After the delicious ices have been properly enjoyed, we take our seats to listen to another special guest author reading...
by June Williams
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Thank you for inviting us for Tea at Pemberley!
Our book, Headstrong Girls, is a collection of short stories written by Debra Anne Watson, June Williams, and Enid Wilson. The stories are all inspired by our favorite headstrong girl, Lizzy Bennet. The following outtake is from “No Cupid Contract,” a modern short story by June Williams in which Lizzy is a mailroom clerk at Pemberley Holdings.
Mrs. Long was petrified with fear. She had never had a one-on-one meeting with Mr. Darcy, and now he’d asked her for a “personal” meeting at a coffeeshop. It didn’t sound like he was going to fire her, but why did Pemberley’s CEO want to meet her? She was just a lowly clerk at Pemberley.
She got off the bus stop in front of the coffeeshop and was surprised when Mr. Darcy himself hurried to the door to open it for her.
“Am I late? I’m sorry, I’m limited to the bus driver’s schedule.”
“Please don’t apologize, Mrs. Long. I should have asked if you needed a ride.”
They sat at a table. He’d arrived earlier and had ordered several cookies and sandwiches, but she was too nervous to eat.
“Mr. Darcy, am I in trouble?”
“No! You’re not in trouble at all. I just wanted to talk with you – on a personal level – about what happened yesterday at our childcare facility.”
“When Lizzy Bennet’s ex tried to kidnap her son, Stephen?”
He nodded, looking uncomfortable.
“I wish Lizzy were here. She always knew how to set people at ease. She is a wonderful asset to Pemberley.”
“I agree.” He missed Miss Bennet but understood why she and the baby were now in hiding. He took a deep breath. “Mrs. Long, what you did yesterday was absolutely heroic and brilliant. You prevented a kidnapping, at personal risk to your own safety.”
“I couldn’t stand by and do nothing. Lizzy is my friend, she loves her baby, and she has given me help whenever possible.”
“I’m learning more each day about what a fine person she is – and what excellent people we have here at Pemberley. It’s time I begin acknowledging that, but we don’t have a program for this type of employee recognition.”
Mrs. Long thought about it. “No, I don’t suppose this falls into any standard category for employee behaviour.”
“What I’d like to do is to give you something on a personal basis – not from Pemberley, but from me, as a fellow friend of Miss Bennet’s. Would that be acceptable to you? It means you wouldn’t have to pay taxes on it.”
She was startled. “Oh. Oh, yes, that would be nice. A small gift card from a store or something?”
Darcy chuckled, then handed her a gasoline card.
“I don’t have a car.”
“You do now.” He stood and led her outside to the curb, where a new mini-van was parked. He handed her the keys. “You and your four nieces and nephews will fit, I believe.”
She was speechless, unable to speak for several seconds. "I don't deserve this."
“Mrs. Long, you should be proud of your role in stopping a criminal from getting Miss Bennet’s baby.”
“Criminal? Lizzy said he was her ex.”
“Let me correct myself: a suspected criminal, who is now on the road to justice.”
“Criminal?” Mrs. Long repeated in a squeaky whisper. “I got into a shoving match with a criminal? I feel faint.”
Darcy hurried her inside the coffeeshop, where they still had their drinks and refreshments waiting; the diminutive widow was in shock.
I wonder how Mrs. Long will feel when I tell her that the man she fought with – George Wickham – may be charged with first degree murder, Darcy mused.
To find out if George Wickham gets convicted of first degree murder, you’ll have to read “No Cupid Contract” in Headstrong Girls, available at Amazon.com, Smashwords.com, and Lulu.com.
Guest post created by June Williams, author of Headstrong Girls: A bit of mystery, a bit of love, all inspired by Jane Austen (along co-authors Debra Anne Watson and Enid Wilson)
© 2013. All rights reserved.
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by June Williams
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A bit of mystery, a bit of love, all inspired by Jane Austen
by Debra Anne Watson, June Williams, Enid Wilson
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