Jun 072019
 

Happy Friday, friends! I am so excited to start my weekend with a wonderful visit from author, Nicole Clarkston! As you might have seen (and heard), Nicole has just released her a much anticipated Pride and Prejudice variation titled -Nefarious. This story has a very interesting premise as Mr. Darcy has previously married and now wants to avoid anyone who reminds him of his first wife… Nicole is here today to share a scene from Nefarious that she rewrote from Elizabeth Bennet’s point-of-view! We hope you enjoy!

This vignette is a snapshot of the Netherfield Ball from Elizabeth’s perspective. The book contains this very same scene in Chapter Ten, but in the book, we only see Darcy’s point of view. I thought it would be fun to hear Elizabeth’s thoughts. Enjoy!

-Nicole

~ Vignette for Nefarious ~

I smoothed the front of my best gown and took Jane’s arm as we stepped down from the carriage. Netherfield Park was a handsome house, and just now it was doubly so, for every window and every edifice blazed forth a welcoming, festive glow. Liveried servants came to take our hats and coats, more servants bowed and offered us refreshments, and the master of the house himself stood to welcome us.

I felt Jane tense with anticipation, and I caught her hand to squeeze it. The evening held both delight and trepidation for her—the former because of the very man who stood before us, smiling with that cheerful, open humour of his—and the latter, because of the man who stood behind him, with those dark eyes that seemed to critique everything. I smiled at Mr Bingley, scowled at Mr Darcy, and then found the highly agreeable Mr Wickham coming to meet me.

Miss Elizabeth!” He bowed and extended his arm. “You are looking well this evening. May I have the pleasure of securing some refreshments for you?”

By all means, Mr Wickham.” I released Jane’s arm and curtseyed to him. With one parting look of encouragement to my sister, I turned away—but not before catching a scathing glare from Mr Darcy. Unlike Jane, I was capable of relishing the man’s displeasure, and so I savoured that spiteful frown like a sweet tarte as I accepted Mr Wickham’s arm.

I see that you have yet to discover my old friend’s finer qualities,” he intoned in an amused voice. “Pray, let me assure you, Mr Darcy is quite capable of making himself agreeable when he chooses.”

Oh, yes,” I conceded, “I have seen how ‘agreeable’ he can be. In fact, he is so very agreeable, that I doubt my poor sister shall ever recover her equanimity in his presence.”

Your sister?” he asked. “Do you mean Miss Bennet?”

Why, of course.” I stopped and looked at him in some puzzlement. “You do not think I could refer to Mary or Kitty or Lydia, do you? Poor Jane! Mr Darcy is quite obsessed with her.”

Indeed! I confess myself surprised, Miss Elizabeth.”

Surprised? How could you possibly be? He is always trying to put himself in her way so that he might speak to her. You must have seen it, both in Meryton and at my uncle Philips’s house.”

To be sure, I did note how frequently he spoke with and watched a certain lady, but…” Mr Wickham gave a mild cough and then smiled cheerfully. “Well, I am merely surprised by what you tell me. I could have sworn his attentions tended in another direction.”

I assure you,” I continued, “he will find some way to make himself odious this evening. See, there he is now, trying to monopolise Jane’s company. She looks so very unhappy! I expect he has already asked her for at least two sets.”

Mr Wickham laughed. “Why, Miss Elizabeth, if I did not know better, I should have thought you were jealous of your sister!”

Jealous!” I almost sputtered aloud. “I would not dance with Mr Darcy if he were the last man in Hertfordshire, and the feeling is mutual.”

You would not accept if he asked for a set this evening?”

Certainly not,” I declared. “But come, Mr Wickham, why should we distress ourselves over Mr Darcy’s dances when you ought to be asking me which set I have free?”

All of them, I hope,” was his good-humoured and gallant response. “Do you know, Miss Elizabeth, if any other woman spoke thus, I should assume her to be rather too forward. However, I think you merely like to turn the subject by shocking poor, innocent fellows such as myself.”

It was quite effective, was it not?”

Indeed. If you have no objections, I shall request the supper set.”

Then I shall save it for you, sir.”

Mr Wickham procured some punch for each of us, and we joined the company of Mr Denny and a few other officers. Within minutes, I had three more dances spoken for. The officers were all a gentlemanly set—amusing, charming, and light-hearted enough that a lady might feel herself quite at ease in their company… But only a few moments later, I found my eyes wandering the room.

Miss Elizabeth?” Mr Wickham asked, “is something amiss?”

No, indeed. I was only seeking my sisters.”

Miss Lydia is there,” he nodded to the centre of the room, a peculiar twinkle in his eye. “And I believe Miss Mary is in the corner, sitting down… but I can only see the top of her head from here, so I cannot be sure.”

Ah!” I exclaimed—for, to my embarrassment, my eyes were not on my conversation partner, but on my eldest sister… and the man with her. “There is Jane, with Mr Darcy. Oh, and Charlotte is coming to her aid… Brava! That was neatly done. Thank goodness Charlotte was at liberty to rescue Jane from that ogre.”

I gestured with a tip of my head to my friend, who met my eye with a confidential wink and a secretive smile as she crossed the room. She had managed to draw my sister away from Mr Darcy on some pretense or other, and Jane looked relieved. Mr Darcy looked at me. I saw his nostrils flare before he turned away.

Serve him right, the swine,” I muttered under my breath as I smirked in triumph.

Well, Miss Elizabeth,” Mr Wickham chuckled, “at the very least, I am assured of a most entertaining evening. Shall I escort you to your friends? I believe I would like to have a word or two with Darcy myself.”

With pleasure, Mr Wickham.”

I meant to follow Jane and Charlotte, but Kitty, Mary King, and the Long girls all beckoned for me to join them. And, so, with a curtsey to my companion, I permitted him to take his leave.

Lizzy!” Mary King grasped my hand with a desperate kind of urgency. “You must tell me what to do!”

Do? What can you mean, Mary?”

“Oh, I simply do not know how to make him notice me! He is so handsome and tall. And so gentlemanly! How shall I ever gain his attention?”

“Why, it is not so very difficult. Would you like me to introduce you?”

Her face washed in relief. “Oh, would you? I mean, I have been introduced once, but I do not think he remembers me. I would be forever grateful! But are you certain it will work? I do not know if I would be worthy—certainly, he would never ask me to dance. I cannot imagine he would!”

“Here, now,” I protested, “what sort of talk is this? How could you think he would not ask you to dance if he were introduced to you? Mr Wickham is not so ungentlemanly as that!”

She blinked. “Mr Wickham? Why, he is handsome in that red uniform, but I was speaking of Mr Darcy. Oh, please, Lizzy, you are one of the few girls he will speak with! Will you introduce me?”

“Mr Darcy!” I cried. “Why would you wish to dance with him? I cannot imagine a more irksome half hour to be spent than in his company!”

Kitty snorted in laughter, and the two Long girls even tittered behind their gloves. Mary, however, held fast to her resolve.

“Oh, but surely,” she explained, “Mr Darcy is not always as he seems in company. Do you not think? I heard Mr Bingley say that his friend could be very agreeable but had met with some disappointment. There, does that not intrigue you? Would you not simply die to be the one to mend his broken heart?”

“If I mended anything on Mr Darcy,” I retorted, crossing my arms, “I would mend his lips together. There seems to have been some great omission at his birth, that he was granted the ability to speak.”

“Hah!” crowed Kitty. “Tell her some of the names you have made up for him, Lizzy!”

I shot my sister a cross look. “I only use creative appellations to keep myself from saying something even less ladylike. I do not intend to repeat them in company. Now, Mary, you must tell me seriously. Is it merely his looks or his wealth you find striking?”

“Oh, Lizzy,” she whispered, her eyes darting nervously across the room. “Have you not seen how impressive he is when he speaks or moves? I thought I should go distracted the first time he stepped in front of me and I saw how tall and broad he was—fancy taking a turn on the arm of such a man!”

“I have taken turns enough in his company.”

“Oh! Yes, I heard that you and Jane went riding with him and with Mr Bingley. I was positively green with envy when I heard it! Is he not elegant in the saddle? Oh, dear me, I think I should have contrived some way to fall off my horse so that he would be obliged to lift me up again! Did he help you to mount, Lizzy? Does he smell as good as he looks? And I fancy he could pick you up with ease—oh, my, Kitty, where is my fan?”

I frowned uncomfortably. “I daresay he is quite strong enough to accomplish the feat with little effort.”

“Dear me, I shall swoon,” Mary breathed. “Please, Lizzy, say you will help me!”

I reflected unhappily that the best help I could give for Mary would be to send each of the officers her way until she had no remaining dances for Mr Darcy. Aloud, however, I only offered, “Mr Darcy is not fond of dancing, Mary. Perhaps you would do better to seek him out when he takes his refreshment.”

“That will be just the thing!” she agreed. “It is so much easier to talk when drinking than dancing… so long as he does not wander away. There he goes just now—oh, I think I shall try to speak to him. Lizzy, pray come with me!”

I opened my mouth for a reluctant acquiescence, but one look at Mr Darcy’s stormy countenance stilled my feet. “I think it would be best—”

I was never able to finish my sentence, for at that moment, the master of ceremonies announced that the ball was to commence. With any luck, I would not have to speak to the man for the whole of the night. I steeled myself for a long and interesting evening.

Ooooooo! This is interesting! I cannot wait to see what Mr. Darcy does next in this scene! Love this new kind of tension between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy…and how unique it is to see Mr. Darcy is currently popular with the ladies in Meryton! Thanks so much for writing and sharing such an intriguing scene, Nicole! We wish you all the best with your new release!

~~~

Connect with Nicole

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GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Nicole has a generous giveaway to offer with her visit today! The lucky winner can choose between two prizes: (option 1) $10 Amazon Gift Card plus an eBook or Audiobook of winner’s choice (open internationally) or (option 2) a signed paperback of winner’s choice (US only). 

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, question, or some love for Nicole!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Nicole!
  • This giveaway ends June 14th! 

Our gratitude to Janet Taylor and Nicole Clarkston for putting this tour together and inviting us to take part!

Be sure to check out the rest of the tour stops!

June 3rdMore Agreeably Engaged ~ Vignette, Giveaway

June 4th ~ From Pemberley to Milton ~ Review, Giveaway

***June 7thAustenesque Reviews ~ Vignette, Giveaway***

June 8thBabblings of a Bookworm ~ Vignette, Giveaway

June 11thSo Little Time… ~ Guest Post, Giveaway

June 13th ~ Savvy Verse & Wit ~ Guest Post, Giveaway

June 15thDiary of an Eccentric ~ Review, Giveaway

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  87 Responses to “Vignette + Giveaway with Author Nicole Clarkston!!!”

  1.  

    I love your writing, Nicole. These Dreams is one of my most favorite stories. Best wishes for the success of Nefarious.

    •  

      Thank you, Leslie! That was a special book for me, and I am touched that you loved it. Thank you for your well wishes!

  2.  

    I wonder what Wickham is up to, with his innuendos. It will be interesting to read this from Darcy’s perspective in the book.

    •  

      Looking for opportunities, I daresay. Thanks for stopping by, Ginna, and good luck in the giveaway!

  3.  

    Elizabeth is jealous I believe and maybe Darcy is trying to find out Jane’s real feelings for Bingley

  4.  

    I am shocked over Mary King’s interest. We never learn much about her so her youth and inappropriateness is not surprising. Why is Jane so uncomfortable? Thank you for the giveaway.

    •  

      Naïve and a little silly, but I will say one thing for Mary King. She isn’t prejudiced. Thanks for chatting with us, Eva!

  5.  

    Love all your books. Thanks for this oportunity to select such prizes. thank you for your generosity.

  6.  

    This scene was delightful from Elizabeth’s point of view. I enjoyed reading it and knowing the other side from Darcy’s POV. I now need to read them side by side! Loved Lizzy noticing Darcy’s scowl as she took Wickham’s arm. Oh, that Wickham! He is such a scoundrel! Thanks for writing this, Nicole!

    Thanks for hosting, Meredith!

  7.  

    I look forward to reading the addition. Thanks. Extra writing from you is always a treat.

  8.  

    Nicole, I’m stopping by to give my support and love on this launch. I loved this story. And, I hate to admit it, but I even liked this version of Wickham. Usually he is such a SBRB [scum-bag-rat-bastard]. In this story he is a different version of that. I loved watching him as he slithered and slid his way through the various scenes. We don’t usually have this much involvement with him and to actually see him weave his web of lies and treachery in such a way that they seem perfectly true. I am so proud of your cover and the writing choices that you made. Brava!! My dear, brava!! I am not in the drawing but I wish everyone luck in the give-a-way. Meredith, thanks for hosting today and say hello to your Mr. Bingley.

    •  

      You ought to like him, because you helped to craft him. The consummate opportunist, he is always looking for a window (or a rat hole). Thank you for making this book what it is!

  9.  

    I’m on chapter 28 of Nefarious and am thoroughly engrossed. I cried through most of chapter 27 and had to jump to the end of the book to make sure everything was resolved to my satisfaction (yes, I am one of those people). It really is a tremendous book. Thank you for this very generous giveaway.

    •  

      Oh, yes, Jan, I cried at that part, too! I felt like Anne Shirley, sobbing in her tree house over a story. I am so delighted that you are engrossed. It makes all the tears worth it! Thanks for stopping by!

  10.  

    Thank you for this captivating and wonderful feature and giveaway which is a real treasure.

  11.  

    This Darcy simultaneously intrigues me and repels me. I assume that I shall like him much better as the novel progresses, but right now I am hoping that Elizabeth finds creative ways to continue needling him throughout the evening while keeping Jane away from him!! 😀

    Thanks, Nicole, for this vignette from Elizabeth’s POV–so cleverly done!!

    Are you looking forward to having the summer off from homeschooling? Or do you school year-round? I’m just finishing my high school literary analysis class on Much Ado About Nothing at Brave Writer; I teach a different Shakespeare play every spring (a cycle of six plays), and my students are ages 12-17. Such delightful discussions!!

    Warmly,
    Susanne 🙂

    •  

      I totally agree with you, Susanne. He is a real stinker at first! I couldn’t do a thing with him. What a mouth that man has! He comes around, I promise.

      I am happy to be “done” homeschooling for the summer. Sounds like you are ready for a break too! I am writing this from the lovely Oregon Coast, and I am delighted to say this is already our second camping trip of the summer. Fall starts a whole new series for us, because my oldest starts high school curricula. She is determined to start racking up some college credit as soon as she can, so we are charting unknown seas. Also, she and my oldest son are each planning to write a book! I have a feeling that next year will be a bit crazy.

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you give our stinkerific Darcy a chance to redeem himself.

  12.  

    I am intrigued by this take of P&P. Adding it to my wish list. Would love to win a copy. Thanks for the chance to win and to Meredith for hosting.

  13.  

    this sounds really interesting

  14.  

    So excited to read Nefarious! I purchased it on the day it came out but have several books in the queue to finish first. Congrats, Nicole, on the successful launch of your book!

    •  

      Thank you so much, Christina! I am honored to hear it. Enjoy all your other reads! And thank you for adding Nefarious to your list.

  15.  

    I have read this delicious book and had to re-read the excerpt because it is so funny. I love anything Nicole writes and have all her books so no need to enter me in the drawing. I am so proud that Nefarious is getting the praise it deserves and am certain you will love it as much as I do.

    •  

      Brenda, I have been so touched by your support! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and thank you for stopping by today.

  16.  

    I am looking forward to reading more. Already on my reading list.

  17.  

    The tension is just too good to ignore.
    Can’t wait to read this!

  18.  

    Love the vignette. So happy to get Elizabeth’s pov.

    •  

      I thought you might enjoy that, Darcybennett! That’s one of the problems with the book being in first person. We just have to guess 🙂

  19.  

    I would treasure a copy of Nefarious…I’m borrowing it right now. I’m somewhere past the point where the chapters posted online cut off, and I have to say ‘wow.’ Of course I loved, LOVED ALL of your books and their sister editions in audio book form. The way you posted the earlier chapters of Nefarious was quite unique and wonderful, collaborating with J.W. Garrett, I don’t think I’ve experienced that many followers who all had great comments on a chapter by chapter posting of a WIP. It was fun, frustrating, audacious (Darcy’s mouth,) and intriguing and nerve wracking waiting for the next chapter!

    Thank you so much Meredith for hosting this blog tour. Thank you to Nicole for the generous giveaway. And best of luck with this book’s success.

    •  

      I’m so delighted you are enjoying it, Michelle! Good luck in the giveaway. This was a first time experience for me as well, posting this much of a work in progress online. I bit my nails to the quick, but I also laughed hard enough to split a rib more than once! Our Jeanne is such a hoot. We never meant to cause you emotional distress during the first chapters… OK, I lied. We totally meant to do that. But it was all for a good cause, right? Enjoy the rest of the tour and the book!

  20.  

    I love reading this from Elizabeth’s POV! You could almost release the same novel, except from her view! congrats!

    •  

      Oh, but who would want to? Thank you, Leah! I am so glad you enjoyed getting Elizabeth’s perspective.

  21.  

    Enjoyed reading Lizzy’s poinf of view. I am curious as to fhe names she has created for Darcy.

    •  

      Stick around, Patti! There might just be a chance of that in other posts! Thanks for stopping by.

  22.  

    A Darcy’s perspective is a win-win (win, win, win!) situation.
    Congratulations on the best-selling novel! 🙂

    Thank you, both, for this giveaway opportunity!

    •  

      So kind of you, Alexandra! Thank you for your sweet words. It sure is a dark and twisted place inside Darcy’s head at times, but he’s a fascinating fellow. Thanks for stopping by!

  23.  

    One can’t go wrong when buying a Nicole Clarkston book; all are well written, interesting stories with enough twists to keep one up until the wee hours of the morning. It was difficult for me to read about Darcy in this book; first his arrogance, then learning about his background, then what happens before he can claim his HEA. Oh my! Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing and please, Ms. Clarkston keep writing. You have a real gift.

    •  

      Wow, what a lovely thing to say! Thank you for following the blog tour. It sounds like you made it through the book, which means you put up with our stinker of a Darcy for quite a while! I am honored that you enjoyed the story.

  24.  

    Love this book and I’m so happy to see its doing well. Enjoy the blog tour and best wishes for more success Nicole! Thanks Meredith for hosting. Love the vignette.

  25.  

    Yay! I am, of course, excited to read this book! I can’t wait to read this scene from Darcy’s perspective. And Wickham! What is he about?

    •  

      Aw, hello, Brigid! Wickham is Wickham… we always wonder what he is up to, eh? As for Darcy… well, his mind is even more convoluted!

      What a treat to see you, and I can’t wait for another story to come!

  26.  

    I love these vignettes from Elizabeth’s POV, they add so much more dimension to the story! I can’t get enough of how Elizabeth enjoys tormenting Darcy! Can’t wait to read it!

    •  

      Isn’t she a pill? She knows exactly what she is doing. What she doesn’t know is exactly how it affects him. I had so much fun imagining both sides of the situation! Thanks for reading, Dung!

  27.  

    How did you come up with some of the character traits that we’ve never really saw in p and p like Mary king?

    •  

      Isn’t it fun to imagine who she really was? She must have been a bit silly to swoon for Wickham so quickly in the original. Maybe she likes the idea of “saving the bad boy,” but in this case, it’s Darcy who’s the bad boy!

  28.  

    What a nice point of view! You hardly ever see Mr D admired so much. And, what about Jane? You’ve Made me very curious indeed… I’d love to read the whole story!

  29.  

    Gosh, there’s another couple of unexpected twists here. Wickham at the Netherfield Ball and the young ladies of Meryton swooning over Darcy! It all sounds so deliciously fascinating. And then Darcy appears to have his eyes set on Jane? I need, need, NEED more!

  30.  

    Another great excerpt Nicole. I love hearing the story from Elizabeth’s point of view. Congratulations once again on your new release. Hope it continues to do well.

  31.  

    The lady doth protest too much and Wickham may be right…did I just say that? Oh the sparks flying across the room! Thank you for a chance at the giveaway! My paperback is ordered!

  32.  

    Congratulations on your new book. I have read all of your other books and enjoyed them immensely. I can’t wait to read this one. And Mr. Darcy, he’s always a mystery. It will be fascinating to see how he and Elizabeth get together. Thank you for the giveaway.

  33.  

    Oooh! Interesting! So Wickham is at the ball and Darcy is hovering around Jane. Given his problems with Jane’s sister I wonder that he hasn’t already persuaded Bingley to retreat to town.

  34.  

    The animosity fills the air! How did this come about? I must read this book now! Thanks!

  35.  

    Lovely vignette, I love the sparks flying. Very interesting and well written as usual Nicole. Congratulations.

  36.  

    I have read and enjoyed all of Nicole’s stories. Thanks for the chance to win here. I loved Nefarious and did post a review, myself.

  37.  

    Nicole is one of my favorite writers and this new book sounds great!!!

  38.  

    What a delightful vignette, I wonder what happens next!

  39.  

    Congratulations, Nicole. Nefarious is fantastic from the beginning angst to the HEA for ODC. Thank you for another tantalizing story.

  40.  

    It’s exciting to see another great story from Nicole! I am sure this one will be as great as the others. 🙂

  41.  

    Nicole Clarkston is one of the best authors in the JAFF community. This particular story was interesting and extremely well written. The evil that Darcy faced was just incredible. Thank you for a great book and a chance in the drawing.

  42.  

    Thanks for the excerpt. This is an interesting premise and I look forward to reading more. Thanks for the giveaway. –Leslie

  43.  

    That opens up the apetite!
    Interesting to see Wickham at a ball for once

  44.  

    A very delicious vignette, Nicole. Your Darcy in Nefarious is quite different from canon. I look forward to learning how the story progresses next. I’m loving this premise already.

  45.  

    Interesting indeed! Can’t wait to read more!

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