Pemberley’s Christmas Governess by @reginajeffers is a Snuggle Up Event pick #regency #jaff #romance
Pemberley’s Christmas Governess: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary
Classic romance, Regency romance, JAFF, Austen-inspired romance
Two hearts. One kiss. Following his wife’s death in childbirth, Fitzwilliam Darcy hopes to ease his way back into society by hosting a house party during Christmastide. He is thrilled when his cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam sends a message saying not only will he attend, but the colonel is bringing a young woman with him of whom he hopes both Darcy and the colonel’s mother, Lady Matlock, will approve. Unfortunately, upon first sight, Darcy falls for the woman: He suspects beneath Miss Elizabeth Bennet’s conservative veneer lies a soul which will match his in every way; yet, she is soon to be the colonel’s wife. Elizabeth Bennet lost her position as a governess when Lady Newland accuses Elizabeth of leading her son on. It is Christmastide, and she has no place to go and little money to hold her over until after Twelfth Night; therefore, when Lieutenant Newland’s commanding officer offers her a place at his cousin’s household for the holy days, she accepts in hopes someone at the house party can provide her a lead on a new position. Having endured personal challenges which could easily have embittered a lesser woman, Elizabeth proves herself brave, intelligent, educated in the fine arts of society, and deeply honorable. Unfortunately, she is also vulnerable to the Master of Pemberley, who kindness renews her spirits and whose young daughter steals her heart. The problem is she must leave Pemberley after the holidays, and she does not know if a “memory” of Fitzwilliam Darcy will be enough to sustain her.
“Ridiculous!” Darcy growled as he went after the woman. “Miss! Miss!” he called, using his long legs to overtake her. “Miss, there must be—”
The lady turned to look upon him, and Darcy forgot to breathe. An odd sizzle of recognition swept through him—an emotion he had never felt previously, but one which felt natural, nonetheless.
The lady was a good head shorter than he, but not quite as petite as he had first thought. Delicate, very feminine features and a fragile bone structure could not disguise the firmness of character he discovered in her expression. Moreover, the lady possessed the type of eyes in which a man could easily become lost. Intelligent eyes. They glistened from the cold, but when they looked at him, Darcy thought he could see a future that had long evaded him. Her eyes were green with a touch of woodsy brown. Whether he liked it or not, he suspected they would haunt his dreams tonight, but he took quick note they were equally “haunted,” providing the woman a hint of vulnerability—a look which made him want to reach out and tug her into his embrace and offer her his protection.
Holding his hands tightly in fists at his side to keep the tug of possession from claiming his good sense, he said stiffly, “There is some mistake, miss. The colonel wrote specifically to ask us to welcome you into our home. Please permit me to escort you inside.”
She stared at him with curious interest. A small smile tugged at the corners of her lips, and Darcy had the distinct feeling a smile on her lips might be his undoing. “I did not wish to interrupt the colonel’s homecoming. He has spoken often of the wonderful times he spent at Pemberley.” She glanced around. “It is truly a magnificent estate, sir.”
“I am pleased you find it so,” Darcy said, as a smile also claimed his lips. “You should view it in the spring and summer when it is green and full of color.”
She sighed deeply. “I would enjoy doing so very much. When I was—” The lady paused, giving her head a good shake. “My memories are not significant or of interest to you, sir.”
Darcy was not best pleased with her response. He would have liked to hear more of her opinion of his estate and her memories, but, instead, he presented her a slight bow. “Permit your maid to take your bags—” He looked to the girl, who appeared familiar. “I have seen you before, have I not?”
The maid dipped an awkward curtsey. “Yes, sir. I be Mr. Crownley’s daughter, Hannah, sir.”
“Of course,” he said. “I thought you away from home.”
“I was, sir. In Gloucestershire.”
Darcy nodded his acceptance. “I hope your mistress means to allow you to spend time with your family. Crownley will wish to see you for Christmas.”
“I have already told Hannah she may spend as much time as she likes with her family.”
“Good,” Darcy stated. “Then permit Hannah and my men to secure your bags and come away with me.” He offered the woman his arm. “The colonel’s mother is eager to take your acquaintance.”
She hesitated. “But I do not know your name, sir,” she said with a pert lift of her chin and with what sounded of a tease.
He smiled easily, realizing it had been forever since he had felt this light-hearted. “There is no one about to introduce us. The colonel is in the house,” he reminded her.
The lady glanced to the maid. “Hannah holds both of our acquaintances. Could not she perform the deed?”
He said with another grin of satisfaction for the privilege of speaking to such an enchanting woman, “Miss Crownley, might you provide me the acquaintance of your mistress?”
The maid giggled, but she managed a proper curtsey. “Lard, I never thought—” The girl sobered immediately. “Mr. Darcy, may I give you the acquaintance of Miss Bennet? Miss Bennet, the master of Pemberley, Mr. Darcy.”
“Charmed, Miss Bennet.” He repeated with a bow. “If you have no objections, miss, I would see you inside the house. You must be quite chilled through standing outside for so long.”
The lady curtseyed. “Charmed indeed, Mr. Darcy,” she said softly.
As he turned her steps toward the main entrance, in Darcy’s mind, time slowed. Desire as he had never known found a place in his chest. Instead of the main door, he was half-tempted to lead the woman to a nearby folly and enjoy more of the lady’s smiles. An insidious whisper pronounced her as his. Yet, when he reached the still open door, reality slapped him in the face.
“There you are, Miss Bennet,” his cousin said as the lady left Darcy’s arm to stand beside Fitzwilliam. “My lady, with your permission, I would give you the acquaintance of Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Miss Bennet, my mother, the Countess of Matlock.”
Darcy looked on as the woman, who had just bewitched him with a simple smile, executed a perfect curtsey. “I am humbled, my lady, by your kind recognition.” She glanced to the colonel and smiled largely. “Colonel Fitzwilliam has told me numerous tales of his family.”
The countess arched an eyebrow which said she thought Edward’s actions odd, as did Darcy, for his cousin had shared nothing of the lady with any of his family, but Miss Bennet had said something similar to him only moments earlier. Darcy’s aunt smiled her “social” smile. “I believe I speak for all of the colonel’s family in saying we will be most happy to learn more of you, Miss Bennet. For now, welcome to Pemberley.”
From a place on the staircase, Hurst called out, “Now, boys. No way for children to act. Louisa, I say do, something!”
Mrs. Hurst caught one of the boys just as Mrs. Anderson came rushing upon the scene. The nurse presented all a quick curtsey. “I apologize, Mr. Darcy. I be puttin’ Miss Cassandra down for a nap, and the boys slipped out. They followed their parents after Mr. and Mrs. Hurst left the nursery.”
Mrs. Anderson’s whole demeanor said she was fearful of Darcy’s disfavor. He did not like the look on the woman, who had been very loyal to his family over the years. He said, “No harm, Mrs. Anderson. I will ask Mrs. Reynolds to have Megs and another maid take turns in assisting you. I am grieved to have added to your duties. I will see you are readily compensated.”
“I beg your pardon, Mr. Darcy. Might I be of assistance, sir? I would be happy to return the boys to the nursery and entertain them until the maid can return to her duties there.” Miss Bennet’s earnest expression said she spoke honestly. “Surely there are some items in the house which can be used to entertain the boys. Toy soldiers, perhaps, from when you and the colonel were younger. Most large households store such items away as the children age.”
His cousin suggested, “The grey trunk. We kept all our best cavalry in it.”
Darcy nodded his understanding and looked to his butler.
“I believe it was placed in the attic some years back, sir. I will have someone bring it down immediately, sir.”
“We should have done so before now,” Mr. Darcy admitted, although, in reality, it should be the Hursts’ responsibility to see their children were entertained.
Miss Bennet immediately handed her outer wear to Mr. Nathan and then climbed a few steps to claim the hand of first one of the Hurst boys and then the other. “Why do you not come with me? Mr. Darcy has promised us a treasure chest full of toys to explore together. Will that not be grand?”
The youngest of the two said, “Yes, ma’am.”
The lady turned to Darcy. “With your permission, sir,” she murmured.
Darcy attempted to keep the frown from his features, but he knew he failed. “I must object, Miss Bennet. It would be the worst of society to accept a young lady into my home as a guest and then expect her to perform the work of a governess. Neither I nor my household can impose upon your good nature in such a manner.”
“I assure you, sir, I would not feel put upon in any such way. I prefer to make myself useful, and, as my position in society is one of governess, please permit me to assist you.”
Without waiting for his permission, she turned the boys’ steps toward the above storey and gracefully climbed the stairs to where Mrs. Anderson waited to show her the way. As her little party turned toward the nursery, he heard her say, “You must tell me your names. I am Miss Bennet.”
“Governess?” the countess asked her son. “Did Miss Bennet say she was a governess?”
Buy Links (including BookBub):
Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Pemberleys-Christmas-Governess-Prejudice-Holiday-ebook/dp/B09KHK7FTG/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=pemberley%27s+christmas+governess&qid=1635602893&s=digital-text&sr=1-3 Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09KNCX1RF?ref_=pe_3052080_397514860 Book Bub https://www.bookbub.com/books/pemberley-s-christmas-governess-a-pride-and-prejudice-holiday-vagary-by-regina-jeffers It will also be available to read on Kindle Unlimited.
November is a time to be thankful. What are you most thankful for this year?
God has blessed me with a loving son and three adorable grandchildren, with whom I am able to mark special holidays and to create memories for when I am no longer around. Family is VERY important to me. Moreover, recently I made the move to purchase a new home, one my 74-year-old knees can tolerate . . . one without stairs to climb multiple times per day. Shortly after the first of the year, I will be moving into a new build, one for which I have been saving funds to purchase for some ten years.
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Regina Jeffers, an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era romances, has worn many hats over her lifetime: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, tax preparer, journalist, choreographer, Broadway dancer, theatre director, history buff, grant writer, media literacy consultant, and author. Living outside of Charlotte, NC, Jeffers writes novels that take the ordinary and adds a bit of mayhem, while mastering tension in her own life with a bit of gardening and the exuberance of her “grand joys.”
Social Media Links:
Every Woman Dreams (Blog) https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com Austen Authors (Blog) http://austenauthors.net Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Regina-Jeffers-Author-Page-141407102548455/?fref=ts Twitter https://twitter.com/reginajeffers Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Regina-Jeffers/e/B008G0UI0I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1479079637&sr=8-1 Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/jeffers0306/ BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/regina-jeffers Instagram https://www.instagram.com/darcy4ever/ You Tube Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzgjdUigkkU Website https://rjefferscom.wordpress.com/