You can read other Friday Features here: Reunited / Pledged / The Secrets of Pemberley / Mr. Darcy’s Miracle at Longbourn / The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter Second Edition / Sufficient Encouragement/ Mr. Darcy’s Kindness / Once Upon a December / Love Lasts Longest / A Sense of Obligation / No Cause to Repine / Undone Business / Letters from the Heart / The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter
Will they ever marry? And if they do, can they be safe?
Treasured is the last book (so far) in the Loving Elizabeth series. I do have plans for a companion series. I really hope to spend more time on that series in 2023.
For those that don’t know, I was diagnosed with MS in 2019 just a few months after Treasured came out. Within weeks of its release, I developed debilitating neurological symptoms. First I had tingling and intense pain in my legs, then a loss of sensation over my entire body. There days I was too dizzy to do more than grope my way go the bathroom. The fatigue was horrendous. I needed to nap before and after a shower, which had decreased to about once a week. I had immense brain fog and memory problems. I would lose my train of thought and couldn’t find words. I couldn’t grip things and my hands shook.
I did manage to write, at first, but learned that I needed to give up effort on something to preserve my health. Writing had to take a back seat. I didn’t quit, it just made everything take longer and come slower. Most of those symptoms subsided in the subsequent months but fatigue has continued to hound me over the years.
Add in a few moves out of state, homeschooling, pandemic, distance learning, some new diagnoses and a surgery, more homeschooling and I just haven’t stayed on top of my writing plans. There have been times when I’ve had to put aside a passion project, like the companion to the Loving Elizabeth trilogy for a story that more readers will want. The market has changed drastically since Covid hit and I’ve had to be flexible. So, please continue to have patience with me. I do have firm plans for at least two books in that series!
Getting back to Treasured, after rapidly releasing book 1 and 2 within 30 days, I decided to let myself have a bit more breathing room with this book. I did have it on pre-order when book 2 released and it was probably half way finished at the time. However, you don’t run a marathon every day, right?
I’ve said before that every book in the series has a happy for now, but getting to write the final happily ever after for Will and Lizzy was lovely. I had created quite a bit of suspense over who had sabotaged their relationship in book 2. Not only did the villain seek to end Will and Lizzy’s courtship, they then escalated matters to endanger Darcy’s life, which they must grapple with during Treasured.
I typically write more angst in the relationship with a strong historical subplot. This series was one of the first times that I really focused on honing in on a specific trope (or two) for each book instead of a historical event or source of relationship conflict. I love how it all came together.
I’ve built on what I learned in this series and when adding in the additional sources of conflict and subplots those make more complex books that are, naturally, longer. However, I love that these novellas can be a satisfying read in a short time.
If you’ve read Treasured, were you surprised by who the real villain was?
Again, I’ll be editing this book match up with my current brand a little better.
Will said nothing as Elizabeth cried and took consolation. As she did, a part of her healed unexpectedly. This was what she had needed when she had first heard of Sam’s death. She had longed for Will’s embrace and expected his support. When they met again, she never thought she would have a chance to relive those feelings. However, that did not mean she was thankful he finally fulfilled the role of comforter if it came at this cost.
Beginning to calm, she thought over the letter once more. Will’s reaction was different from hers. It was not a concern of reliving the anguish of losing his father and friend that brought him pain. Unable to discern his feelings, Elizabeth turned her mind to other matters.
The post office clerk mentioned witnesses had seen a man with sandy blonde hair. Could it have been Wickham? He had traveled with them, and they already knew that he took Will’s letters. They could discern no motive for him to steal the mail. However, Elizabeth could not understand why he would want to kill Mr. Darcy.
In the weeks since the incident, Elizabeth had not forgotten about the carriage axle which broke on her way to Netherfield. Someone had designed to kill Will. Was this related? If so, why wait so long before attempting to murder the son?
Elizabeth drew back and met Will’s eyes, brushing away the tears that had fallen on his cheeks. “Do you have a suspect?”
Will’s arms tightened around Elizabeth. “Wickham,” Will said the word and a dark expression crossed face. “Who else? Who else has been such a bane to my very existence?”
“I am frightened,” Elizabeth admitted. Throughout her life, she had relied on her courage. She could confess her fears only to Will.
“I am very sorry, love. I do not wish it…” His voice broke, and after a moment he attempted to speak again. “Perhaps it would be for the best…” He trailed off.
Will kissed Elizabeth once more. After facing the truth of their loved ones’ demise and all the emotion it brought on, their lips frantically met, drawing a different sort of comfort from one another. They were here, they were alive, they had this moment together.
Will tore his lips from hers and dropped his forehead to her shoulder. “How can I ask it of you? How can I bear it again?”
Suddenly, Elizabeth understood what Will had meant earlier. He was speaking of giving her up! Or at the very least, of postponing their marriage. Did she mean so little to him? Registering dampness on her gown, she realized Will cried at the thought of their separation. No, it was not that he desired this.
As though she had asked her question aloud, he spoke. “I would do anything to keep you safe, Elizabeth. Perhaps we are not meant to…”
Elizabeth pressed a finger to Will’s lips to silence him. “Do not say it! We are meant to be together. I have no intention of giving you up now or ever. You are mine, Will Darcy!”
She threw her arms around his neck. The unexpected movement knocked him to the ground. She leaned over Will and did not let go. In this position, they shared breath, and she could feel his heartbeat. Meeting his eyes, she considered her next words carefully. “I am not afraid at all for me. It is you that I worry about. It is you Wickham has targeted. If by some extreme misfortune, I am injured because I am with you or loved by you, I will gladly bear it. I would rather have one moment on this earth as your wife than live for one hundred years without you.”
Together they can conquer anything…and their enemies know it.
Just as all seems well in Will Darcy’s life, old troubles reemerge. Now, he may have to choose between following his heart and keeping his beloved safe.
Elizabeth Bennet has waited five years to marry Will and is determined to see them to the altar. Confident their love will prevail, she bears their trials with patience and cleverness.
The final book in the Loving Elizabeth Series, Treasured is a dramatic conclusion to Will and Elizabeth’s saga. If you like love stories with the couple fighting outside forces, a knight in shining armor, and spirited heroines buy today!