It should come as no surprise at this point that today we are talking about another Pride & Prejudice variation. I basically survived 2020 by hanging out with Mr. Darcy a few times a week. (it might have only been in my dreams but it was enough to make the year go by faster.) But, what might surprise you is that there is time travel this time. Yep! We are getting all Back to the Future over here.
I’m so happy to welcome my good friend, Heather Moll, to the blog today to introduce her newest book Nine Ladies. I’m handing it over to you, Heather…
Thanks for welcoming me Melissa! I’m excited to be visiting Probably at the Library to share an excerpt from my new Pride and Prejudice variation Nine Ladies. Nine Ladies is a real 4,000 year-old stone circle in Derbyshire, and in the book it has the power to transport anyone who stands in the center on an equinox back in time 200 years, and from the 19th century to the 21st on a solstice. Elizabeth from 2011 is stuck in 1811 for three months and has to rely on Mr. Darcy, one of the few people who know the time travel secret. Elizabeth has a few secrets of her own about what happens to the Darcy family in the future.
But we’re here for romantic tension, right? In this scene, late one evening Darcy has come looking for Elizabeth, who’s in the library avoiding Miss Bingley. In this scene, about a third of the way into the book, we get to see the growing attachment between two people born 200 years apart.
“What are you doing here, anyway?” She put the dictionary volumes back. “You know I left to keep my patience. I can only listen to Miss Bingley go on about her accomplishments and my lack of them for so long.”
Mr. Darcy set his candlestick on the mantle and stoked the dying embers of the fire. “I wanted to be certain my guest found a means of passing the evening.”
“I suspect you got tired of Miss Bingley praising every idea that crosses your brain. Tell me this: Have you ever tried to get her to state an opinion, then professed the opposite opinion just to watch her trip over her words to contradict herself and agree with you?”
He laughed. Mr. Darcy actually laughed! She did love these unguarded moments with him. He rubbed his hand across his mouth and shook his head, his laughter fading, but his amusement stayed in his eyes as he looked at her. “I would not admit to an ungentlemanly scheme.”
“Your big secret is safe with me.” She walked closer; it was hard to see him in the dim light of only two candles.
“Right now, you and your origins are my greatest secret.”
“That secret is safe too. I made you a promise.”
“I have not forgotten. And I have no reason to doubt you.”
Their silence and lingering eye contact stretched out a moment too long. In less than three weeks, these moments would end. “Hence why I’m here taking a mental health break rather than doing what I would do in 2011, which is tell Miss Bingley where she can shove it.”
“She has not been rude to you, not in my presence. I thought your indignation was on my behalf.”
“It mostly is. She is shamelessly throwing herself at you, and it’s painful to watch. I’ll bet she’s ordered the monogrammed towels, so watch out. I think the nineteenth-century words to describe Miss Bingley’s behavior toward me are ‘civil disdain.’ If she’s the sort of woman you meet at dances, I can understand why you haven’t married.”
“Perhaps instead I remain single because I am . . . what was your word for an obnoxious person?”
“A jerk?” She laughed. “I told you, you weren’t as much of a jerk as I originally thought.” Although he teased, he sounded defensive at being thought of as a jerk. “Don’t be so offended; you didn’t even think I was a woman when you first saw me.”
Darcy turned quickly and walked to the table where she previously set Marmion aside. With his back still to her, he said quietly, “Yes, but that was when I first knew you. It has been many weeks now that I—I realized how mistaken I was.” He handed her the book, but not before her heart turned over in her chest. After staring into her eyes a heartbeat too long, he said, “We ought to return to the others.”
She nodded and hastily remembered to grab her candlestick from the table. It guttered and went out, and she spilled the wax, hissing in pain as some splashed on her hand and she dropped the book. Mr. Darcy was instantly at her side, taking the holder from her and laying both of their candles aside before scraping off the hardening wax from her hand.
“Good heavens! I shall have to teach you how to carry a candle upright.”
She had no witty rejoinder. Elizabeth was engrossed in looking at his long-fingered, smooth hands and noticing how warm they felt around her own. The hot wax was nothing.
Thank you, Heather, for taking the time to share this excerpt with us! I am so excited to read your book as I have loved all your others. (edit- I have now read it and highly recommend it!) Be sure to check out all the other blog tour stops along the way.
Heather Moll is an avid reader of mysteries and biographies with a masters in information science. She found Jane Austen later than she should have and made up for lost time by devouring her letters and unpublished works, joining JASNA, and spending too much time researching the Regency era. She is the author of Nine Ladies, Two More Days at Netherfield, and His Choice of a Wife. She lives with her husband and son and struggles to balance all of the important things, like whether or not to buy groceries or stay home and write. Visit her blog and subscribe to her newsletter for a freebie and monthly updates.
Thank you for taking the time to stop in today. Happy reading -Melissa