Title: Dating Mr. Darcy (Love Manor Romantic Comedy Series, #1)
Author: Kate O’Keeffe
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date: 25 August 2020
Is it a truth universally acknowledged, that a girl must compete on reality TV to win a modern-day Mr. Darcy’s heart?
Clothing designer Emma Brady is having serious doubts about how far she’ll go to promote her new activewear line. Sure, being on a reality show would be great for business, but is putting up with Mr. Darcy-wannabe Sebastian Huntington-Ross really worth it?
Sebastian is straight out of an Austen novel. But it’s hard to focus on his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and wickedly sexy accent when all Emma can see is his pride, arrogance, and smug demeanor.
But Sebastian has a secret reason for being on the show, and when Emma figures out what it is, her heart warms to him—without her permission.
Will Emma hold fast and keep the aristocratic Sebastian at arm’s length? Or will she put her reservations aside when the lines between reality and “reality show” start to blur?
Dating Mr. Darcy Excerpt:
“Emma,” Johnathan says, snapping my attention away from Kennedy. “We would love to hear your performance. Please, take to the stage.”
I wave my hand in the air. “Oh, I’m going to sit this one out, if it’s all the same to you. But thanks for asking.”
His eyes shift to a crew member and back to me. “All the contestants need to perform, I’m afraid.”
“As much as I may want to perform—and believe me I do so, so much—I’m afraid I’m no singer. I told Sebastian that already and he seemed cool with it. Believe me, I’m doing all of you a big favor here.”
“She doesn’t want to have to follow my performance. Do you, Emma?” Hayley says with the fakest sweet smile ever.
“I can well understand that,” Johnathan replies, “but the rules are the rules. Aren’t they, Mrs. Watson?” He’s looking for back-up now.
Mrs. Watson rises to her feet and glares at me. “You. Stage. Now.” Gone is the firm but polite language. It seems she’s going for straightforward orders now.
I chew on my lip as I look around the room. “Do I have to?” I ask, and yes, I know I sound like a whiny kid being made to eat her broccoli.
“You do,” Mrs. Watson replies.
I let out a defeated sigh. “Okay.” I make my way over to the stage like I’m walking the line. I don’t want to perform, and I haven’t practiced anything either.
I scramble around in my brain, searching desperately for a song in my range. Which is basically about four notes, all of them flat, if my car singing skills are anything to go by.
“Miss Emma? We’re waiting,” Mrs. Watson says tersely.
All eyes are on me. Johnathan is watching me warily, Sebastian is looking somewhere between concerned and amused, and there’s no way I’m going to look in Hayley’s or Camille’s direction right now.
I’ve got to think of something, stat!
When I don’t do anything, Mrs. Watson barks, “Sing!”
Out of pure shock, I open my mouth and begin to sing the first song that comes to mind. It was playing in the car as I was driven here what feels like a lifetime ago, even though I think it was only a matter of days. Days? Really?
Lil Nas X’s voice is in my head, and I sing along with it. I’m taking my horse down to an old road, and it takes all my willpower not to bob on the spot as though I’m on that horse myself. When I get to the Billy Ray Cyrus part, I notice a few of the contestants go from controlling their mirth to openly sniggering. It puts me off my game. Not that I had much of a game in the first place.
I fudge some of the words and replace others with the word “horse,” which seems appropriate, given that it’s a song about riding one. Or is it a metaphor? All I know is this is about a gazillion miles from being my finest hour, and I wish more than anything it was over.
When I finally get to the end of the song, I stop abruptly, clamp my mouth shut, and wait for the inevitable laughter to roll around the room. I’m not disappointed. Camille is doubled over, shaking with laughter, Hayley has tears rolling down her cheeks, and even Phoebe and Kennedy are snickering, although I can tell they’re working hard to hold it in.
I glance at Sebastian. His face is alight with amusement, but his eyes are surprisingly soft. “Nice work,” he mouths, and I shoot him my most withering look, which is a little hard to muster when you’re up to your neck in a lake of humiliation, your cheeks hot enough to scramble eggs.
About Kate O’Keeffe:
Kate O’Keeffe is a bestselling author of fun, feel-good romantic comedies. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand with her family, two scruffy dogs, and a cat who thinks he’s a scruffy dog too. He’s not: he’s a cat. When she’s not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.
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