Enjoy the first book in this continuing magical adventure for Free until Friday June 15, 2018!
Fitzwilliam Darcy’s first spell has gone wrong, and he arrives at Netherfield with a small jewel box possessing the power to topple the British monarchy. Desperate to find a witch to undo his botched magic, he is attracted to Elizabeth Bennet—but hijinks ensue as Miss Fiona Feelgood, a darling little love witch, enters their lives.
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Back and forth they argued, until with a stamp of her foot, Caroline Bingley stormed out of the room.
Hearing Caroline exit, Elizabeth peeked around the high-backed wing of the chair. Unaware of her presence, Darcy touched a spot on the desk and a drawer slid open. Elizabeth watched with great curiosity. Embarrassed to admit she was eavesdropping, Elizabeth remained hidden.
Darcy took out the same green box he had held yesterday, and peered inside. All was well. He put the lid on and carefully placed the box on a high shelf between two stacks of books. Then silent as a shadow, he exited the library via the French doors that led to the garden.
Once he was gone, Elizabeth inched toward the hall door, ready to make a mad dash up the staircase, but from the corner of her eye she noticed the box moving on the shelf. It appeared to be hopping toward the edge. If it fell, whatever it contained would surely break or… Elizabeth flew to catch it and it dropped into her hand with an odd thump-clump!
The box made a raspy noise as it vibrated in her hand. There were a series of holes in the top of the box, which fit snuggly on the base. Unable to resist, Elizabeth slowly pried the lid, prepared to drop the box and run if it contained a rat or something equally as vile.
The lid came off with a snap. A shiny green frog sat in the box and looked up at Elizabeth. His soft brown eyes were filled with tears. She stroked his head and he seemed comforted by her touch. Why did Darcy keep a frog in a box? If he was a witch hunter, perhaps this was a witch? “Who are you?” she asked the frog. It held itself more erect but did not respond.
Fearing she would appear to be a snoop of the Caroline Bingley subspecies, and despite feeling sorry for the frog, Elizabeth replaced the lid. She could feel the little fellow thump about inside the container, but she knew she must return the box to the shelf or risk discovery.
Standing on tiptoe she was unable to reach the shelf. There was an easier way to right the box, but she had promised herself she would not use magic ever again, not unless a dire emergency presented itself. The accident with Herman the Hermit still hung guilty over her conscience. Magic came in handy but it also came with consequences.
She looked about the room for something to stand upon. The desk chair was much too large to move, she thought to make a pile of books, but that would be too time consuming. What if Darcy returned? He would think her the biggest snoop in the world—next to Caroline Bingley.
It was then she noticed a library ladder leaning against the far fall. Placing the frog box on the desk, she rolled the ladder along the wooden floor until it was properly situated just below the shelf.
Holding the box in her left hand, and gripping the ladder rail with a sweaty right hand, she carefully took two steps up and was just placing her foot on the third rung when Darcy entered through the French doors, his mouth dropped open at the sight of her on the ladder. Caught in the act!
He dashed toward her controlling the urge to yell out for fear of frightening her, but it was too late.
Elizabeth was so startled by his presence that she let out a squeak. Loosing her one-handed grip on the ladder but clinging to the frog box with her other hand, she tumbled into Darcy’s arms. He caught her, but dropping the small cup of water and the glass bottle he carried.
It all happened so quickly, Darcy did not know whether to growl or laugh. In his attempt to catch Elizabeth and save the falling cup of water and the bottle, he lost his balance and fell to the floor. Elizabeth landed on top of him. They lay nose to nose, each caught up in something larger than a mere tumble.
They lay there, Elizabeth on top of Darcy, neither one wishing to admit this was reality. Perhaps if I close my eyes I will wake from this silly dream, she thought. Although she closed her eyes, it did nothing to change the simple fact that she lay on top of Fitzwilliam Darcy, pompous toff and possible witch hunter. Elizabeth could not help but sink into Darcy’s deep soulful eyes. Inhaling, she smelled his breath, savoring the scent of fresh air and brandy. He wasa yummy gentleman, but now it was time to get off.
She released her grip on the frog box and placed it gently on the floor near their shoulders, hoping the little creature was not injured in her fall. The expression on Darcy’s face was inscrutable. Would he forever regard her as a snoop?
Just as she began to remove herself from his warm, hard body, the lid came off the box and the frog hopped out. He skipped over to their faces and stared from one to the other, as they lay almost cheek-to-cheek.
They turned their heads at the sound of a cry that came from near the garden doors. A slender black cat studied them with what could only be deemed a cat-sarcastic glance. He sashayed toward them placing one paw in front of the other as if walking on a tightrope.
The feline had yet to notice the little green creature that sat on the far side of Darcy and Elizabeth’s heads. Cats are better equipped to see their prey when it is in motion. The frog stood still, frozen with fear.
Ribbit! The frog croaked, unable to contain its terror.
The cat, now alerted to the frog, crouched low, ready to spring. The frog wiggled between Darcy and Elizabeth’s chests. It all happened so quickly that any decorum was lost in the chaos that broke out.
Using both hands, Elizabeth pushed herself off and away from Darcy. As she rose up, he reached for the frog but missed, his hand grazing Elizabeth’s bosom. They both blushed profusely as the frog, seizing the moment, jumped down Elizabeth’s décolletage.
Grasping to restrain the cat, Darcy wedged his fingers under the animal’s red and gold collar. With an unearthly yowl, the cat broke free from his grip; his yellow eyes now twice their size, the enlarged pupils focused on Elizabeth’s bodice where the frog had sought refuge. The cat lunged for her chest.
Darcy grabbed the feline by the scruff of the neck, and although it fought viciously, he was able to deposit it into the garden. Clicking the door firmly behind him, he returned to Elizabeth while blotting the scratches on his hands.
Wishing to clear her good name, Elizabeth spoke first. “I was not snooping. I promise. The box was about to fall off the shelf. I had to save it! It fell into my hands!”
She felt the frog cuddle between her breasts. The feeling, though slimy, was not at all cold, but it was weird.
“May I have my frog?” Darcy extended his hand. A dimple tweaked, as he drew his firm masculine lips into a stern but appealing thin line.
Elizabeth sensed that his thoughts lingered on their most recent position on the floor. She blushed, turned away, and extracted the reluctant frog from her bosom, prying his frog-toes from the lace edge of the neckline of her chemise.
Holding the creature between her thumb and index finger, she returned the scamp to Darcy.
“Since you have gone to so much trouble to save my frog, I shall tell you about him.” Darcy attempted to look sincere, but Elizabeth sensed she was not about to hear the truth.
“This is my lucky frog, Georgie. He traveled with me from London. I must keep him hidden from Miss Bingley as she loathes all creatures, but most particularly frogs.” He rubbed the frog’s head and it purred. “I fear she would do him harm.”
“Why did you put his box in such a precarious position on that high shelf?”
He looked sheepish. “It was not safe to leave Georgie in the desk, no matter that it was locked, as Miss Bingley might come prying before I returned. I dashed into the garden for what I thought would be a brief run for water and flies for Georgie’s dinner. Unfortunately it is late in the season and flies are scarce. It took me longer than I thought.”
“You should have known any self-respecting frog can move a box on a shelf! Next time try to be more careful.”
“Thank you for saving him. Would you be so kind as to stay here with him while I return to the garden for more flies as the others have escaped?”
“And what of that nasty cat? Is that a Netherfield cat? He seems quite vicious.”
“He stowed away in our carriage, most likely when we left London. He would have eaten my frog, or at the least run off with him.”
Darcy’s gaze was such that it would have melted a lesser lady. “Please tell me if there is any way I can repay you for saving Georgie from a most inglorious end.”
“I prefer you be beholding to me. Perhaps someday I shall call on your offer.”
With love & laughter!