The Barrister's Bride
A pact that will change their lives forever…
Fitzwilliam Darcy is a successful young barrister with a bright future. His late uncle has guided his career, made him his heir, and even selected a bride for him—sight unseen—whom he’ll meet and marry upon her majority. Who could have predicted that making the acquaintance of Miss Elizabeth Bennet in Meryton would throw those careful plans into disarray?
Elizabeth Bennet doesn’t know what to make of “Fitz” Darcy, who intrigues and draws her notice like no other. Despite Fitzwilliam’s warnings, she allows Mr. George Darcy, Fitzwilliam’s older brother and master of Pemberley, to charm her. Little does she know that she, too, has been promised in marriage by her late father—to an unknown barrister, no less. What is she to do when her hopes to marry for love disappear in the blink of an eye?
Is George Darcy’s suit in earnest? Can this mysterious bridegroom of her father’s choosing become the husband of her dreams? With the danger of duels and deceit, what will come of the initial attraction between her and Fitzwilliam? Will she become the barrister’s bride?
Note: contains scenes with adult content.
It’s my pleasure to be a guest on “The Literary Assistant” and offer up an exclusive excerpt from The Barrister’s Bride, a Pride and Prejudice re-imagining that recently released for readers’ pleasure. Elizabeth has just received the letter and journal from her father telling her that her marriage has been arranged to an unknown man who she will meet in two months’ time. She ruminates in this scene.
A look out of the window of the carriage revealed that Elizabeth was missing a fine morning while cooped up inside. Perhaps she and Jane would go for a walk once they settled themselves in London. Of course, a stroll through the countryside would be preferable. The fine weather of their current surroundings was five times better than fine weather in the grime of town. Jane would be refreshed enough upon their arrival; she had slept most of the trip so far.
Elizabeth managed to devour the entire fifty or so pages of Papa’s notebook by the time she and Jane were two hours from London. At that point, her mind spun for the rest of Jane’s nap. What had she just read?
Papa had obtained a good husband and settlement for one of his daughters in exchange for having saved Mr. Armstrong’s life. The original agreement—when they had been young men—had been a second son for a second daughter.
Their bargain had changed when Mr. Armstrong never married. Why had he never wed? He must have had strong potential as a husband in his youth. An ambitious barrister was always suitable for gentlemen’s daughters such as the Bennet sisters. When he became a judge and owned a house in town, he became even more attractive as a suitor. Was he deformed somehow, or was he in possession of a bad disposition? Papa never mentioned the former, and they were close friends, so she doubted the latter. She was acquainted with one older man who was unmarried, and he was unusual, to say the least; he dressed like a fop and used feminine gestures. Mama called him a “molly,” but Papa chastised her for her choice of words and said each and every one of us were G-d’s creatures. Could Mr. Armstrong be similar to Mr. Young?
When it became apparent that he would not have a second son to offer, the judge amended his part of the agreement and put forth his nephew, who was his godson and heir. The inheritance from Mr. Armstrong must have been an excellent one for his older brother’s second son. Was Mr. Armstrong’s older brother still alive? Could he speak to the strange secret betrothal of his own son? Papa’s journal indicated the brother was a part of the plan.
Papa had met Mr. Armstrong’s nephew once again before the uncle died. He reiterated that he was a good man, stalwart in his occupation, and handsome. She was delighted with the last. One could do worse than be forced to marry a handsome man. Papa felt them to be a perfect match: their dispositions were exact complements, and they had many interests in common. With her father’s assurances, she could not help but let those statements calm the turning of her stomach and the tremor in her chest. She had no other information upon which to depend. She could not fret for months upon the prospect. That would do her no good at all.
The sole barrister of her acquaintance was Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Would she mind if her betrothed was Mr. Fitzwilliam? He, too, was handsome and a dedicated professional—a perfect match when he was intent on amiability—but his moods were unpredictable. There must be a hundred barristers in London whose uncles attended Cambridge. How many had an unmarried uncle who was a judge? Mr. Fitzwilliam and Mr. Darcy had mentioned one uncle, the Earl of Matlock. Their father was not alive, given that the scoundrel of a man was master of Pemberley. For that reason, Mr. Fitzwilliam was doubtful as the identity of her mystery betrothed. No, her future husband was a stranger, someone she would not meet for another two and a half months.
This arrangement was so unfair! While many young ladies desired a wealthy and handsome man for a husband, she was not any young lady. Her wish was to marry for love, and they had stolen that choice from her. The journal had acknowledged her heart’s greatest wish, but Papa had dismissed the notion of romantic love. He held a firm belief that happiness in marriage was a matter of chance, and that the attraction of two handsome young people with similar minds was bound to progress to love without delay.
A lover of Jane Austen, Regency period research and costuming, yoga, fitness, home renovation, design, sustainability, and independent travel, cat mom Suzan Lauder keeps busy even when she’s not writing novels based on Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, all of which are published by Meryton Press.
She and Mr. Suze and their rescue tabby split their time between a loft condo overlooking the Salish Sea and a 150-year-old Spanish colonial casita in Mexico. Suzan’s lively prose can be found on her Facebook author page, www.facebook.com/SuzanLauder; on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as @SuzanLauder; and on her Meryton Press blog, road trips with the redhead www.suzanlauder.merytonpress.com.
Meryton Press blog, road trips with the redhead
Blog Tour Schedule
May 9 My Jane Austen Book Club
May 10 Babblings of a Bookworm
May 11 The Literary Assistant
May 12 My Vices and Weaknesses
May 16 Austenesque Reviews
May 17 From Pemberley to Milton
Meryton Press is giving away six eBooks of The Barrister’s Bride by Suzan Lauder. There is a swag giveaway by Author, Suzan Lauder, and it includes a personalized signed copy of the book, a Suzan Lauder reticule, an embroidered handkerchief, and a fan. Both giveaways are in the Rafflecopter.
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