Title: Vampire Darcy’s Desire: A Paranormal Pride and Prejudice Vagary
Author: Regina Jeffers
Genre: Paranormal; Regency Romance; Austenesque
Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half human/half vampire dhampir, Fitzwilliam Darcy vows to live a solitary life rather than inflict the horrors of his life upon an innocent wife and his first born son. However, when he encounters the captivating Elizabeth Bennet, his will is sorely tested.
As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a different kind of “pride” and his enemy’s “prejudice,” while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love. Evil forces, led by George Wickham, the purveyor of the curse, attack from all sides, and Darcy learns his only hope to survive is to align himself with Elizabeth, who is uncannily astute in how to defeat Wickham, a demon determined to destroy each generation of Darcys.
Vampire Darcy’s Desire retells Austen’s greatest love story in a hauntingly compelling tale. Can love be the only thing that can change him?
Stepping from the bookstore, Elizabeth found neither her husband nor the carriage. “Where can they be?” she mused aloud. “Surely Georgiana and Belton are at the coach by now.” Impatient, as usual, she paced along the walkway. It was not like Darcy to be late. Agitated, she searched both sides of the street for her husband, Georgiana, or even one of the servants in the Darcy livery. Reaching the alley, a flash of color along a row of boxes caught her eye, and Elizabeth turned toward the bright object. Georgiana’s slipper! How did it get there? And where is she? She rushed forward to retrieve it.
The overhang of the buildings blocked the little winter sun the day offered, and the alley was heavily draped in shadows. “Georgiana?” she called, and then listened before stepping further into the opening. Nothing moved, and Elizabeth turned to leave, but then a muffled whimper froze her in place.
“Georgiana!” she yelled louder, before charging into the dusky obscurity.
As if a light were thrown on the scene, Elizabeth stared in horror at the tableau before her. Georgiana, wide-eyed, stood in the narrow, gloom-filled street. Wickham held one hand over her mouth and the other wrapped around her waist, and her hands were tied behind her back. Georgiana struggled to free herself, but Wickham’s mouth remained poised above the indentation of her neck.
“Step away, Wickham!” Elizabeth’s voice rebounded off the brick walls.
“Mrs. Darcy.” He raised his head but did not release his captive. “You may be next, but you must wait your turn, my dear. Your lovely sister is ahead of you.”
Elizabeth squared her shoulders. If she could delay the wretched creature, mayhap Darcy would arrive in time to assist her. She spoke slowly and loudly: “I said to release her!”
“If you insist, Elizabeth,” Wickham said with a laugh, but he did not slacken his hold on Georgiana. “You may go first.”
“I am not Elizabeth to you,” she insisted. She lifted the chain, exposing the jeweled cross. “You will release Mr. Darcy’s sister.”
He challenged, “Do you think a pitiful crucifix has any effect on me?”
“Actually, I believe it does,” she asserted. “If not, you would have claimed me at the Netherfield.” She extended the cross before her for protection. “I think, Mr. Wickham, the reason Georgiana is still alive is because she wears a similar crucifix.”
“This thing?” Wickham flicked at the chain with his finger, but Elizabeth noted he did not touch the cross.
Realizing Georgiana required hope if they stood a chance of surviving this encounter, Elizabeth addressed Darcy’s sister directly: “Georgiana, you must believe in your brother. The crucifix protects you as long as you wear it.” She watched with satisfaction as the terror on the girl’s face diminished. “Your brother does all to protect you. Continue to believe in him.”
Wickham jerked Georgiana closer. “Why do you care if I take her? Why not claim the freedom you will earn with her death?” He wrenched Georgiana’s head to the side.
“Because we all swore to end the curse our ancestors began,” Elizabeth said coolly.
“Our ancestors?” Wickham sneered.
Elizabeth smiled. “Do you not know Arawn Benning was my ancestor, just as Ellender D’Arcy was William’s? How ignorant you are! Fate has brought my dear husband and me together. You cannot defeat us, Wickham.”
“Yet I can still exact my revenge.”
Elizabeth focused on frightening Wickham away. She still clutched the crucifix, but then she thought of the book’s diagram. “Wickham George!” she called, taking a step forward.
Wickham did not turn a hair. “My followers call me My lord. You may do so when you join me.”
“Pigs will sprout wings first.” Elizabeth’s mind raced. Reverse the letters. Visualize Wickham’s name and reverse the letters. It was a silly thought, but she was desperate. “Mahkicw Egroeg!” she tried.
“Gibberish, Mrs. Darcy?” Wickham mocked. “You grasp at straws, my dear.” He lowered his voice and spoke in an intimate tone, “Taking you will double my pleasure. Revenge on both the D’Arcys and the Bennings in one fell swoop.”
* * *
Darcy bounded from the coach almost before it could stop. Belton jumped from the rear perch. Both men looked to the bench where the footman had left Georgiana. “Where is she?” Darcy demanded.
“I do n-not know, Mr. Darcy,” the servant stammered.
Darcy took no more than ten steps along the walkway when he heard her voice. Elizabeth stood in the darkened alleyway, talking loudly to someone deeper in the shadows. He assumed Georgiana was also within. Obviously, someone could be holding a gun on both of them. With a silent click of the switch and a twist of the handle, he slid the sword, a narrow blade edged on both sides, from the cane. Then he reached for the small Queen Anne pistol he carried in his inside pocket. Easing his body along the wall and line of boxes, Darcy maneuvered to a place where he could better assess the situation. Yet, all he could view was Elizabeth’s skirt tail. He fought to control his urge to burst upon the scene. If her assailant had a gun, she would be dead before Darcy could clear the stacked boxes.
“Mahkicw Egroeg!” Elizabeth called out bravely. Darcy wondered at her words.
Then he heard the voice he most dreaded. “Gibberish, Mrs. Darcy? You are grasping at straws, my dear.”
Elizabeth paused, seemingly at a loss. “Georgiana!” she called out, as Darcy edged close enough to view Elizabeth’s profile. She stood with his crucifix dangling from a chain before her. “You can see Wickham has no power to defeat the crucifix. You must believe, Georgiana. You must believe in your brother and in me.”
Darcy wondered where she claimed her courage. Elizabeth faced Wickham’s demonic attack armed with nothing more than a jeweled cross.
She took another step forward, and Darcy nearly groaned, knowing the danger she was in. He wished he could observe his sister. “Release my sister at once!” Elizabeth demanded. Darcy winced, knowing how Wickham detested orders and those who dared to issue them.
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If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?
I am sick of COVID-19 and wearing grubby clothes around the house with no opportunities to dress up. Therefore, for Halloween, I would choose someone with old Hollywood glamour, such as Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Jane Powell, Grace Kelly, or the like. Unfortunately, at age 73, I will probably have to settle on Bea Arthur in “The Golden Girls.”
Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:
Vampire Darcy’s Desire presents Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as a heart-pounding vampire romance filled with passion and danger. Moreover, the core of the plotline is based on a traditional Scottish ballad, creating an engaging and romantic paranormal surprise.
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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 https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com
Austen Authors. http://austenauthors.net
YouTube Interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzgjdUigkkU