Read Falling for Mr. Darcy Online
Authors: KaraLynne Mackrory
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Falling for Mr. Darcy
Copyright © 2012 by KaraLynne Mackrory
All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any format whatsoever. For information: P.O. Box 34, Oysterville WA 98641
Graphic design by Ellen Pickels; cover images by Edmund Blair Leighton: “Off” (1900), “On the Threshold” (1900) and “A Source of Admiration” (1904)
Once upon a time, a girl fell in love with a boy who existed only in the pages of a book. I owe many thanks to those who, in small ways and great, helped me along this path.
To Michele Reed and Ellen Pickels at Meryton Press, for their faith, excitement, and support throughout this process; to Gail Warner, my wonderful editor, whose insight and shared love of swoon-worthy moments made for a memorable experience working together; and to Damon Larson who must bear the responsibility for first introducing me to one Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley in his sophomore English class.
Undoubtedly, I also must thank my dear friends and family who excitedly giggled with me after each chapter. Together, we affectionately pretended every bit of the story was real.
Lastly, to Jane Austen, who first created these lovable characters and captured my heart so thoroughly with her books.
My own dreamboat Mr. Darcy: my husband, Andrew, whose
gentlemanly ways made imagining a hero an easy task.
Elizabeth awoke refreshed as she opened her eyes and looked towards her bedroom window. The great oak blew its colorful, autumn leaves in the breeze, beckoning her outside. While at Netherfield, she was unable to take morning walks due to the poor weather and her duty nursing Jane. Now that she was home, she was eager to return to the outdoors and her favorite walks.
Thinking of Jane, she smiled. Ever since returning from Netherfield, Jane had a look of contentment about her. She was always serene and docile in the display of her feelings, but Elizabeth knew her expressions better than anyone and could tell that she was truly lost to Mr. Bingley. Sometimes she would catch Jane’s gaze becoming wistful from some remembered conversation, and a slight smile would steal across her face. Whenever Elizabeth caught her in one of these moments, her sister would blush, and before Jane could lower her eyes to her hands, Elizabeth would catch in them the love for Mr. Bingley that could not be hidden.
Elizabeth looked at Jane, asleep next to her in their bed. Even in slumber, the corners of her mouth turned slightly upwards. Yes, it had been good to be at Netherfield for those few days. Though she cursed her mother for her thoughtlessness in contriving such a plan, it had turned out well — well, except for that awful Mr. Darcy.
Elizabeth pondered Mr. Darcy for a moment as she carefully slipped out of the warmth of the bed, trying not to waken Jane. Sitting at her dressing table, she began to comb through her tousled chocolate curls. She thought Mr. Darcy a mystery. He always looked so stern — frozen like a statue. When he spoke, his Derbyshire accent commanded attention even when it was unwanted. He was very handsome — she had to admit to herself — with strong, broad shoulders and a lean, powerful stance.
It is too bad he cannot be as attractive in personality as he is in body.
What am I doing pondering Mr. Darcy’s features! He is ill tempered, and he certainly thinks himself more worthy than Mr. Bingley’s country neighbors. And I am only tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt him!
A laugh escaped Elizabeth’s mouth before she could cover it with her hands.
Thinking she had better steal out of the house before everyone awoke, Elizabeth turned her attention back to the task of getting ready for her walk. She pulled her unruly curls into a simple, low bun and dressed in a rose-colored muslin walking-gown with yellow embroidered flowers at the sleeves and hem. It was one of her favorites, and it was bright and happy like her mood. After pulling on half boots, she grabbed her bonnet and quietly exited the room.
The smell of freshly baked sweet bread and tea brewing made her stomach rumble. Descending the stairs carefully to avoid the squeaky parts and not lose her balance, she came to the landing and saw light under the door to her father’s library. She smiled; she should have guessed her father, at least, would be awake. He was an early riser like Elizabeth, and some of her favorite memories were of their private talks and discussions as they shared a cup of tea before the rest of the house arose. She decided to step in quickly and say hello.
After knocking softly on the door, she heard, “Come in.”
“Good morning, Papa.”
“Hello, Lizzy. I suspected it would be you. Are you not tired this morning?”
Elizabeth poured a cup of tea from the sideboard. “No, Papa, I feel quite refreshed and thought I would venture out on a walk this morning.”
“Ahh yes, a walk — most refreshing,” replied Mr. Bennet, smiling.
Elizabeth smiled inwardly as she savored the earthy taste of her tea. This was the game they played most mornings. Elizabeth would mention going on a walk, and Mr. Bennet would act as if he was interested in accompanying her. Then she would invite him to join her, but he would decline stating business that needed attending. It was their way of laughing at the notion of impropriety that some in society held about ladies walking out alone, as well as a way Mr. Bennet could express that he wished her to be safe. “Would you like to come with me, Papa?”
“No, Poppet, you go on by yourself. I should like to continue with my book. It is quite windy out today, though; take your wrap.”
“I will be safe, Papa,” she said, as she put her empty cup on the table and bent to kiss his forehead before turning to go.
Outside the library door, she smiled and shook her head at her father’s way of expressing his love and concern. He never had been able to say exactly what he was feeling and would use humor or sarcasm instead. Elizabeth understood this, as she often used her wit as a defense. This was one reason she felt so close to her father and they understood each other so well. Donning her bonnet and wrap, she walked excitedly out of the house, anticipating a long, morning stroll. As soon as she was outside, she was pushed slightly as a gust of wind caught her off-guard. Laughing, she pulled her wrap closer around her, bent her shoulder into the wind and took off at a quick pace towards her favorite pathway.
* * *
Mr. Darcy had not slept well at all. Miss Elizabeth Bennet assaulted his every thought late into the night. He just could not determine what it was about her that captivated him. Having her at Netherfield had been dangerous; she was not only inside his mind but also physically in the room with him on several occasions. He tried desperately to chase away thoughts of her fine eyes by reading, riding his horse or writing letters. Nothing worked. He would just accomplish pushing those delectable eyes out of his mind, only to have them replaced by thoughts of her silky, dark curls.
What would they feel like in my hands?
No! This will not do!
Agitated, he threw the counterpane off and got out of bed, ringing the bell for his valet, Rogers.
He was in serious danger of caring for Miss Elizabeth Bennet — really caring for her. When he saw her tenderly nurse her sister back to health, he thought of how his own sister, Georgiana, would blossom under the care of Miss Elizabeth. There was intelligence in her eyes that captured him and made him want to engage in conversation with her. Thinking of engaging with Miss Elizabeth induced thoughts of being engaged to her and holding her soft, delicate hands. Mr. Darcy shook his head violently. It could never happen.
he groaned aloud,
Mrs. Bennet was exasperating and completely inappropriate. Her sisters were serious flirts and lacked any proper decorum or intelligence. Mr. Bennet, he allowed, was well read, even interesting, but Darcy could not overlook the way Mr. Bennet ignored the behavior of his family. How was it that Miss Bennet and Miss Elizabeth were so different from the rest?
While at Netherfield, they were everything proper. Miss Elizabeth even bore the subtle insults of Miss Bingley with class and a gentle, rebounding wit. He smiled, remembering the many times she outsmarted and deflected Miss Bingley’s slurs. He admired her, and it made him realize how ill bred it was of Miss Bingley to behave that way, especially to a guest in her brother’s house. Miss Elizabeth was truly remarkable, especially when the sides of her mouth turned upwards slightly in a sly smile, her one eyebrow rising in challenge to him and her eyes alight with mischief . . .
Ohhh, I am undone!
Those eyes beguiled him at every turn. They beckoned him and drew him in.