Almost there! My new book, A Matter of Honor, releases on Thursday, Sept 5. You can order the paperback now, and the e-book is available for preorder. Before we get to the chapter, there’s lots of other news, too:
- The audiobook of Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment was released yesterday, and I have to say Elizabeth Klett’s narration is brilliant!
- Want to help Hurricane Dorian victims by reading a good book? I’ll be donating all royalties for Conceit & Concealment and Mr. Darcy’s Enchantment through Sept 9 to hurricane relief as part of the Austen Variations Fundraiser for Hurricane Dorian. You can find a list of other Austen-inspired novels whose royalties are being donated here, and you can even donate to have yourself appear as a character in a book!
- Conceit & Concealment got a fabulous 5-star review at From Pemberley to Milton, which says, “Conceit and Concealment is amongst my all-time favorite books.” If you haven’t read this book yet, please check out the review!
- And because readers have been asking, yes, I am working on a new book, and already have about 20K words written. Looks like it’s going to be a bit of an angst-fest because Elizabeth becomes engaged to a man who is very dear to Darcy, so be prepared to hang on to your bonnets!
Darcy waited impatiently for three days until the theatre’s next performance took place, determined this time to get an answer from Elizabeth. Instead, he returned to Hanover Street in a state of sick frustration.
“You look unhappy,” said Ramsay. “No luck following Miss Bennet home, I take it?”
“There were two guards keeping everyone away from that side of the building,” Darcy bit out. “It would have been too obvious.”
Ramsay frowned. “Do you think it is because of you?”
“The timing certainly seems to suggest it.” Darcy collapsed into a chair. “I only tried to talk to her!”
Mrs. Ramsay brought him a glass of wine. “I do not know if a female perspective might be helpful, but it sounds as if she is feeling cornered. If she is frightened to speak to you, then it will only make things worse if you push to see her.”
“You think I should give up?” It felt like a betrayal.
“By no means,” said Mrs. Ramsay. “I wonder if you should change your tactics.”
“What do you mean?”
“You understandably want an answer from her right away, but I think you will do better if you do not press her so hard. She knows you want to speak to her. Give her time to stop running away and become curious as to your reasons. Stay away from her for a time. Let her feel more in control and less as if you are going to hunt her down regardless of her wishes.”
“You think I should sit around and do nothing?” He could not stay in Edinburgh forever, hoping for the merest glimpse of Elizabeth.
Ramsay said, “You have already done everything that honor requires. You offered for her hand and were refused. You sought her out, but she would not speak to you. No one could fault you if you gave up and left tomorrow. The question is whether you are satisfied with what you have done. If you are not, I agree it will take some patience. Show her you do not plan to force your company on her.”
“For how long?”
“I have a plan for that.” Mrs. Ramsay’s eyes twinkled. “Hogmanay is coming, and that is the one day of the year when no one will turn a tall, dark-haired young man away from their door.”
“That is brilliant, my dear!” Ramsay cried.
“I do not understand,” Darcy said irritably.
“Tis an old Scottish custom,” said Ramsay. “On Hogmanay, the first day of the new year, your luck for the year is determined by who is the first guest to set foot through your door after midnight. There are all sorts of good and bad omens attached to various types of first-footers, as we call them, but the very best luck of all is to have a tall, dark-haired young man carrying a basket of symbolic gifts – bread, salt, coal, and whisky. Even if your young lady does not believe in it, everyone else in her household will. It is the perfect way to meet her again in a situation where she should feel safe.”
“But I do not know where she lives. That was the reason for trying to follow her home.”
Mrs. Ramsay said briskly, “We will do it the hard way, by asking everyone if they know where Mrs. MacLean lives. Modistes, greengrocers, bakers, butchers – anyone with a business that might deliver to them. We will find it. There are few enough neighborhoods that well-to-do women would live in that it should not be difficult.”
“I am willing to try,” said Darcy.
“Finding her at the theatre would not work now, in any case. After tonight, it will be closed for a fortnight,” said Mrs. Ramsay.
Darcy frowned. “Closed for a fortnight? Why would the theatre close now?”
“Och, ’tis because of the kirk. The kirk barely permitted the theatre to open in the first place, and the actors dare not antagonize it,” said Mrs. Ramsay.
“’Tis because of your Christmas,” added Ramsay. “The kirk bans celebrating Christmas because they think all Christian feast days are but superstition. Many of the actors are from London and will not work on Christmas, but if the theatre closed for only that day, the kirk would accuse them of being papists. It is foolish, since it is merely English tradition and nothing to do with Rome, but there is no arguing with the kirk.”
“You do not celebrate Christmas?” Darcy asked in astonishment.
“Nay, ‘tis but another day here.”
“Not even Christmas dinner?”
“Not even that. I remember having Christmas dinner with your family when you brought me home for the school holiday, but we do not do that.”
No Christmas? Inconceivable! Darcy never considered it, but the idea of a year without Christmas was a bleak one. If he were in China or the Indies, it might not seem such a shock, but Scotland was part of Great Britain, and so was Christmas. Or so he had always thought.
He did not need more bleakness. The long search for Elizabeth and the bitter discovery she would not even acknowledge him had sapped any pleasure from his soul. Why was he even still here? He had come to rescue Elizabeth from disgrace, but she did not want to be rescued. Why could he not tell himself he had done the gentlemanly thing in finding her, and once he made her another offer of marriage, any obligation on his part was ended? But his heart did not believe it.
Now it would be even more waiting before he could have the chance of seeing her. The Ramsays did their best to keep him entertained, but the short days and cold weather kept his spirits depressed.
“Jasper, I am glad to see you.” Darcy shook his cousin’s hand in a firm grip. “I did not know if you would come.”
“I am happy to see you, just not at the theatre.” Jasper sounded much friendlier now. “How have you been? What brings you to Edinburgh?”
Darcy had his answer carefully prepared. “I am looking for someone who disappeared after being caught in a scandal. I recently learned my friend was living in Edinburgh under a false name, so here I am. I was at the theatre that night in case I might spot my friend in the audience. I have to confess I paid little attention to the play until I noticed you.”
“You did not miss much. Bluebeard is a poor excuse for a play, but it is popular, and we must earn our keep,” Jasper said cheerfully. “Who is he? Do I know him?”
“I doubt it. I do not feel comfortable telling you his name since he has gone to such efforts to hide it.” He hoped Jasper would not make the connection between his missing friend with a false name and his interest in the woman he knew as Miss Merton.
“Well, let me know if I can help you, although I doubt I can. I spend all my time with theatricals, so I rarely see other people.”
“Theatricals?” asked Darcy.
“Actors, stagehands, costumers – anyone associated with the theatre.”
“You are happy?” Darcy asked.
Jasper grinned. “Never been happier. I love acting and have made good friends, ones who care about more than gambling and prize fights.”
That was positive, at least. “How did you get the position?”
“A friend from Cambridge recommended me for it. I came up for an audition, and they gave it to me. It was just bit parts at first, but now I am getting bigger roles. Siddons says he might give me a lead in a few months.” Jasper certainly sounded enthusiastic.
“How long do you intend to stay?”
The enthusiasm vanished. “As long as I can. Sooner or later, my mother will put the hounds on my track. You might as well tell me; what is the news from the family?”
“As far as I know, they are well. Your mother came to see me shortly before I left London, asking me to look for you. She was worried because you did not pick up your last quarter’s allowance. I told her you were an adult and would come back when you wished, and if you had been in trouble, you likely would have contacted me.”
Jasper snapped his fingers. “I never thought about the allowance. I should do something about that. Damnation, I hate making her worry, but I cannot bear to live in her world.”
Darcy said cautiously, “If you wish, and only if you wish, I could write to her and say I have heard from a reliable friend that you are well and working to earn your keep.”
“Would you?” Jasper’s relief was obvious. “You should say that I am working at a job she would disapprove of. That will make her believe it.”
“A job unsuitable to your rank?”
“Perfect! And true, too.” He hesitated. “I do love them, you know, but I love them better from a distance.”
Darcy nodded. “Your parents can be overwhelming. Your brother Richard has told me the same thing.”
“He feels it, too? I never knew. Is he still at the War Office?”
“They sent him off to work with Wellington for a time, but he should be back in January. He was supposed to return to India, but they canceled it at the last minute.” He could see that Jasper, who hated to sit still, was already getting restless. “I am very curious about your acting. What roles do you play?” If he could get Jasper to talk about the theatre, he might let something slip about Elizabeth.
It was a vain hope. Jasper did not seem to want to talk about the theatre. Instead, he said, “I must be going. Good to see you, Darcy.”
Darcy steeled himself to let Jasper go instead of wringing his neck until he told him where to find Elizabeth. He needed Jasper’s goodwill, and that required patience. “Of course. Thank you for coming.” He opened the study door only to discover a small body standing on the opposite side of it.
“Are you truly an actor?” Matilda asked Jasper. “Mama said I must not disturb you, so I stood here just like a little mouse. I did not disturb you, did I?”
“Not at all,” said Darcy, smiling despite himself. “You were very good. Miss Ramsay, may I present Mr. Fitzpatrick, an actor at the Theatre Royal? Jasper, Miss Ramsay has dreams of running away to become an actress.”
Matilda’s wide eyes gazed up at Jasper adoringly. “What is it like to act?”
Jasper, in one of his mercurial shifts, squatted next to the girl. “It is the best feeling in the world. It is exciting and very, very hard work.”
“I can work very hard,” announced the girl. “I wish I could see you act.”
Jasper thought for a moment. “Since you are too young to go to the theatre, would you like me to perform a speech for you here?”
“Oh, yes, please!” cried the girl.
He looked very serious. “Then let us ask your mama or your nurse if I may. If you want to become an actress, it is very important that you never speak to strange men without your mama or your nurse present.”
“But Mr. Darcy is here, and I am going to marry him when I grow up.”
Jasper cast an amused glance at Darcy. “Is that so?”
“So I am told,” said Darcy dryly. “But I imagine Mr. Fitzpatrick will need a bigger room if he is to act for you, so we should ask your mama.”
Matilda grabbed Jasper’s hand and pulled him across the entrance hall and into the drawing room. “Mama, this is Mr. Fitz… Fitz…”
“Fitzpatrick,” said Jasper with an elegant bow.
The girl beamed. “He is an actor and he is going to do a speech for me, and I did not disturb him at all, not even one little bit, did I?” She looked hopefully at Jasper, still holding his hand.
“Not in the slightest,” he assured her. “But I can only do this if your mama gives me permission.”
“Why, I would not miss it for anything,” said Mrs. Ramsay with an engaging smile. “It will be even better than going to the theatre.”
“Huzzah!” cried Matilda.
Jasper looked around the room, and then told the little girl, “Now, you must sit here on the floor, and imagine you are in front of a campfire. You are a soldier who has been fighting a long war in France. You are tired and cold. There are only a few of you left alive, and tomorrow you have to fight a hopeless battle against a huge army. Can you do that?”
She nodded eagerly as she followed his instructions.
“I am King Harry, leading the army. Come, Darcy, I will need you to give me my cue.” He took Darcy aside. “You must say ‘Oh, that we now had here but one ten thousand of those men in England that do no work today.’ Can you remember that?”
“Say it one more time.” Darcy found this new Jasper entertaining, if nothing else.
Jasper repeated it. “You do not have to be perfect.”
“I am glad of that.” He would be lucky to get most of it out.
Jasper turned to face Matilda, rubbed his hands together, and shifted from one foot to the other. He stood straighter and nodded at Darcy.
Darcy said, “Oh, that we now had but one ten thousand of those men that do no work today.”
Jasper rounded on him in apparent anger. “What’s he that wishes so? My cousin, Westmorland? No, my fair cousin; if we are mark’d to die, we are enough to do our country loss; and if to live, the fewer men, the greater share of honour…” He continued through the rest of the monologue, gesticulating and addressing Matilda directly at times.
After he finished, Jasper grinned boyishly at Matilda. “Well, what do you think?”
Her eyes were round. “It was the most perfect thing I have ever seen in my entire life.”
Jasper chuckled. “That is what I like – an appreciative audience!”
“Bravo, Mr. Fitzpatrick!” said Mrs. Ramsay warmly. “You made me feel as if we were indeed in an army camp in France. Do you play King Harry?”
“Alas, no,” said Jasper. “I am merely Bardolph, but I am an understudy for the king.”
Matilda ran to her father, who now stood by the door, and tugged on his trousers. “May I marry Mr. Fitzpatrick when I grow up?”
“Jilted, by God!” exclaimed Darcy.
“You are at an unfair disadvantage,” said Jasper modestly. “Women always prefer actors.”
“That was an impressive performance. I had no idea you had such talent.” Darcy was astonished by the intensity Jasper had brought to his speech.
Jasper bowed with a flourish. “Thank you.” But Darcy could tell it meant something to his cousin.
“When will I be old enough to go to a play?” asked Matilda plaintively.
“Not until you are eighteen,” said her father.
“But that is forever!” she wailed and burst into loud sobs.
Jasper stared helplessly at the distraught child. “I am sorry.”
“Mr. Fitzpatrick,” said Ramsay loudly to be heard over his daughter’s wails. “Might it be possible to take Matilda to see the inside of the theatre one day when it is not in use?”
“Of course!” Jasper brightened immediately. He squatted down again. “Would you like to come inside the theatre with your mama and papa? We can even stand on the stage and pretend there is an audience.”
A smile broke through her tears. “Oh, yes! And Mr. Darcy, too?”
“Darcy, too,” he assured her, though he looked less pleased about that part.
Darcy resolved to buy Matilda a bag of sweetmeats for getting him in the door of the theatre again. It could be his chance to see Elizabeth.
“Thank you for accompanying me,” Jasper told Elizabeth when they reached the stage door. “I have no idea what to say to a little girl if something goes wrong.”
“It sounds as if you did well the first time,” Elizabeth pointed out. “Who is she, anyway?”
“The daughter of a friend of a friend,” said Jasper gloomily. “She is very enthusiastic.”
“Well, if she is theatre-mad, all you need to do is to talk about the theatre, and that is what you do naturally.” They moved through the cluttered backstage area and out into the house where the audience usually sat.
Jasper said, “You might as well wait here in the vestibule until they come. No need for both of us to freeze outside.” He unlocked the main door and stepped through it.
Elizabeth paced back and forth across the vestibule. During a performance, it could get warm from all the body heat, but now it was chilly even with her pelisse and gloves on.
The door opened again, revealing a handsome couple, followed by Jasper holding a little girl’s hand, or perhaps she was holding his.
Behind them all came Mr. Darcy.
Elizabeth’s stomach flip-flopped with sudden horror. Why had she not asked further about this friend of a friend? Now she would be trapped in conversation with him. Could she keep up the pretense of not knowing him the entire time?
Jasper said, “This is the vestibule where the audience comes between plays, so you must imagine it is full of elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen. And pray allow me to present Miss Merton, who has graciously agreed to join us. Miss Merton, Miss Matilda Ramsay, Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay, and Mr. Darcy – oh, but you have met him already.”
Elizabeth curtsied. To avoid saying anything that could involve Darcy, she addressed the little girl. “Welcome to the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh, Miss Ramsay.”
The little girl bounced on her toes. “Are you an actress?”
“I only act when it is absolutely necessary, but my aunt is an actress,” said Elizabeth.
Jasper said, “Miss Merton’s aunt is Mrs. MacLean.”
Mrs. Ramsay exclaimed, “Oh, but Mrs. MacLean is a great favorite of mine. She brings such life to her roles that it is hard to take my eyes from her when she is on stage.”
Now Elizabeth had to look at Mrs. Ramsay even though Darcy was standing beside her. “I will tell her you said so.”
“I want to be an actress,” announced the little girl.
Elizabeth held her hand out to her. “Then we must show you the rest of the theatre.”
The little girl skipped between Jasper and Elizabeth as they entered the seating area.
“This is the pit, where most of the audience sits,” Jasper said. “They are usually more interested in talking than paying attention to the play, but if they dislike the play, they will jeer and throw things at us. I was hit in the arm by a potato once.”
“That was very rude!” cried Matilda.
Jasper laughed. “Yes, but it is part of the entertainment for them. They would not come to the theatre if they had to sit quietly and watch us. The people who sit in the private boxes tend to be better behaved. At least they rarely throw food at us.”
Elizabeth tried to avoid looking directly at Darcy, but something seemed odd about him in the glimpses she caught out of the corner of her eye. His head was bent toward Mrs. Ramsay’s. Were they flirting? Then he talked to her husband, pointing out something in the gallery that made Mr. Ramsay laugh.
“Here is the stage. The part in front of the curtain is called the apron,” she said brightly.
“How do you get there?” the girl asked excitedly.
“There are steps which will take us to the wings,” said Jasper. “This way, behind that door.”
Elizabeth risked a look back over her shoulder. Darcy was whispering something to Mrs. Ramsay. Had he developed a tendre for his friend’s wife? It did not seem like him.
Not like him. That was it. He was different today. In the past, Darcy had always watched her. Even in the early days of their acquaintance, she would often discover that he seemed to be studying her. Whenever she would turn around, his eyes would be on her. She had thought at first he looked at her only to criticize, but later realized it must have been admiration. Now that connection was gone. It was what she had wanted, was it not? Why, then, did she feel a pang of regret?
Could he possibly have believed her story that she was someone else? He would not have expected Elizabeth Bennet to lie to him about her identity, so perhaps he thought it must be true.
Or perhaps he had decided she was more trouble than she was worth and had just stopped caring about her.
She plastered a cheerful smile to her face and told little girl, “Here is the stage. It is set for the next performance of Bluebeard.”
The girl asked in an awed voice, “How did you get a ship inside the building?”
Jasper laughed. “It is not a real ship. Our audiences want to see an elaborate spectacle and would think it a poor production if we did not have something impressive. The carpenters work very hard to build our sets. Come behind the ship, and you will see it is but the appearance of a ship. The ship is only the beginning. We actually have live camels on stage during the performance.”
“Real camels?” demanded the girl.
Jasper laughed. “Real, live, smelly camels. Once one of them spat all over me when it was upset. I had to play the entire scene soaked in camel spittle!”
Elizabeth stepped into the wings, ostensibly to find a prop to show the girl, but in truth to take time to collect herself. Darcy had deliberately sought her out at their last meeting and tried to insist on talking to her. He was not actually ignoring her now; he had bowed when Jasper presented her, but everything he had said was directed to one of the Ramsays or Jasper. She was apparently of no importance.
To think she had been so terrified that he would pursue her! She had greatly overestimated her own appeal. It stung more than she wanted to admit.
The others came past the spot where she lurked in the shadows, giving her the chance to study Darcy surreptitiously. He looked no different than he had in the past. The only change was his attitude towards her. And now she was the one watching him.
That thought was intolerable. Blindly she turned back to find the prop table and grabbed the first impressive looking item she saw, a jeweled crown.
She hurried past the three adult visitors to Jasper, who was showing the girl how the ship was constructed. She set the crown on Jasper’s head. “Your crown, King Henry,” she said.
“Is that a real crown?” asked the girl excitedly.
“It looks real, does it not?” Elizabeth took the crown back and showed the inside to the girl. “But it is just paint and paste.”
Matilda studied it with a frown, carefully set it on her own head, and giggled.
Jasper cried, “Behold the queen!”
Mr. and Mrs. Ramsay exclaimed over their newly royal daughter while Darcy quietly said something to Jasper which made him laugh.
Jasper bowed to the girl. “Your Majesty, if you will be so kind as to come this way, I will show you the backstage area.”
Elizabeth hung back as the others trooped after Jasper, hoping to be alone, but Mrs. Ramsay appeared beside her. “You must permit me to thank you, Miss Merton. It was most generous of you to give up your afternoon to amuse a child you do not even know.”
“I am happy to help, and she is an engaging child,” Elizabeth said. “It is an unusual experience for us as well. Most mothers would have vapors at the idea of their daughter wishing to go on the stage.”
Mrs. Ramsay smiled. “Between us, I am one of them. We have no wish for Matilda to tread the boards, but if I were to tell her that, she would become absolutely determined to do so. She is a strong-willed child and as persistent as a terrier. Sometimes the best way to discourage her from an idea is to appear to encourage it.”
Elizabeth looked at her with a new respect. “That is a clever approach.”
Mrs. Ramsay gave a tinkling laugh. “We learned it out of sheer desperation. Pray excuse me, I think my husband wants me.” She crossed to join him in a conversation with Jasper. Darcy stood to one side, examining a jar of greasepaint, showing no interest in her.
Elizabeth suddenly found it unbearable. Impulsively she walked over to him. “I am glad you have accepted that I am not your old acquaintance.”
He turned to her with a look of surprise and bowed. “You have said so, and I am, of course, loath to contradict a lady.” He returned to examining the greasepaint and pried the lid off.
She could not miss his implication. He knew perfectly well who she was, and he could not be less interested in her now. Lifting her chin, she said, “I hope you enjoy your time in Edinburgh.” She quickly retreated to Jasper’s side, trying to draw strength from his familiar form.
Mrs. Ramsay patted Darcy’s arm. “You did beautifully.”
“It did not feel that way,” said Darcy evenly. He had hated every minute of it. All he had wanted was to enjoy the sight of Elizabeth and talk to her, and instead he had practically ignored her. He abhorred this kind of pretense.
“I know, but it worked,” Mrs. Ramsay said earnestly. “When she first saw you, she looked like a deer ready to bolt and tried to stay as far from you as she could. When you did nothing, she relaxed, and after that she started watching you. By the end she looked unhappy and deliberately tried to talk to you. Aye, I would call that a success.”
Did it count when Elizabeth had only spoken to him as a test? How could she think he would not recognize her? There might be a woman somewhere who looked exactly like Elizabeth Bennet, but she would not have Elizabeth’s melodious voice, her infectious laugh that could light up a room. She might wear a lavender scent like Elizabeth, but she would lack Elizabeth’s particular sway of the hips when she walked and the delicate movements of her hands. And she would not make his heart beat faster and every inch of him feel more alive.
Turning away after answering her question was one of the hardest things he had ever done, but Mrs. Ramsay was right. Following his inclinations had made Elizabeth fear him. It was hard to credit such an idea, since he had never known her to fail to rise to a challenge, but perhaps having to leave her family had shaken her confidence.
Now it would be over a fortnight until he could hope to see her at Hogmanay, a fortnight of dark, cold, empty days. His first Christmas without Georgiana and other family. He was far away from all of them except Jasper, who had told him to stay away and would deny their relationship if asked, alone in a country without Christmas.
Elizabeth needed to cover her discomfiture after the Ramsays and Darcy left. Jasper knew her too well, and he might say something to Darcy. “You have a little admirer there,” she teased.
Jasper flashed a grin. “She says she is going to marry me when she grows up.”
“You should take care! She strikes me as a most determined young lady. Now, do you wish to run some lines while we are here or go home?”
“Home. I am starving.” He clutched at his stomach in a highly dramatic manner.
“You are always starving, even right after you eat a meal!” she teased, hoping some banter with Jasper would distract her from brooding about Mr. Darcy and today’s blow to her pride. But even while listening to Jasper’s pleasant chatter, her stomach roiled with thoughts of Darcy. Why should his disinterest hurt her now?
She had never sought his good opinion and had hoped never to see him again. She had always assumed he would waste no time in forgetting her after her refusal of his proposal, and the thought had not troubled her. Even when he had sought her out that evening backstage, her primary feeling had been fear of discovery, but lurking behind, she had felt complimented that some part of him still cared enough for her to wish to talk to her. It could never be, but it had fed her vanity and softened her sentiments towards him.
Now her pride was mortified by the discovery that he had no interest in her at all. She did not know why he had bothered to try to talk to her. Perhaps he just wished to get an uncomfortable meeting over with in private, to make certain there would be no scene. Once he learned she intended to deny his acquaintance, even that slight interest in her vanished.
Why did she have that hollow feeling in her stomach of having lost something precious when there had never been anything to lose?
I hope you’ve enjoyed these sample chapters, and that you’ll read the book to find out the further adventures of our gallant characters! I’ve loved reading your comments, and I’m waiting with bated breath to hear your reactions to the full story. Thanks for sharing this ride with me!
A Matter of Honor: When Fitzwilliam Darcy, still smarting from Elizabeth Bennet’s rejection, discovers she was forced to flee her home in disgrace owing to his actions, his course is clear. He must marry her. It is a matter of honor. All he has to do is find her and propose. Surely that will be simple enough.
But Elizabeth does not want to be found, especially not by Darcy. From the moment he entered her life, he has caused disaster after disaster. Now he has followed her all the way to Scotland, foolishly certain it’s within his power to fix all her problems. But far more is at stake than Darcy knows.
Darcy’s quest takes him from backstage at Edinburgh’s Theatre Royal to the wilds of the Scottish Highlands, where mysterious Highlanders prove both friend and enemy. And now his search risks exposing long-hidden secrets that threaten his happiness and her future.
On the run and in danger, Elizabeth is forced to make impossible choices to protect those whom she loves – including Darcy. Her growing attraction to him is at war with her need for caution, and the stakes are impossibly high. Can she trust him to continue to fight for her protection when he knows the whole truth? And if he does, will it be for love… or will it be merely a matter of honor?