The Deepest Regard

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The favorite romantic scene chosen by Belén Paccagnella is from her new book, When Duty Calls. This is the first time a scene has been posted from this book. We hope you enjoy it!

Rita is hosting the cover reveal today. Please visit From Pemberley to Milton and have a look.

A fortnight had passed since Elizabeth arrived at Pemberley. Not a day went by without discovery or growth, often leaving her second-guessing her former opinions and forcing her into quiet reflections. The feelings of sorrow she had harboured for weeks were gone and now gave way to new sentiments that bloomed like flowers in the spring. She was happy yet anxious and restless. The reason for these contradictory emotions: her husband, of course. He was the object of her dreams during the night and her constant distraction throughout the day.

Her change of mind happened gradually, and it was nesting firmly inside her chest. The mere presence of her husband made her feel warm, and her heart skipped a beat whenever Mr. Darcy bestowed upon her one of his charming smiles. She now found herself seeking his company and learning more about his tastes and habits in order to find new ways to promote his happiness.

Is this love? Elizabeth asked herself then wilfully dismissed the possibility. How could it be love when she had felt so strongly against him?

However, as impossible as Elizabeth believed them to be, the feelings she had been developing steadily since she received Mr. Darcy’s letter had grown into the deepest regard. This placed her in a most disadvantageous position, for it was not the acknowledgement of her own heart that troubled her but the unawareness of his. After their bitter fight, during which wounding words were exchanged in a fit of anger, she could not expect him to persevere in those sentiments she had rejected so emphatically on their wedding night.

Her uncertainty was fed by Mr. Darcy’s current demeanour since it gave her no clue about the state of his own heart. He was polite and considerate, a perfect gentleman, but there were no signs that the passion he once declared for her still existed. Occasionally, he would offer his arm as they walked together to the dining room, and there were times she felt his gaze upon her and could almost perceive embers of that old desire brightening his eyes. But those expressions vanished before she could discern what they truly meant. He had never tried to kiss her again. She feared now, however, that he never would. Mr. Darcy had loved her once, but she imagined his affection gone because of her past offences.

Is this a hopeless case? Elizabeth asked herself as she left her needlework on the table next to her settee. How can I win back the affection of a man so uncivilly rejected? What a wretched affair! She was completely at a loss over what to do. Her inability to think properly where her husband was concerned had her completely overwhelmed.

“That was quite a sigh, Mrs. Darcy.”

Startled, Elizabeth looked at the door to see none other than the object of her musings observing her with a diverted grin spreading across his lips. She had not expected him to be around the house at this hour in the day, and his sudden appearance was a pleasant yet unnerving surprise.

“I wonder what thoughts have employed your mind at this very moment to provoke such an extraordinary exhalation.”

If only he knew! Elizabeth breathed out a nervous laugh that sounded silly to her own ears. “Oh, it was nothing. Nothing of importance, I assure you.”

“Are you certain?” He left his post and walked towards her. “You seemed lost in your thoughts.”

On realising he would join her on the settee (which, at most, could accommodate two ladies with a light figure), Elizabeth shifted her body to make more room for him so there would be no brushing of legs that would increase her uneasiness. As he sat next to her, his gaze dropped from her face to her chest where the heart-shaped locket he gave her during their engagement rested. It was the first time she had worn it, and the small smile of appreciation that brightened his face told her he had noticed it.

Mr. Darcy told her about the visit he paid to the Talbots early in the morning in the company of Mr. Rawson, his steward.

“Mrs. Talbot expressed her gratitude for the apples you sent her. She asked me to tell you that she is making applesauce and promised to send you a jar in a few days.”

“That is too kind of her.”

“I have tasted it before, and I can assure you it is most delicious.”

She felt her cheeks glow with maidenly timidity. He is so close!

Next he mentioned the letter he received from Mr. Gardiner, confirming their arrival in a se’nnight.

Elizabeth’s “What delightful news!” was equally bashful.

How things had been reversed! A few weeks ago, her conversations with him were dull, and his detachment only fuelled her rejection, and here she was now, all aflutter and unable to provide him with sensible topics to discuss or prolong his efforts with more than three consecutive words.

She thought of a distraction, lest she would embarrass herself further, and all of a sudden, she recalled what had brought her to the sitting room earlier in the morning.

“I have a present for you,” said she, reaching for the handkerchief with the Darcy monogram she had embroidered.

“For me?” Mr. Darcy asked, the dimples he rarely showed now on full display.

“I started this while you were away, but with the trip and the picnic, I was not able to finish it until today.” Elizabeth gave him the pristine cloth she had made for him.

“It is beautiful. I have never received such a lovely gift. I thank you.”

He reached out to take the piece and examine the delicate handwork, and his fingertips briefly brushed hers. Elizabeth almost jumped at the contact, and quickly withdrew her hand. Her face felt warm, and her heart was beating so loudly that she feared Mr. Darcy would hear it from where he sat. Truly, she did not know what was happening to her! Her agitation was such that she could not bring herself to look up. When she finally dared to glance at her husband, she saw his eyes shining brightly. Their gazes locked, the moment frozen in time, and for an instant, Elizabeth thought he might—

“Mr. Darcy.” Higgins’s voice startled them both.

“Yes?” he turned towards the butler.

“Your carriage is ready, sir.”

“Thank you, Higgins.” He then addressed his wife. “I am going to Lambton on some business with my solicitor. Perhaps you would like to accompany me?”

“That would be agreeable, yes,” said she when she found her voice. “I shall ask Georgiana if she would like to come with us.”

This book is awesome! Isn’t that scene lovely? Do you want to read more? You will be able to reserve your copy at Amazon where it will soon be available for pre-order. Release date is March 9th. The blog tour will begin March 11th.

Belén’s first book, Obstacles is now available for $0.99 in the US and £0.99 in the UK. If you haven’t read it yet, now is the perfect time to put it in your library. It will be on sale March 5th to March 12th.

Are you ready to see the cover for When Duty Calls? We invite you to head on over to From Permberley to Milton where Rita is hosting.

Available for purchase and pre-order now.

To catch up on all previous posts of MP Author’s favorite romantic scenes, click on the links below.

A Proposal Observed by Linda Beutler; A Valentine’s Harvest Ball by Jan Hahn; A Love Match by Brigid Huey; Time for Romance by Kelly Miller; Reunion by Don Jacobson; Reason to Hope by Heather Moll; Dearest Lizzy by Ann Galvia

15 Responses

  1. Kelly Miller

    A lovely scene of a married Elizabeth and Darcy, Belen! I look forward to learning more about your new book! Thanks for sharing and congratulations!

    • Meryton Press

      Glad you stopped by, Kelly.

    • BelénP

      Thank you Kelly!

  2. Jan Hahn

    Hmm, yum! This scene makes me want to read more in your new book immediately, Belen. I love stories about Elizabeth beginning to fall in love with Darcy.

    • Meryton Press

      I hope you get to read it soon, Jan.

    • BelenP

      Than you Jan, they have a rocky start, but eventually they’ll get there.

  3. Glynis

    Damn butler! So close!
    I loved Obstacles so was happy to choose this one as my prize even though it meant waiting a couple of months. I’m so glad I did as I look forward to seeing how they finally admit their feelings.
    I love forced marriage between ODC ❤️

    • Meryton Press

      Yes! If that butler could only have been a few minutes later! Just maybe that kiss would have happened!

      Glad to hear you loved Obstacles. It’s on sale now for anyone that doesn’t own it.

      I will be sending you the eBook for this one in the next few days. You did well to choose this one for your prize. I think you will feel it was worth the wait! 🙂

  4. Don Jacobson

    Descriptive, warm, wonderful. Thank you for this scene.

    • Meryton Press

      Isn’t it a warm scene!

    • BelenP

      I’m so happy that you enjoyed Obstacles and I truly hope you like this one. Forced marriages are also my favorite plotlines

    • BelenP

      Thank you Don! I’m glad you enjoyed it

    • BelenP

      Thank you Don!

  5. Suzan Lauder

    I love FMS books, and this scene where E is all pins and needles over her passion for D yet uncertain where his lies is the type that I favour. I look forward to this book and all the fun around its release. It’s going to be another Meryton Press Party!

    Oh, and I went over to Rita’s blog, and that cover is divine. Everyone should give it a look! Congrats to Janet and Belén!

    • BelénP

      Thank you Suzan, FMS are also my favourite type of story, because our dear couple go through all the stages of their relationship and deal with their issues together. Writing this scene was a lot of fun, I love this phase when they are beginning to acknowledge their affection but still uncertain of what to do.