Thu
Oct 12 2017 12:00pm

Melissa de la Cruz Excerpt: Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe

Melissa de la Cruz

Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz

Darcy Fitzwilliam is 29, beautiful, successful, and brilliant. She dates hedge funders and basketball stars and is never without her three cellphones—one for work, one for play, and one to throw at her assistant (just kidding). Darcy’s never fallen in love, never has time for anyone else’s drama, and never goes home for Christmas if she can help it. But when her mother falls ill, she comes home to Pemberley, Ohio, to spend the season with her family.

Her parents throw their annual Christmas bash, where she meets one Luke Bennet, the smart, sardonic slacker son of their neighbor. Luke is 32-years-old and has never left home. He’s a carpenter and makes beautiful furniture, and is content with his simple life. He comes from a family of five brothers, each one less ambitious than the other. When Darcy and Luke fall into bed after too many eggnogs, Darcy thinks it’s just another one night stand. But why can’t she stop thinking of Luke? What is it about him? And can she fall in love, or will her pride and his prejudice against big-city girls stand in their way?

Get a sneak peek at SMelissa de la Cruz's Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe (available October 17, 2017) with an exclusive excerpt of a selected scene.

Why was this happening? she wondered. Why did every word he spoke fluster her more and more, while nothing she said seemed to affect him whatsoever?

“My God, are we finished here?” She groaned, finishing off the last of her bourbon.

“You really are in such a hurry to get away from me.”

“Yes. I am. I want to go see my mom, and as you already know, I don’t like you.”

 She let her head fall back in frustration. Instantly, she wished she hadn’t. There, on the ceiling above them, was a sprig of mistletoe. She snapped her head back to face him, hoping he hadn’t noticed what she had seen. But it was too late; he had seen it too.

Well, would you look at that?” He shoved his once free hand into the pocket of his jeans and tried to avoid eye contact.

“I uh…” she stammered. “I should go upstairs. I think I’ve done all the socializing I need to do for the night. Or my whole lifetime.”

“Okay,” he agreed. “Sounds like a plan.”

 The two stood there for a moment, eyeing each other somewhat suspiciously.

“Okay then.” She shrugged. “See ya around.” She wanted to walk away but felt glued to the spot. Somehow she couldn’t bring herself to move.

Maybe just for the sake of tradition?” he blurted, gesturing at the mistletoe.

“I mean…” She blushed a little. “It is tradition.”

Did I really just say that? She couldn’t believe it. Am I honestly going to let Luke Bennet kiss me? Wait. Do I actually want him to kiss me? In that moment, she couldn’t deny it. In the middle of this mess of a party, all she wanted was for the adrenaline to keep rushing.

He nodded with pursed lips. Then leaned in and gave her a quick peck on the lips. Darcy felt a surge of tingles race down from her head to her toes. From the look in his eyes, he felt it too.

“What—” he began.

“Don’t say anything,” she whispered, setting her glass down on the nearest ledge and taking his face in her hands. Before she knew it, they were kissing passionately, the sound of her heartbeat so loud in her own ears that it blocked out the music and the mindless chatter. What are you doing, what are you doing? her thoughts demanded of her. But she had no answer, and even though she tried, she couldn’t stop kissing him. Why, after all, would she voluntarily break away from the best kiss she’d ever had?

“Ahem?” They were interrupted by the sound of somebody clearing his throat. Darcy peeled her face away from Luke’s, snapping back to reality as if waking from a deep trance, humiliated to find out that it was Carl Donovan standing before them now, one eyebrow raised and a smug smirk plastered across his face as if he were owed an explanation.

Carl Donovan was Darcy’s on-again-off-again boyfriend who her father had wanted so badly for her to marry, all those years ago. Refusing to marry him was the reason she’d become more or less estranged from her dad since then.

 What her dad didn’t know—nor did anybody else, for that matter—was that ever since Carl had moved to New York City to practice law, he and Darcy had carried on with their on-and-off-again ways. Just because she didn’t want to marry the guy didn’t mean she didn’t like him. What was so wrong about casually dating him when she felt like it, then taking her space when she felt like being alone? Wasn’t that what every man wanted in a girl—someone independent, with no strings attached? The problem was that Carl wasn’t like every man. He wanted something serious. He always had.  This was his one major flaw, which sent Darcy running for the hills time and time again.

“Hey, Darce, whatcha doing?” he asked bitterly, but with a dose of optimism, as if she might jump in and say, “Wait! It’s not what you think!”

“What does it look like I’m doing?” she replied.

“Uh…” This had him stumped.

“We’re not together, Carl. I can do whatever I want.”

“And this is what you want?” He gestured incredulously to Luke.

“Oh boy.” Luke combed his hair back with one hand, then gave Darcy an awkward salute. “Have a good night, you two.”

“Well, that was rude,” she said to Carl, who himself was red with embarrassment and anger.

Me? I was rude? You were making out with Luke Bennet in the middle of your family’s Christmas party, for Christ’s sake!”

“So?”

So? It’s been two whole months since you said you needed a week to think about us.”

“What about us, Carl? There is no us.”

“Oh really.” He cocked his head dramatically to the left. “So you mean to tell me I could walk out of here right now and you’d never see me again and that would be just fine with you? This is really it for us, huh? You’re really okay with closing that door forever?”

Darcy was on the verge of confidently telling him that yes, it was over for good, but something held her back. Something in the familiar way his hands trembled when he was angry. She bit her lip, the memory of Luke’s kiss still lingering.

“No,” she gave in, feeling worn down.  “No, fine. Can we get coffee tomorrow and talk? I’m really tired and, to be honest, I’ve had a lot to drink. I need to sleep.”

“Oh.” His face softened and relaxed. “Yes, yes, of course. Do you need help getting upstairs?”

“You wish,” she said with a playful, lazy smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I’m staying at the Glidden House.” His smile was a hopeful one. “Coffee in the lounge at noon?”

“Sure. You got it,” she said, and drifted up the stairs, delighted to be closing the door on this stranger-than-fiction night. 

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Copyright © 2017 by Melissa de la Cruz.
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Learn more about or order a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa de la Cruz, available October 17, 2017:

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MELISSA DE LA CRUZ is the #1 New York Times, #1 Publisher’s Weekly and #1 Indie Bound bestselling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages, and edited the inspiring anthology of true stories, Because I Was a Girl. She grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart.

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