonlit lake behind the house, breathing deeply to calm his nerves and halt his trembling. Nothing to do but wait.
* * *
Lizzy finished her preparations and dismissed her maid. The allotted thirty minutes had passed, but she remained seated at her vanity absently brushing her hair as she stared into the mirror, lost in memory.
Lizzy was no longer afraid of the intimacy to take place this night. In fact, she was actually highly excited, as scandalous as that may be in the opinion of some, such as her mother. However, it had taken some time for her to come to her current level of anticipation. She was a maiden, of course, but she understood the concept of the mating process. She had grown up on a working farm after all! However, understanding the mechanics of the sexual act in animals was far different than comprehending all the nuances inherent in the activity between people. The truth was that she had given the matter absolutely no thought.
Upon her engagement, especially with the first tender kisses and touches of her betrothed, she found herself unable not to consider the realities. In fact, there were times when her mind could not focus on any topic except the intimate relationship between a man and woman, or more specifically between her and her fiancé. Usually, these times occurred when Darcy was near, but even visualizing him elicited the musings. Also, there were her dreams. The feelings and sensations his very presence engendered, not to mention when he touched or kissed her, were strong and incredibly pleasant.
Excerpted from Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Sharon Lathan Copyright © 2009 by Sharon Lathan. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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