Hello Jakki! Thank you so much for the invitation for guest posting on Leatherbound Reviews. It’s an honor for Friendship of a Special Kind, my first published story, to be listed amongst such nice JAFF books.
Here in Rio de Janeiro, we are all about Carnival nowadays. February is that magic time of the year when we check the 500 street parties’ schedule before getting out of the house in order to choose which ones we’ll follow (intentionally or caught up in a gigantic traffic jam). There are people in costumes and feathered masks everywhere. You can hear samba all the time, and it’s impossible not to have fun. Really! If you’ve never spent Carnival in Rio, you should be planning to. If you already have, you know what I’m talking about, right?
It gets me thinking how Mr. Darcy and Lizzy would choose to enjoy Carnival… Mmmm… The Bennett sisters would form a group of… wonder women! Mr. Darcy would dress up as… nothing. He would never indulge in such a savage festivity!
As you can see, I’m a hopeless Pride and Prejudice addict. I see Mr. Darcy and Lizzy in everything. Even when my baby son, a three years old Wickham who is always involved in some mischief, is watching the Disney Channel, I get a glimpse of a TV show discussing Austen’s masterpiece (The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, season 33, episode 2). And last Friday, when my hubs and I celebrated our sixteenth anniversary, I was lecturing about ‘The power of P&P fan fiction’ at the Brazilian Jane Austen Society. Yeah, I'm that much of a Darcy lover.
It took me a while to gather courage to write though. I’m a Brazilian architect on the verge of facing the big 40 (OMG!) and always thought that my whole life was of a perpetual Darcy lover, not writer. I always admired how Lizzy was spirited and brave, the way she sent the rich snob away, and then admitted her mistakes.
Only after more than six years into Mr. Darcy’s fandom, I found myself in need of putting down on paper a particular scene that looped in my head constantly. It was a hot meeting when Lizzy outsmarted Darcy and he (obviously) fell for her as an aftermath. This scene grew with my confidence and I added a development, and then another, and suddenly Mr. Darcy, Lizzy, and the entire P&P bunch talked to me nonstop.
There are some parts of my book that I honestly don’t recall finding words to express what was happening. It was like I was writing what Lizzy and Darcy were dictating to me. The result of this? A full story, 41 chapters long, lots of fluff and a little angst, fun to read, seasoned with Brazilian zest and hot scenes that tell of Darcy’s struggle to persuade Lizzy Bennett to forget the scars of her destroyed marriage and agree to be his.
Friendship of a Special Kind is not a sequel, but an inspired story- a modern and full of Pride and Prejudice’s standards. I wanted to write a story that I always liked to read when searching a good JAFF. Here, Lizzy is a thirty-two year old widow after Mr. Collins’s demise, and she finds herself scared of another serious relationship fearing another unhappy marriage. Darcy is a thirty eight years old single millionaire who spends his life as a workaholic and dodging the attempts of gold diggers.
When they meet in Meryton, he is attracted to her pleasant figure, unintentional flirtation, and sharp tongue. When Lizzy escapes him, Darcy seeks her out through her friends. Lizzy decides that if a hot guy such as Darcy is making an effort to reach out for her, she could as well have some fun- absolutely no strings attached, no phone numbers, or any other contacts exchange. But she wasn’t counting on Darcy’s will and - believing himself righteous - he hacks into her smart phone and steals all her contacts.
Here is a glimpse of how he reaches out to her after she snobs him.
After their hot afternoon together, Lizzy leaves Darcy in his room and returns to the 4th of July party at Netherfield farm. There she finds her friends and departs hurriedly to deal with a medical emergency at the city, a few miles from Netherfield.
Darcy returns to the party a few minutes later intent on finding Lizzy and enticing her to spend some more hot hours with him, possibly the whole night, but is disappointed to find out she left without saying goodbye - a thing she never planned to do.
The next day he hears gossip about her life and learns that her friend’s father who had a heart attack needed to be transferred from Meryton to Boston, so he decides this is the perfect occasion to make contact again since his texts from the previous day weren’t fruitful at all. He sends her another text message:
William Darcy to Lizzy Bennett:
“You need a ride to Boston. Get packed, I’m arriving downtown to pick you up in fifteen.”
It was twenty five minutes later when she answered:
Lizzy Bennett to William Darcy:
“No need 4 ur condescension, sir. Already home.”
By then, Darcy was settled at the square cafe waiting for her to give directions to her parents’ home to pick her up. When he got the message he went furious and called her back on impulse.
Lizzy snorted at his handsome and sexy face that flashed on her phone’s screen. ‘Huh! Insufferable!’ But took the call anyway.
“Hello?” Lizzy said petulantly.
“Condescending? Why? You needed to transport a sick man over a two hundred miles’ drive and I rent a comfortable car.” Darcy answered annoyed. He was making an effort to be helpful and attentive to her, and it seemed Lizzy wasn’t pleased with it.
“Please! You didn’t even offer, you ordered. His doctor arranged for an ambulance. And hello back!” Lizzy spat.
“Hello.” Darcy said self-conscious. “And I did offer. Twice, yesterday.” He added bitterly.
She was silent for a second and he was sure she remembered the texting.
“Yeah, you did.” Lizzy said softly, feeling foolish for the snapping.
“When Mrs. Hill told me your friend’s father needed to be transferred to Boston I thought I could help.” Darcy patiently explained and added smugly. “And no need to apologize, Darling.”
“I’m sorry. I jump to conclusions sometimes...” Lizzy said bashful.
“And get defensive.” Darcy wouldn’t say but thought to himself: “You’re used to defend yourself alone, aren’t you, Darling?”
“That’s me. Won’t apologize for that.” Lizzy was actually defensive, and remembered the mystery of how Darcy had her number. “Maybe you should.” She spat.
“Excuse me, what?” Darcy asked, confused.
“I don’t remember giving you my phone number.” Lizzy said sternly and he was silent. “And Dennie swears she didn’t either. Not to mention the pic.” She added.
Darcy didn’t say anything. He was very confused. “Is this part of her flirt? Didn’t she leave her phone for me to look into?”
“Look, Will, I’m tired.” She said flatly. “We’ve been through very stressful hours since yesterday. And I’m a bit busy with all the things I have to organize before heading back to the hospital. Charlo needs me, his dad is back at the ICU.” Lizzy was really tired and her patience was running thin. She wasn’t sure why this guy was calling her and frankly, she wasn’t even interested in finding out.
Darcy was totally baffled. He didn’t have a clue of what was going on and why Lizzy was giving him the cold shoulder. He was losing control and had to step up, quickly.
“How is he?” He asked, changing subjects and willing his mind to work.
“Char’s dad?” Lizzy sighed. She should have said goodbye and hung up. “Fine I guess, he’ll only need one stents. Doctor says he was lucky to head straight to the hospital when he felt a small pain. Char’s there now with him and I came home to store the Camaro and rest a bit before going over. I doubt Char’s going to let me take his place so he can take a shower but...”Lizzy paused. “Why are you telling this handsome stranger all this?” Lizzy asked herself.
“You drove that piece of junk?” Darcy got sidetracked by Charlo’s Camaro, a car so old and loud that they could hear it entering the long Netherfield lane from miles away.
“Hey! Don’t say that!” She had to giggle, it was a piece of shit. “Char can kill you for it!”
“So don’t tell him!” Darcy relaxed a little.
“Another little secret, you’re suggesting?” She asked flirtatiously, unable to resist, in spite of her reluctance to talk to him.
Darcy loved it.
“No... According to you, the one we shared is not little at all!” He flirted back.
She laughed and he chuckled. This was the Lizzy he knew.
“Listen, Darling. My flight home is due on Thursday afternoon, so until then, I can help you out. I can come over today or tomorrow morning. Either way is fine for me, you chose.” Darcy couldn’t believe the words leaving his mouth. “Whoa, did I say that?! Where did that come from?” One thing was lusting for her, but getting involved was very unlike him.
“I’m sure Char will like to hear this, he really likes Thorn. I will tell him and he can call you guys back. He’ll need some company. Dennie is coming over tomorrow afternoon. But still he’ll be alone from tonight until tomorrow.” Lizzy said everything in a string, barely breathing, and being direct like peeling off a band aid in one single motion. By intentionally misunderstand his offer, she hoped he would get the message.
“Alone, as in the hospital?” Darcy squirmed in his seat.
“Alone, alone. I’m leaving for Europe tonight, for a fortnight.” And she suddenly felt anxious for no reason.
“Europe...” His frustration escalated again. She was slipping through his fingers!
“Yes… perfect timing, right?” Lizzy said, twisting her nose and feeling guilty all over again for leaving Charlo alone at such a moment in his life.
“Mmm.” Darcy made a non-committal sound. He was starting to feel very foolish for chasing after her.
Lizzy got her clue to escape this call once and for all.
“It’s very kind of you guys. Very kind of you. Thank you, you didn’t have to.”
“I know. I wanted to help you.” Darcy said simply.
Weird silent between them for some seconds.
“Well, I guess you really don’t need me after all. May I wish you a safe trip?” Darcy finally concluded.
“Sure, thank you.” Not wanting to be rude and maybe – just maybe -wanting to hear his voice just a bit longer; she tried. “Want a postcard?”
Truly she really didn’t plan to send him anything, she most surely wouldn’t ask for his address, but anyway…
“Nice. From where will I get a picture?” He grimaced to his long forgotten coffee.
“Vienna. And Paris.” Lizzy said in a genuine smile, she had been looking forward to this trip for a long time.
“Ah, we’ll always have Paris.” He quoted the famous movie.
She laughed, and it made him blue.
“Paris it is. Everyone have to love Paris.” Lizzy declared solemnly.
“Bossy.” Darcy stated in a low voice, more to his own regret than for her to hear.
“You like it, remember?” Lizzy asked in a flirt. It was hard to resist, after this call he would never try to talk to her again, she was sure, so why not?
“I may have to change my mind.” Darcy mumbled.
Another laugh and he heard her doorbell ringing.
“Have to go, Will. Thank you again.” Lizzy said in a tone that bore no argument.
“Whenever. Haben Einen Schönen Urlaub.” He told her, not offering any argument. Darcy recognized his defeat. She escaped him.
“Danke.” Lizzy said and hung up before she heard his final reply.
“A kiss.” Darcy said to no one. “On your lips.” He added to himself, afraid to say it out loud.
That didn’t go as well as he had expected. She disconnected before he said his last words. That’s exactly how he felt: disconnected.
For the rest of his days in Meryton, Darcy remained on the porch (at Netherfield’s farm house) with a beer in hand and sunglasses, looking ahead and thinking how it could have been different if Lizzy hadn’t left. He really wanted more Lizzy time, more time in her bed.‘Shit, I never liked Paris.’ Darcy mumbled to himself.
So, what are your thoughts on Darcy and Elizabeth with a Brazilian twist?
In celebration of her debut novel, Moira Bianchi is giving away one (1) ebook copy of Friendship of a Special Kind to one lucky commenter. To enter, simply leave a comment and fill out the Rafflecopter form. OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!! Best of luck!! =)