WIPSunday: A Sense of Obligation

This week I didn’t get to write anything new, which means it’s been a crazy week. Instead, I edited A Sense of Obligation. I’ve mentioned before that I expanded Jane and Bingley scenes and here’s a snippet from one of my favorite additions!

dress finalIn the carriage on the way to his solicitor’s office, he shook his head. Caroline had not taken the news of his engagement to Jane well. She took the news of Darcy’s engagement to Elizabeth even worse. When Miss Lucas’ betrothal was announced at the ball, Caroline’s mouth fell open. He found Charlotte Lucas very pleasant company, but women like his sister only saw that she was plain, nearly on the shelf, and had no fortune and no style. Caroline had not kept her complaints to herself in the days between the ball and Darcy’s wedding.

“What can possibly recommend her to him?” she asked over breakfast while Darcy was out riding the morning after the ball.

“I daresay he loves her,” Louisa replied.

“Love? Nonsense! Why should a man of Mr. Darcy’s stature marry a woman as lowborn as Eliza Bennet for love?”

He and Louisa shared a look and simply shook their heads.

“He has a duty to his estate and blood line to marry someone of better standing. It was rumoured he would make a match with his cousin.”

Bingley rolled his eyes. “You have spent years saying that rumour was incorrect. You cannot change your opinion merely because he did not choose you.”

Caroline scoffed and rose to pour another cup of tea. “You ought to have done better than Jane, too,” she said. She furiously stirred the tea, and the spoon clanging on the side of her teacup grated his nerves nearly as much as her words.

“Jane is a gentleman’s daughter and will make a wonderful mistress to any estate I purchase. I have done fine by my duty.”

Mr. Hurst grumbled, “See to yours now, Caroline.”

She returned to her seat and pouted a moment. “There were far too many betrothals announced at the ball! Reverend Black’s scandalous sermon the other week must have instigated all of these. Good heavens! Can you imagine Miss Lucas found in a compromising position?”

“That is enough! I will not allow you to malign another person’s name at my table.” It had felt good to take a firm stand.
Caroline continued as though she did not hear. “It must be why Darcy proposed to Eliza as well. I am certain she used some kind of allurement on him when she stayed here. There was no need for her to arrive at all! She came solely to gain Mr. Darcy’s notice!”

Bingley stood and tossed his napkin on the table. “You have gone too far. You have attempted to smear Miss Lucas’ name and now Darcy and Miss Elizabeth’s. Who is next? Jane? Me?”

“Do be serious, Charles. You at least liked Jane the entire time we have been here. If only you would have returned to Town, we could have nipped this little infatuation in the bud, but you must see it is quite different than Darcy’s interest in Eliza.”

Bingley had turned red in anger. “It is clear you will not learn. I will not be beholden to your welfare any longer. You know I journey to London in part to change matters of your dowry as you are recently of age, and I am no longer your guardian. As such, you will have complete control of your shares of our Father’s company, and I encourage you to either marry this Season or make plans for your own establishment, for you will no longer be welcome in my home.”

A Sense of Obligation is available now for preorder on Amazon and will be releasing there, Nook, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, ibooks, GooglePlay and Scribd (I hope) on July 25th.

WIP Sunday: Sufficient Encouragement

I started a thing on Facebook a few weeks ago with my author friends where we share 200+ words of a current Work in Progress (WIP). I wanted to start posting it on here so I can also tag it on Twitter.

This is from Sufficient Encouragement, which may be coming out in the fall. The chapter number keeps bouncing around but currently this is from Chapter 12.


“How has your sister enjoyed Netherfield?” Elizabeth asked. It had been two days since Elizabeth and Jane had been invited there to meet Miss Darcy and Lord Arlington.

“She likes it very much. She was very happy to meet you and Miss Bennet at last.”

Elizabeth grinned. “I assure you the feeling is very mutual.” She glanced to where Miss Darcy now sat, next to Arlington, but under the inspection of Kitty and Lydia. “I fear my younger sisters are too exuberant for her.”

Darcy also watched his sister. “She is quite shy. I doubt she will wish to do much beyond visiting here.”

“A girl cannot always be kept at home,” she said, hoping her words were gentle.

Darcy stiffened. “And so she is not. Last summer she was sent to Ramsgate, and now she is here.”

“Yes,” she cautiously began, “but there is more to holidays than merely sitting and drinking tea in a new house.” Elizabeth watched in horror as an expression of hauteur overshadowed Darcy’s face.

“And the shops of Meryton are unique from the shops of Lambton or Ramsgate?”

She pursed her lips and did not answer. Instead, she directed her attention to Jane. She had blushed when Bingley asked to speak with Mr. Bennet and Elizabeth easily saw her nervousness. The interview with Mr. Bennet was taking longer than Elizabeth expected, which allowed her a moment to pause.

Surely Mr. Darcy knew his sister better than she did and understood what was best for her temperament. Miss Darcy was not out in society, and so it would be unlikely that she would attend any evening events at other places. She had never been in such a situation, stuck between childhood and adulthood, as it were. When Mrs. Bennet believed each daughter finished her education, she put them fully out in society. Certainly for Jane she hoped to secure a marriage. In Elizabeth’s case, it simply proved easier to allow her to attend events with Jane than listen her peas to go and insistence upon every detail when they returned. Details of people’s expressions and way of talking, that is. Mrs. Bennet quickly tired of attempting to recount such things, but would gladly regale everyone with ears on the courses of a meal or the lace on a gown. The younger daughters followed suit and could not be kept home if Elizabeth and Jane got put out at fifteen.
Elizabeth realized it was not her place to push Miss Darcy into more adult situations than her brother wished. Indeed, she regretted she did not have time to learn more of herself before she was told to appear a certain way for Society’s sake. Several minutes had passed with Darcy sitting silently next to her, and just when she resolved to turn to him and speak, she was surprised to hear him instead.

“I apologize, Miss Elizabeth. The truth is that I do not entirely know what I am doing, raising a young girl, and while her paid companion is everything proper she does not necessarily challenge my assumptions. If you think other outings would be beneficial…”

She smiled at him. “No apology is necessary. I quite forgot my place.”

“No, you were advising me out of concern for my sister and spoke forthrightly instead of out of deference. I expect no less from my friends.”

A part of Elizabeth swelled with pride, but the notion of friendship with Darcy could not entirely satisfy. She took a calming breath. “In that case, I will tell you my thoughts. I have taken the time to consider that as she is not fully out in society, she should not attend other functions. But a lady’s holiday should be much more than a respite from lessons. She should not only be bent over her needlework.”