JANE AUSTEN'S FIGHTING MEN by Jack Caldwell


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Book Four of
JANE AUSTEN'S
FIGHTING MEN!

Read an
excerpt below

 
 
 

The day Mr. Darcy has long dreaded has finally come:
Georgiana is engaged to marry.

In 1816, everyone thinks--with the Napoleonic wars over and done--that life in England will be peaceful. Not necessarily.

For four wonderful years, Fitzwilliam Darcy has joyfully lived at his beloved Pemberley with his adored wife, Elizabeth, precious young son, Bennet, and cherished sister, Georgiana, by his side. All this is about to change; Georgiana has fallen in love. In quick succession, the Darcys agree to take in the young and spirted daughter of the widowed Lydia Wickham and then learn that Elizabeth is expecting another child.

Now--with a wedding to plan, a baby on the way, interfering relations invading Pemberley, and a new ward turning the place upside down--the question becomes: How will Mr. Darcy maintain his sanity?

What the Critics Are Saying about Jack Caldwell

"Caldwell writes in the spirit of Austen, with the same wit that cemented Austen's novels as literary classics."

"Achingly romantic and breathlessly paced, it ate me alive with alternating feelings of dread, mirth, tears, and joy…just what a great read is supposed to do."

Except from Brother of the Bride

From Chapter 5

The joyful couple returnto the parlor in good time and proclaimed their happy news. After many hugs, happy tears, and handshakes had been exchanged, Darcy requested that the newly bethrothed pair retire with him to his study for a discussion of their plans.

"Georgiana, as you know, Richard resigned his guardianship when you came of age," Darcy told the couple after they settled into chairs before his desk. "To marry, you need nothing from either of us, but for your dowry, my permission is required, and you have it, of course."

"I would marry your sister no matter her consequence!" declaired Llewellyn. Georgiana gazed at him in adoration.

"Pleasing as those sentiments are, your progeny would certainly regret thirty thousand pounds." Darcy's cutting remark embarrassed the couple, but he pressed on. "Let us be sensible and speak of this, uncomfortable as it may be. Georgie, you are present because I raised you to take an interest in these matters.

"Lord Llewellyn, upon your marriage, these funds will be yours to dispose of as you wish. This, of course, will be covered in the settlement, but a settlement is nothing but a piece of paper. I place enormous trust in your character, milord. I hope you are not offended." Darcy's voice and manner indicated he cared not a whit whether he affronted the young viscount. He wished to make a point.

To his credit, Llewellyn did not answer right away but considered Darcy's words. "What you say is true, sir. Unfortunately, I know of gentlemen who have lost their wives' funds through foolish and reprehensible living, leaving their dependents in desperate straits. I pledge to you that when I take my vows to love and honor Miss Darcy as my wife, I shall also vow to protect and nurture her dowry."

"Well said, milord."

"I trust Lew unreservedly," declared Georgiana.

"Lew, is it?" Darcy smiled.

"Yes," said Llewellyn. "I prefer it to my given name, Algernon. My mother has an affinity for uncommon names. My brothers are Cornelius and Thaddeus, and my sister is Penelope."

"I thought the countess was named Catherine."

Llewellyn shrugged. "A name she dislikes. Mother has never forgiven her parents for not giving her the name Cordelia."

Darcy raised an eyebrow. "I see. But her only daughter is--"

"Penelope, I know. My father allows my mother only so much leeway and no more. Besides, my brother is Cornelius. It is close enough, I trust."

Georgiana laughed. "Oh, Brother, your face is a study! Never fear, I do not like uncommon names." She blushed as she turned to Llewellyn. "Should we be blessed."

The viscount took her hand. "We shall have the most boring of names for our children, my dear."

"Ahem," injected Darcy. "Let us not put the cart before the horse. There must be a wedding before we speak of children." He shot a warning glare at Llewellyn.

"Of course, sir." He released Georgiana's hand.

"Excellent. This brings us to the ceremony. Have you given a thought as to the date?"

Georgiana sighed. "I know there will be demands upon us--balls, parties, those sorts of things."

"Indeed. You are the granddaughter of an earl and will be a future countess. I am afraid this will not be a hurried business."

"Like yours?" Georgiana gasped at her own impertinence. "Oh, forgive me!" Llewellyn was clearly taken aback.

"Three months for the progeny of gentlemen is hardly hurried," cried Darcy, "and that was after a year of courtship." A very unconventional and dramatic courtship, he reminded himself.

The viscount grimaced. "I am afraid three months would look very bad in our case, Georgie."

"Very true, milord, but I see no trouble with a summer wedding, do you?"

"Not at all." Llewellyn turned to Georgiana. "It is, of course, up to you, my dear. Would July or August suit?"

"July sounds--" She suddenly blanched. "Oh, no! It will not do! Not at all!"

Llewellyn again took her hand while Darcy flew to his feet. Both men tried to calm her to no avail.

"Brother! I cannot marry in July! Lizzy! I cannot!"

The viscount frowned. "Will Mrs. Darcy object to your marrying?"

She whirled on him. "Of course not! But I cannot marry in July! It is unthinkable!"

"But why?"

"LIZZY!" she shouted.

"Lizzy?" Darcy's eyes shot open. "OH!"

"What?" cried Llewellyn.

"My lord, my wife--" Darcy paused. "We are expecting an addition to the family in the early summer."

"Ah, my congratulations, Mr. Darcy. Then, perhaps before Mrs. Darcy's lying-in--"

"NO, not before!" Georgiana squeezed his hand. "Afterwards! I cannot marry at Pemberley until after the baby is here."

"You wish to marry at Pemberley?" asked Llewellyn.

Of course, Pemberley!" She frowned. "What is wrong with you?"

"Ah, Georgiana," warned Darcy. "Pray forgive her, milord. She has spent too much time with Elizabeth, I am afraid."

Georgiana began to weep. "I am so sorry, Lew! I have always dreamt of marrying from Pemberley. Nowhere else will do."

Llewellyn consoled her, assuring Georgiana that the ceremony would be held at her family’s estate.

Meanwhile, Darcy's mind ran through the possible dates. Assuming the babe is on time, and Bennet certainly was, the birth should be in early July. A few weeks of lying-in and the child should be churched no later than late August. So, October will do--

"September!" cried Georgiana. "We can marry in September." She looked at Llewellyn. "That is not too long, is it?"

His finger traced the last tear on her cheek. "I would wait a lifetime for you, Georgie, so I suppose I can wait until September."

Georgiana turned to Darcy. "Brother, may I marry in September?"

Any objections faded in the face of his sister's big, dark, wet eyes, so reminiscent of their mother's. "Let us ask Elizabeth."

~~~

"September?" repeated Elizabeth.

"That is not too soon after lying-in, is it Lizzy?" begged Georgiana.

"No, I do not think so." Elizabeth turned to Darcy. "What is your opinion?"

"I do not--"

"That will be no trouble at all, Georgiana," declared Lady Matlock. "I would be happy to assist Elizabeth in hosting your wedding breakfast. After all, I have the experience of Henrietta's nuptials." Her tone left no room for argument.

"The final decision must be left to Mrs. Darcy, Aunt."

To his surprise, Elizabeth capitulated. "It will be as Georgiana desires. Can we not make it the event of the year, my dear?"

"Of course, Lizzy," Georgiana promised. "Only the family."

~~~

"Are you certain about this, Elizabeth?" asked Darcy once they had retired for the night. "Say but the word and I will end this straight away."

"Do not concern yourself," she replied. "I do own I was taken aback by the chosen date at first, but you will recall how quickly I recovered after Bennet's birth. My mother too. She was on her feet very quickly after Lydia." She smiled. "We Bennet ladies are made of stern stuff."

Darcy was not amused. "Childbirth is not a joking matter, madam."

"I know. Forgive me." She ran a hand down his cheek. "Truly, Fitzwilliam, all will be well. I will be well. There will still be a month to plan everything. Your aunt wishes to help, and it is Georgiana's wish. Mid-September will do admirably."

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