Good morning, my dear readers!
Today I have a treat for all of my readers because Cass Grafton is here to share an exclusive outtake for her latest release, A Quest for Mr Darcy, that she created just for my readers to give you either a delicious taste of this story, or for readers who have already read this story, this is an outtake to enjoy from the very beginning of her story. Isn’t that just wonderful?
I also had the pleasure of reading this story and it’s filled with lots of original plot twists and fun, new supporting characters throughout her story. The story also begins with a pretty dark tone, leaving readers to feel that there is quite a quest ahead for not only Mr Darcy, but also for them as they travel to Derbyshire to discover what’s been unfolding at Pemberley during the absence of one very significant landowner.
Cass has generously crafted an outtake for my readers to give us some insights into what led Darcy to take such a monumental journey in an attempt to forget a young gentlewoman from Meryton with fine eyes and an intolerable family.
Here’s a look at the book blurb before I share her outtake:
Fitzwilliam Darcy is on a quest. Convinced he is over his foolish infatuation with Elizabeth Bennet, he returns from a year of travelling with a plan, both to protect the estate of which he is guardian and to ensure his sister’s happiness: he intends to do his duty and secure a wife at the earliest opportunity.
Duty; a path from which Darcy knows he should never have been diverted. Duty was safe and nothing would persuade him from it a second time.
Soon restored to his home in Derbyshire, Darcy puts his quest in motion, preparing to welcome guests from Town, one of whom is the suitably eligible young lady he has earmarked as his future wife.
But what of the Bennets of Longbourn? What befell them in Darcy’s absence from England? And what of the new tenants on his estate named Bennet? Is his path fated to cross with Elizabeth’s once more?
With the addition of his friend, Bingley’s, mischievous twin younger sisters, letters from a stranger and a shadowy figure lurking in the grounds of Pemberley, Darcy’s life is about to be turned upside down.
Can he remain steady to his purpose, or will his carefully laid plans soon be in tatters as the rigid protection he has placed around his heart begins to falter?
10% of profits from all eBook sales will be donated to the Jane Austen Literacy Foundation.
A Quest for Mr. Darcy begins with this prologue, which you may want to read before or after this outtake below:
Outtake from the Prologue of A Quest for Mr Darcy
The day before Darcy makes his decision to travel abroad
Darcy had been walking for some time, his head down and his gaze fixed upon his booted feet as they struck the ground. Was this continual escape from the house really his only solution to the incessant thoughts tormenting him through interminable days and relentless nights?
His pace slowed as he reflected upon his morning – much like any other of late. He had made some pretence of eating; after all, Georgiana’s watchful gaze had been upon him, had it not? When had that started? He could not remember. The weeks since his return to Town had all merged into one endless succession of days.
He had tried to concentrate upon the ever-growing pile of unattended correspondence in his study, but as with every morning, nothing could hold his attention. Soon after, he was heading along the hallway, set upon his usual purpose, and he felt a momentary twinge of guilt as he recalled his sister’s conflicted countenance as he passed her in the doorway to the breakfast room, saying he had business to attend to.
Business. What sort of business was this, pounding the streets in a mindless attempt to rid himself of his despair and regret? Would it ever cease?
Darcy raised his head and stared around; he had come to an intersection, one where he tended to turn left, making a lengthy circle back towards the house, but this time he turned his steps to the right. He could not face returning just yet.
Why could he not shake this painful sense of loss? The ache he bore in his breast showed no sign of abating and every thought of Elizabeth caused it to intensify. His anger over his rejection and the damning of his character by the lady had faded all too quickly. How he had tried to keep a hold on it, but it had slipped from his grasp as rapidly as his dreams had faded – his dreams of making her his wife. All he had left was his anguish, his heartache, and those ever-present regrets.
Releasing a frustrated breath, Darcy stopped and surveyed his surroundings again. He was some distance from home now, the broad pavements of Mayfair replaced by cobbles, and he stood on the corner of a street, trying to get his bearings. The noise of the city drummed in his ears as barrow boys shouted out their wares and horns were sounded, accompanied by the clatter of hooves pounding the road as carts and carriages passed by.
Then, he sighed. How those regrets consumed him through his long sleepless nights: what he ought to have done, what he should have said – what he should not have said! There was no way to right this wrong. All he could do was try to learn from it; if only he could think of a way to begin, but all attempts had failed him thus far.
Seeing a break in the flow of traffic, Darcy crossed the street and headed for some ornate gates into a park, taking the path branching to the right, soon wrapped in his own thoughts again. Where was Elizabeth now? She had remained in Kent when he and his cousin left. Surely she was returned to Longbourn? Had she told anyone of what had happened between them – of his arrogance, his conceit, his selfishness? How her words haunted him! Had she chosen to reveal his interference to her sister?
Feelings of mortification, of shame, of dissatisfaction swept through Darcy, and he walked on, oblivious to his surroundings or his direction. The notion of Elizabeth out there in the world, thinking ill of him, cut him deeply. Yet there was nothing he could do to alter things. If only she had read his letter, it might have gone some way to explaining… yet, he would never know if she had, or what her reception of its content might have been. What was the likelihood he would ever hear word of her again, lay eyes upon her?
Wrapped in his habitual turmoil as the same unanswerable questions swirled through his mind, it was a moment before Darcy realised he had reached a further set of gates on the other side of the park, and he stepped out into the busy thoroughfare to discern his location. Then, he shook his head at his own foolhardiness.
How had this happened? Darcy read the street sign carved into the stone of the nearest building: Cheapside. Was he so lacking in discipline, his footsteps had led him here against his volition?
He looked around. Despite the scathing views of Mrs Hurst and Miss Bingley, it was evident the district was thriving. New buildings lined the well-constructed streets and smartly dressed men passed to and fro as they went about their business.
Darcy’s gaze was caught by a young woman walking away from him, and a sudden constriction gripped his throat. She had a lightness of step that was achingly familiar, and a bonnet dangled from her hand, the sunlight kissing her head of chestnut curls. Almost unaware of his actions, he set off in pursuit; could it possibly be Elizabeth?
The heavy ache within his chest tightened as she paused on the edge of the pavement, and Darcy drew in a short breath. Could she be visiting her relatives here in Cheapside? The lady was turned away from him; it could not be her – yet there was something so reminiscent of Elizabeth in her demeanour as she skipped across the road!
His heart began to pound in his chest. What if it was Elizabeth? This thought brought him up short, and he stopped and turned away. What of it? What could be his purpose in attempting to speak to her? Yet he would know! Just to see her face once more…
Darcy turned back; she had gained the other pavement, still walking away from him. He must not lose sight of her! With no clear intention in mind, Darcy stepped quickly forward into the street, but he realised his error in an instant.
A shout came of ‘Whoa! Steady!’ as a carriage and four bore down upon him at speed, but even as the horses tried to veer away from him, a horn blasting, he felt a strong grip on his arms as he was pulled sharply backwards onto the pavement just as the conveyance thundered past, the coachman shouting profanities as he glared angrily over his shoulder at Darcy.
Righting himself as the gentleman who had grasped his arms released him, Darcy drew in a shaking breath. The young woman across the street had paused at the commotion, looked back over her shoulder. It was not Elizabeth, just a foolish hope.
‘You were almost a goner there, sir!’
An elderly lady, a basket on her arm, had come to stare at Darcy as he struggled to control his ragged breathing, his heart pounding fiercely in his breast at the near miss.
‘Here, sir.’ He blinked, then looked at what she offered him. ‘’Tis a sprig of heather. For luck.’
He stared at it, pale and dry and emitting no scent, but then a hollow laugh drew Darcy’s attention to the man at his side – the one who had likely saved his life. ‘This gentleman has no need of lucky charms, ma’am. Come, sir.’
He waved the lady away, and Darcy thankfully fell into step beside his saviour. What had he been thinking? Damned foolish distraction! This was no way to go on. How could he have become so careless? If he had taken one more step, it would have been his end without question. The impact upon his sister was his first thought, and he was filled with remorse.
‘You look as though you have lost your way, sir. May I assist you in setting you in the right direction? Or perhaps hail a cab for you? The incident has shaken you, I fear.’
‘I am quite well; I thank you. And for the service you rendered.’ Darcy shuddered. How close had his distraction brought him to disaster?
The other man grunted, eyeing Darcy with keen interest. ‘You are pale as Death. Not that I am surprised when you have looked him in the eye so closely.’
They had come to a halt outside an impressive stone building. Darcy felt strangely calm now the moment had passed, as though a change had come upon him. ‘I came through the park.’ He gestured towards the gates. ‘I can find my way back.’
‘As you wish.’
‘I am indebted to you, sir.’
The gentleman bowed. ‘Pleased to have been of service.’
He turned away and Darcy watched him walk up the steps into the building, warmly greeting the porter on the door before disappearing from sight. He looked up at the sign beside the entrance: Wainwright & Gardiner, established 1795.
Then, he pulled out his watch. It was time he turned his steps – safely – towards home; time he took action to rid himself of his regret, before it had any further chance to destroy him. He would never see Elizabeth again; she was lost to him, so let her be gone. Yes; now was the time to think long and hard about the future. All else must be relegated to the past.
Meet Cass Grafton
A fan of Jane Austen since her long-distant school days, Cassandra Grafton has been indulging her appetite for all things Austen for many years. Having long wanted to be a writer, she began publishing her endeavours in 2013. A Fair Prospect, a Pride & Prejudice-inspired Regency romance, was released in three volumes.
She then went on to be part of the co-writing team on The Darcy Brothers, another Austen-inspired historical novel, before settling down to co-write with one of her best friends.
The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen, a contemporary mystery/romance, was released in July 2016 under the names of Ada Bright and Cass Grafton.
A former college lecturer and PA, Cassandra has lived in three countries, and loves travelling, reading, cats and dry wine (and she combines most of these as often as she can!)
She has two grown up children and splits her time between Switzerland, where she lives with her husband, and England, where she lives with her characters.
She is a member of the Romance Novelists’ Association, the Society of Authors, the Jane Austen Society UK and is a founding member of the Jane Austen Society of Switzerland.
Wasn’t that a great outtake? I love the idea of imagining Darcy getting so caught up in his frustration and grief that he winds up in Cheapside, of all places!
That’s not all Cass has brought for my readers… She also has some beautiful gifts for one Just Jane 1813 reader and this giveaway is open to international winner too! Isn’t that just lovely?
Cass has generously brought the following gifts from her latest trip to England:
- Jane Austen Lip Balm
- Jane Austen silhouette mirror
- P&P Darcy’s proposal quote necklace
- A set of 20 bookplates
- All in an ‘I’d rather be at Pemberley’ tote bag
Plus, Cass is also offering a book (eBook or paperback – winner’s choice) for this giveaway too!
To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog no later than July 5th and the winner will be announced on July 6, 2017. We would love to hear your thoughts on this outtake, your reactions to this story, or your plans for reading this book, which already has eight 5-star reviews on Amazon!
I’d like to thank Cass Grafton for bringing not only these delightful giveaways, but also for writing a special outtake just for my Just Jane 1813 readers!
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