Darcy and Fitzwilliam – Synopsis, Excerpt

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: Synopsis

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: A tale of a gentleman and an officer. A sequel to Jane Austen’s magnificent ‘Pride and Prejudice’ this humorous story is of two romances, one involving the handsome Fitzwilliam Darcy, the other his cousin, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam. Darcy is handsome, elegant, proud and a besotted newlywed to his beloved Elizabeth Bennet. Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam is his older cousin, a veteran of Waterloo, fun loving, charismatic, and about to fall head over heels with a beautiful American widow. A charming tale of love, of great friendship, of children and of an irritable old aunt, Lady Catherine deBourgh.

Darcy and Fitzwilliam: Excerpt

VOLUME TWO, CHAPTER FOUR

It was when they approached the footman who would announce them that he saw her, her simple presence outstand¬ing amidst a multitude of inbred and odd-looking individuals gushing and fawning over each other. Wearing an outmoded, drab gown meant for someone much larger and much, much older, she was tenderly patting stray locks of a young girl’s hair, adjusting the bow on the back of the girl’s dress, in short, fussing about the girl like a mother hen with her lone chick. He was thunderstruck. Even without the feathers, paint, lace, and jewelry, she far outshone the posturing aristocratic ladies surrounding her, who competed in vain for attention.

At this distance, the youth she tended to appeared to Fitzwilliam as little more than an infant—small, frightened, and frail. However, it was not the anxious-looking girl who was causing him concern, drawing his offense. It was the activity surrounding the two that began to fuel his indignation, the admiration of the many men milling about ogling his Beauty, commenting upon her shimmering blonde hair. Fellow soldiers gaping and drooling over his Beauty’s eyes as they sparkled with amusement within a perfect, heart-shaped face, long, dark lashes lowered now to her task and shadowing his Beauty’s cheeks.

It was a testament to her good looks that those who circled overlooked the other grander, more-opulently gowned women, to be drawn instead by a loveliness that appeared both alien and delicate at once.

The young girl nervously whispered something, and the Brown-Eyed Beauty laughed gently, her face softening as it tilted to the side, lighting up with open joy, her eyes twinkling in devilish delight. Deadly dimples suddenly appeared.

Instead of being charmed, Fitzwilliam was furious.

“Why do you look as if you’ve just gotten your foot caught in your stirrups?” As he followed Richard’s rapt gaze, looking across the ballroom in the same general direction, Darcy discovered the object of his interest. “Ah. Well, well, well…” he muttered.

“What?” Fitzwilliam turned momentarily toward his cousin.

“I take it that is the woman about whom all your fuss has been?”

After one or two tense moments, Richard responded. “Yes, Darcy,” he bit back icily. “That is the woman about whom, as you so haughtily say, all my fuss has been. What of it?!”

“Nothing. Nothing at all.” Still he hesitated, staring.

Seeing Darcy’s reaction, Fitzwilliam bristled. “You wish to make some sort of observation, brat? Yes, that is the woman, and please do not stare at her like some sort of bedlamite.”

“Well, pardon me, Your Worship. She’s just not what I had expected.”

“What do you mean by that?” Fitzwilliam glared. “She is the most beautiful woman in this room, if not the whole city.”

“Jesu, calm yourself, Richard. I didn’t say she wasn’t. It’s just that she’s so… so…”

“So… what?”

“Well…” Darcy’s eyes made a quick appraisal of the woman in the distance. “Well, for one thing, she is rather plainly dressed for such a grand assembly, and she does appear rather foreign-looking with those cheekbones. Here’s an aside. Whatever happened to your dream of a deathly pale, full-bodied, and terminally ill English Rose due to inherit an estate the size of Kent? Hmm? In case you had not noticed, this young woman is very healthy and quite slender and apparently poor. At the very least, you must admit that she doesn’t have the usual voluptuousness of which you are known to be so fond.” Without even looking at his cousin, he could feel his eyes boring into him. He sighed.

“She is not that slender,” Fitzwilliam said coolly. “And you are still staring at her. I don’t like it, I tell you.”

Darcy rolled his eyes in exasperation. “Please try and behave as an adult. I’m sure you’ve seen them about—emulate.” The air crackled between them. “All I am saying is that she has a leaner frame than the average woman you prefer. She is tall and slim and, well, frankly, she appears small-busted.” Darcy eyed her critically and then turned to look at a furious Fitzwilliam. “Maybe it is just that the dress is so huge. Stop scowling at me!”

He sipped calmly from a glass of wine he had just been handed by a footman. “Merciful heaven, aren’t you suddenly the sensitive one! I have nothing against the woman at all. She is quite as lovely as you say, perhaps more so.” Fitzwilliam’s green-eyed rage was turning boiling red from his struggle for control. “And she is definitely not your type.”

Fitzwilliam stiffened. “Aside from your previous gibberish, what is it about her, exactly, that you do not consider my type?”

Darcy hesitated for a few tension-filled moments before proceeding at his peril. “Truthfully? All right. Well, she’s not at all fussy or overly made-up. She’s naïve-looking, soft, elegant, and pleasant. None of those are your usual requirements—in fact, quite the opposite.” Darcy and Fitzwilliam stood glaring at each other before Darcy finally broke rank and turned back. He then gestured toward the woman under discussion. “I mean, she really is quite beautiful, to be sure. Oh, and my goodness, what an exquisite smile she has, such luscious, full lips. And dimples, too? Good God!” He chuckled and shook his head. “No, she’s definitely not your type at all.”

“All right, that does it. I should call you out.”

“Well, think about it. You could actually grow to love this woman, then where would you be?”

“Never mind about all that. I don’t care for the way you are looking at her, brat, with your insolent eyes. And how dare you comment upon her lips, goddamn it. You’re almost drooling.”

Darcy turned to coolly assess his cousin. “You should be medicated.”

“You were leering at her.”

“I was not leering, you apelike menace! I was asked my opinion.”

“Aha! Well…you are the demented one—you were never asked for your opinion, and I, above all people, know a leer when I see one, and I certainly don’t need your approval. I was merely pointing her out to you.”

“What’s going on, gentlemen?” Georgiana returned to their side after freshening herself. The carriage ride had been long and blustery, a frigid winter storm approaching with snow and sleet threatening to descend upon London at any moment.

“Oh, Fitzwilliam has finally lost what little was left of his mind. He is annoyed with me for glancing at his newest obses¬sion,” Darcy whispered loudly. “He is also exceedingly upset because I have been pointing out to him the many ways in which she would not suit him at all.”

“Really? What fun! May I take a stab? Where is she?” Darcy indicated the far corner where the beauty was standing.

Fitzwilliam threw up his hands and turned his back on them. “I am leaving you both. I know neither of you. Good-bye.”

“Oh, how charming she is and how different are her features! Truly a paragon!” Georgiana gushed. A slightly mol¬lified Fitzwilliam waited. “And not your type at all, Richard. Definitely not!” Georgiana’s clear assessing gaze darted from the beauty to Fitzwilliam and then back to the beauty. He turned slowly around and faced her.

“Et tu, Judas?” He crossed his arms over his chest.

“Heavens, Richard, just look at the color in your face! Are you feeling all right?” She regarded him with great concern.

 

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Sons and Daughters – Synopsis, Excerpt

Sons and Daughters: Synopsis

JANE AUSTEN’S ‘PRIDE AND PREJUDICE’ CONTINUES…

SONS AND DAUGHTERS, a sequel to Karen V. Wasylowski’s ‘DARCY AND FITZWILLIAM’ (which was itself a continuation of Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), again follows the iconic Fitzwilliam Darcy and his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam. Now we see the two battling best friends as loving husbands and doting fathers, older and a bit wiser, making the sacrifices, the difficult (and frequently unpopular) decisions that men must make for the good of their families and we see their large brood of offspring – the ‘Fitzwilliam Mob’ – grow from childhood to adolescence then on into adulthood. Along the way, Darcy and Fitzwilliam are viewed by their children first as heroes, then as the enemy, but eventually as mortal human beings and the children’s adored champions once again.

 

Sons and Daughters: Excerpt

Have you come up with any reasonable story yet?” Hands in his pockets Fitzwilliam glared down at his sons.

Amanda shook her head in doubt. “Tell me again what sort of punishment this is meant to be.” The two little fellows sat side by side on the bottom step of the front staircase, scratching elbows and knees, looking anywhere but at their father.

“Well, since neither will tell me which one dropped the flour bag I am making them sit here until they come up with any plausible explanation.”

“I’m still a bit vague on this. How will that help you determine which one to punish?”

“They’ll have to decide together. If they‘re able to come up with one convincing tale I’ll accept it. But they cannot leave that step until they do agree on one.”

“And you are certain this is the position you wish to take?”

“It is.”

“I will never understand you.”

“It was me, Papa.” Mark winced when his brother’s sharp elbow dug into his side. “Well, it was.”

“No, Papa, it was me,” countered Matthew.

“See, not good enough. You still don’t agree. Now, give it another go.” The little faces leaned toward each other.

“I’ll share a secret with you both – if you tell me the truth the punishment will be less severe.”

“It was me,” whispered Matthew.

Mark nodded. “Yeah, it was him. But he’s very young.”

Fitzwilliam tried not to chuckle as he took a glum faced Matthew by the hand. The two walked silently into the library and when they reappeared a few moments later Matthew was rubbing his bottom, but evidently was not overly upset since he hopped up onto his chair and immediately began reaching for food.

“Before either of you eat, I want you to apologize to your cousins for that unprovoked attack at our front door.” With the wives fussing over baby Luke elsewhere, and the Fitzwilliam day maid hiding in a cupboard, the two fathers were the only functioning adults in the room.

“But it was though, Papa – provoked, I mean. First, to be clear on this, what exactly does provoke mean?” Precise to his core and always good natured Mark was duty bound to explain the twins’ abysmal behavior. However, he was also a detail man and, as usual, becoming bogged down with them.

“It means you are nasty boys and it means that you are wicked.” Kathy crowed, taunting with her little sing song voice, smiling cheerily at her older brothers because anytime they were in trouble was a cause for celebration. “It means you cannot have cake ever again and crows will peck out your eyes.”

Anne Marie cheered at that, she even clapped.

“Anne Marie Darcy, do not encourage your cousins.” Darcy reprimanded. “They seldom require it,” he muttered as he brought his daughter’s plate closer to her.

“Kathy, where do you learn such nonsense?” Fitzwilliam grasped her little cup of milk before it toppled from the table but failed to save her silverware.

“They’ll peck your eyes out, Beef!” shouted Matthew and Georgie, retaliating as always in unison. “And eat your brains – if they can find any! Yeah they will!” Matthew expanded on their previous comment and stuck out his tongue.

“Enough. All of you. Anyone who is shorter than I will henceforth cease to speak.” Darcy’s commanding voice sounded severe as he cut into edible pieces the small ham slice that had been sitting, untouched, before his daughter for nearly twenty minutes. “Eat something, Anne Marie – anything. I beg of you. At least one bite. How does your mother succeed with this and I do not?”

“Mama sings to me.”

“Yes, she sings to me also. How lucky we both are. Now eat at least the little bit that is on this fork. Please.” He turned to Mark. “And, ‘unprovoked’, my charming young hooligan, means that there was no just cause for the attack, neither upon your Aunt Lillibet nor upon your uncle – old what’s his name.”

Mark Fitzwilliam laughed heartily at what Darcy had just said, as if Darcy were the wittiest man alive.
Actually, hunger had overtaken his senses and he wanted done with all questions. He reached for his fork. Darcy’s arched eyebrow stopped him cold.

“No, Mark, you must answer the question first. Explain why you are tossing flour from the windows.”

“The salt is locked away.”

There was momentary silence.

“Darcy, you’re getting nowhere with this vague line of questioning. When it comes to my children you must attack with precision, leave nothing ambiguous. Watch carefully and learn. Matthew, what provocation – close your mouth, Mark – what purpose was there for your attack upon Uncle Wills and Auntie Lillibet?”

“It wasn’t meant for Uncle Wills. We love him and Auntie Lillibet.” Matthew reached for a jar of preserves but could not get them without unsettling the pitcher of milk; his father immediately righted the pitcher and brought the jar nearer. “Thank you, Papa. Put the strawberries on my scone?”

“Please…?” Prompted his father.

“I already said you could, Papa.”

“No, no, no, that is not what I meant, son. You should say…never mind. Now, these are not strawberries, Matthew. These are raspberries. Do you understand me, boy?” Fitzwilliam placed a large dollop of the raspberry preserves onto his son’s scone and then sliced the scone into several smaller pieces. He pushed the plate over to Mathew.

“Well, never mind then.”

“Whatever is keeping your mother so long?” Fitzwilliam mumbled as he stretched to look over his shoulder.

 

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Wives and Lovers – Synopsis, Excerpt

Book Three of ‘DARCY & FITZWILLIAM’ – a continuing ‘PRIDE AND PREJUDICE FAMILY SAGA’.

In “Wives and Lovers” the forever brilliant, beautiful and brave Fitzwilliam Darcy is approaching his older years as fit and elegant as always. With his beloved Lizzy by his side he has become a powerful voice in political circles, as well as being regarded eminent among the highest and best of society. His children, George, Anne Marie and Alice are all happily married with children of their own, their lives idyllic – until… tragedy strikes all families, rich or poor.

Richard Fitzwilliam, a year and more older than his famous cousin, has always had a rather turbulent life, owing mostly to his mercurial moods, and his ‘bull among the china’ thirst for life. He is wildly in love with his wife, Amanda, but they argue about everything! He is devoted to his children, yet they drive him insane! His first born son is expected to marry and produce an heir – but what can be done when the boy has come to dislike the woman he married so much? And then there are his twin daughters, Mary Margaret and Mary Elizabeth, hovering around him, treating him like a delicate flower! Or his youngest, Edward drifting through life, chumming with friends, chasing girls! Or, his son Mark, traveling the world, and never home! Or his son Luke, regarded as the most handsome man in London…. oh, well; Fitzwilliam’s aggravations know no bounds.

 

WIVES AND LOVERS
1848
PROLOGUE

Brooks Gentlemen’s Club, the society of men begun in 1762 with the ouster of two free thinking individuals from the very conservative White’s Gentlemen’s Club, had over the years evolved into a Whig, or liberal leaning, enclave. Here impeccably attired gentlemen could settle into their armchairs for the sole purpose of discussing Business and Politics. Here gentlemen could thrash out Strategy while evaluating Unconfirmed Reports. Here, in other words, gentlemen could Gossip. Forward thinking was how they saw themselves – powerful men convening amidst lesser men who aspired to take their power.

And within this often treacherous, yet oddly successful, lot, there was one particular gentleman who was quite the celebrity as well.

“There he is, in the flesh. Do you see him? Don’t turn around!”

“Really, uncle? How in heaven’s name can I know of whom you speak if I do not turn around?”

“It’s Darcy! I’d sensed he would be here today, damned if I didn’t. Such an elegant looking fellow. Dudley, did you ever see the like?”

“Not looking at you, no. Are you going to eat that bread?”

“Yes, I am; get your hands away from there. You know, of course, that he is currently the implicit Whig leader.”

“So that’s why you dragged me here. Well, all right, let’s have a look at this citadel of ‘liberalism.’ Where is he?”

“I said don’t turn around!”

“Calm yourself. I wasn’t going to stand and shout out his name for goodness sake. What would you have me do?”

“Let me see, let me see… I know, when I give the signal slide something off the table to the floor, and then you may turn and look – unobtrusively as is possible mind you – as you pick whatever it is up. Perhaps you could throw down your… no, not your knife, something quiet. Gad, you’re hopeless at times.”

“Really, uncle! If you kick me again and I shall stomp on your foot!”

“Stomp on my foot, nephew, and I shall remind you that your mention in my will is not chiseled in stone. Ooh, here’s your chance, he’s looking toward the door and motioning at someone – turn around! Hurry!”

“Yes, all right. Where is he? I don’t see anyone in particular – oh, over there! Huh. So that is Derbyshire’s renowned ‘Fitzwilliam Darcy’. Well, well, well. Rather hard to miss the fellow since he seems the center of everyone’s attention in this room. Curious, I thought he’d look a much older man.”

“What are you on about? He’s the same age as I.”

“Precisely. Well, if we’ve satisfied your curiosity about the gentleman, may we at last return to our meal?”

“No we may not. Dudley, there are huge political matters in play here. My concern with Mr. Darcy goes far deeper than food.”

“Aha, now I am intrigued. Will we need to have anyone roughed up?”

“No, but listen to me carefully. When you looked at him just now…”

“Yes?”

“Did you see any tassels?”

“I beg pardon.”

“On his boots – did you see tassels?”

“No.”

“Neither did I. Why, oh why, do I ever listen to Monsieur Rene? Well, that decides it. I shall have to have mine removed immediately.”

“Your boots?”

“No, Dudley, my tassels. Move a bit to your left would you, you’re in my way. Excellent. Gad, how I envy the man, still young and virile looking at his age. Amazing.”

“Uh-huh. If you’re not going to finish your lamb I’d be willing to help you out there – wouldn’t turn away that remaining boiled egg either. Ooh, will you look at the time? We’d better get a move on here; Mama’s waiting tea for us. Waiter, are these the only puddings you have? I thought not. And, I need more hot chocolate. So why does this man fascinate you so? He seems very like any other toff in their later years. Exceedingly better looking than most I’ll grant you, slimmer in the hips, broader in the shoulders I suppose, but still he’s just another posh gent. Pass me the butter, there’s a good chap. What’s wrong now?”

“I wonder that we are even remotely related.”

“Odd. I wonder that often enough m’self.”

“Listen to me, and learn – and please, close your mouth when you chew. Thank you. The reason I brought us here today is that man. I must make his acquaintance. He is a legend, a genius. Why, Fitzwilliam Darcy has the ear of the most influential people in the realm, including the Prince! More impressive even that that – his aunt is Lady Catherine de Bourgh.”

“Yikes! Poor fellow.”

“Everyone who is anyone vies for his attention these days. Especially the ladies; they simply adore him.”

“Now that is something to envy. I’ve often dreamt of becoming a rich nabob, nothing to do with my life but tempt nubile young beauties into my bed. Do you know the name of his current mistress? Is it someone scandalous? She must be very chic, perhaps an opera dancer, or bored countess? I have it! It’s Henry Arnold’s young widow, is it not? Ha! Hear the doxie’s just arrived in town and already cutting a wide swath through the more powerful gentry.”

“Don’t be ridiculous! Hardly his type at all… oh, I see – you’re being facetious. Dudley, don’t play the fool with me, I’ve had years more experience. The fact is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s a revoltingly moral man; devoted to his wife and children, in spite of the fact that his wife’s family is far beneath his own. Then again, most are. Oh, now I’ve made myself depressed again. Signal the waiter for more wine, there’s a good fellow. My word, to be counted among his circle of acquaintances; I tell you, I would die a happy man.”

“Seems a bit counterproductive at that point – here you, waiter! Where are my strawberry scones?”
“Allow me to explain this in terms simple enough that even you may understand. Darcy has made millions for himself, for his relations, his friends – millions! Reputedly, he is very generous with sharing his expertise… ”

“One moment, uncle, if you please.”

“Yes?”

“Millions?”

“Yes, millions.”

“As in, money?”

“No, Dudley, teapots. Of course money! Everything the man touches turns golden! In fact – come closer – no, not that close – I learned just yesterday that he’s investing, and quite heavily I might add, in some type of Vast International Textile Consortium.”

“Which?”

“Don’t know, do I? No one seems to know, unfortunately. That’s why we’re here.”

“Yes, I understand you now. Say no more. Well, well, well, quite an interesting fellow, this Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. Certainly turns himself out in the finest of fashion, too, doesn’t he?”

“Always – maintains the very highest of standards in all things; a gentleman through and through. And, I do love that new, sweet little phaeton of his. Have you seen the thing? From America, don’t you know. I’ll warrant that cost him a small fortune, not that he has a care for money. The man must bathe in it. Money, I mean, not the phaeton…”

“Ahem. Do you suppose he’s found a new man to represent Derbyshire in Commons seeing as his son-in-law died last year? Dreadful business, that – a tragic loss. John Wentworth was a luminary, a beacon of hope, a natural leader, an extraordinarily gifted man, taken from us much too young – you know I really would appreciate it if you would stop rolling your eyes at me.”

“Everyone knows you hated Wentworth.”

“What of it?”

“You’re a horrible human being.”

“That’s neither here nor there. I warrant I could stand as Darcy’s man in Derbyshire as well as anyone else. ‘Why’ you ask? ‘Why not,’ I say. After all, I thoroughly detest my present constituency. How do I look? Anything in my teeth?”

“Has it slipped your feeble brain that you’re a Tory?”

“Uncle, just as St. Paul did on the road to Emmaus, I Have Seen the Light. Think I’ll go and introduce myself, extend my belated condolences to the gentleman.”

“You can’t just walk up to Fitzwilliam Darcy without an introduction! Begin pushing yourself on him!”

“I suppose you’re right.”

“Allow me to do it.”

“I should have known. You just want to snag an introduction for yourself.”

“Well, at least I won’t fawn over him like some Covent Garden whore; it’s positively off putting the way you behave at times, not to say pathetic. These things have to be handled delicately. What we really need to find is a mutual acquaintance to introduce us, now that would be invaluable. I say, your wife’s cousin’s uncle’s in-law’s sister’s husband is in trade, is he not? Perhaps he might be acquainted with the man seated beside Darcy.”

“Know of him, of course. Any man of commerce knows Charles Bingley – one of the wealthiest coal and steel merchants alive today; and, I say, isn’t he the aforementioned Widow Arnold’s uncle as well? You see, I may be right about the mistress thingy after all.”

“You’re thick as a plank, aren’t you?”

“Not a plank, exactly, more like a…”

“Yes, yes, yes; cease your prattling. What I need to know is if any of your wife’s relations have actually ever met the man?”

“I should be so lucky; they’re a useless lot. I say, more brandy here, waiter. These idiots grow lazier by the day. What’s this? Now who’s that big fellow just entering the room? Why, he’s nothing but a common ruffian, bold as brass! Look at him – not there, over by the door – the fellow with the ferocious expression and the scandalously out of fashion topcoat! Appears more cutpurse than gentleman; if you ask me, one isn’t safe anywhere these days. Well, by God, did you just see the rude gesture he made at Mr. Darcy? Disgusting! If he means to harm him someone should step in – not either of us, of course, but someone. Server! Oy, you, yes you! Dash over and toss out that filthy beggar… Oh. Dear. Me. The brigand seems to have heard me and turned this way.”
“Good god, man, that’s Fitzwilliam!”

“What are you saying? I thought Darcy was Fitzwilliam! Fitzwilliam Darcy you said. You’re confusing me!”

“Don’t you ever read the papers? That’s his cousin, Richard Fitzwilliam, formerly Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam, currently the bloody Earl of bloody Somerton!”

“That’s Somerton? You can’t be serious. Are they friends?”

“Worse than that – they’re family! Close as brothers and complete opposites in temperament. I once saw Somerton box two huge brutes at once, and win – he never even broke a sweat. You don’t suppose he really heard your comment, do you? Well, that settles it – he’s glaring at us. I’m leaving; and… Dudley? Dudley, where are you going? Wait for me!”

 

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