Sharon Lathan 

The Trouble with Mr. Darcy

This novel is dedicated to my children who are a constant delight and inspiration.

My daughter, Emily ~ You have grown into a beautiful, Christian woman whom I am proud to say is my friend. My prayer is for your Mr. Darcy to joyfully enhance your life as your father has mine.

My son, Kyle ~ You are my baby but now a man on the cusp of entering the world away from your parents, yet I have no fears because I know God holds you in the palm of His hand.

Cast of Characters

Fitzwilliam Darcy

Elizabeth Darcy

Alexander Darcy: born November 27, 1817

Michael Darcy: born September 14, 1819

Georgiana Darcy

Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam

Lady Simone Fitzwilliam: Colonel Fitzwilliam’s wife; sons Oliver, the Earl of Fotherby, Harry, and Hugh Pomeroy

Earl and Countess of Matlock: Darcy’s uncle and aunt; residence Rivallain in Matlock, Derbyshire

Dr. George Darcy: Darcy’s uncle

Baron and Baroness of Oeggl: Darcy’s Aunt Mary and husband

Charles and Jane Bingley: residence Hasberry Hall in Derbyshire; son Ethan

Joshua and Mary Daniels: residence London; daughters Deborah and Claudia

Katherine (Kitty) Bennet

Major General Randall Artois: Kitty Bennet’s fiancé

Mr. and Mrs. Bennet: residence Longbourn in Hertfordshire

George and Lydia Wickham: reside in Devon

Dr. Raul and Anne Penaflor: residence Rosings Park in Kent; daughter Margaret

Lady Catherine de Bourgh

Marchioness of Warrow:Dr. Darcy’s aunt and Darcy’s great-aunt

Sebastian Butler: heir to the earldom of Essenton; Lady Warrow’s grandson

Earl and Countess of Blaisdale: the former Caroline Bingley and her husband; son John

Stephen and Amelia Lathrop: residence Stonecrest Hall in Leicestershire; daughter Fiona

Gerald and Harriet Vernor: residence Sanburl Hall in Derbyshire; sons Stuart and Spencer

Albert and Marilyn Hughes: residence Rymas Park in Derbyshire; son Christopher, daughter AbigailGeorge and Alison Fitzherbert: residence Brashinharm in Derbyshire; sons Andrew and Neville

Rory and Julia Sitwell: residence Reniswahl Hall in Derbyshire; four sons

Clifton and Chloe Drury: residence Locknell Hall in Derbyshire; son Clive

William and Charlotte Collins: residence Hunsford in Kent; daughters Rachel and Leah

Mrs. Reynolds: Pemberley housekeeper

Mr. Taylor: Pemberley butler

Mr. Keith: Mr. Darcy’s steward

Samuel Oliver: Mr. Darcy’s valet

Marguerite Oliver: Mrs. Darcy’s maid

Mrs. Annesley: Miss Darcy’s companion

Mrs. Smyth: Darcy House housekeeper

Mr. Travers: Darcy House butler

Mrs. Hanford and Miss Lisa: nannies to Darcy children


After a Time

Elizabeth Darcy walked through the bedchamber doorway and released a heavy sigh as she threw her traveling gloves onto the chair.

“Finally got the baby to sleep. He nursed intermittently, but I do not think hunger was the issue. He definitely does not travel well! I have never seen him so upset, and that is saying something.” She plopped onto the edge of the large bed and gazed around the room as she removed her pelisse. “I know I have said it a few times already, but I am amazed that this house has never been sold. You would think the family weary of maintaining a manor so far away for so many years. What is the point?”

This entire speech, including the unanswered question, was directed toward her husband. Darcy lay spanning the whole width of the generous bed, his long, lean body supine with booted legs dangling over the edge by Lizzy’s knees and hands loosely clasped in the empty air above his head. By all appearances he looked soundly asleep, but Lizzy was not deceived. The simple facts that his mouth was not parted and breathing not deep were a sure giveaway. Therefore, she continued to ramble.

“Whatever the reasoning, it is fortunate for us. Much more comfortable than an inn or trying to cramp into Longbourn.” She sighed again, folded the sable-accented woolen jacket, and absently placed it onto the mattress beside her as her eyes swept over the furnishings and wide windows. “In truth, I will miss this place if they ever sell it. So many memories.” Her voice grew silent. A happy smile adorned her lips as one hand caressed Darcy’s nearest thigh. “Yes, many memories. Remember the time… Oh!”

“No walks down the lane of Netherfield remembrances as yet, my dear. Put your mouth to better use and kiss me.” He had grabbed her elbow and tugged until she lay alongside him, bouncing slightly from the impact.

“William, the door…”

But he turned toward her and engaged her lips before the rejoinder was complete. Nothing improper, they were both fully clothed mind you, but a vigorous kiss ensued for a blissful few minutes.

“Sorry to interrupt the exhibition,” declared a voice that sounded anything but remorseful.

Darcy reflexively released his wife and jerked upward, only then registering the voice and tone of latent laughter. “Uncle! Are you unaware of knocking on doors?”

George’s brows rose, the feigned expression of surprise not hiding his amusement. “On open doors? What an astounding concept! I must have missed that lesson in my youth.” He shrugged. “I only disrupted the romantic interlude to inform you that dinner shall soon be served. Since Mrs. Darcy whined about her hunger for the past hour, feeding two and all that, and I distinctly heard your stomach growl between the infant wails, I thought you both would be interested in the news.”

Lizzy’s giggle and Darcy’s sharp retort were cut off by a sudden piercing scream echoing down the hallway, shut door and stout walls not greatly muffling their son’s healthy lungs. Lizzy sighed yet again and closed her eyes for a momentary skyward supplication for strength. Darcy halted her rising, however, leaning for a kiss to her forehead.

“Go and eat, Elizabeth. I will see to it. I doubt it is sustenance he is wishing for, so perhaps I can handle it.”

“Thank you! I am famished.”

“Just save a bit for me. Uncle, will you escort my wife to the dining room?”

“With honor.”

Briskly and bravely entering the nursery chamber, the doting father was greeted by lusty yells, soothing vocalizations, and the faint clunk of wooden blocks being banged together. The former two issued forth respectively from the mouths of his six-month-old son, diminutive face angrily screwed-up and beet red, and the nanny, Mrs. Hanford, who stood near the window swaying and bouncing as she crooned to no avail. The latter noise, barely audible amid the cries, came from the serious, blue-eyed boy sitting on the carpet surrounded by a pile of building blocks in dozens of shapes and sizes.

The toddler lifted his adorable face, azure gaze serenely greeting the tall man, his piping voice calm. “Papa, baby sad.”

“Yes, Alexander. I gathered as much. Thank you.”

Darcy smiled at his firstborn, stooped to ruffle the wild curls that resisted any form of tamed combing, and turned to the nanny.

“You need not fret, Mr. Darcy. I can attend to him while you dine. Nothing we haven’t all seen before!” she concluded, hugging the irate infant and bestowing a loving kiss to his sweaty forehead.

“I do not doubt your competence, Mrs. Hanford, you know that. But Mrs. Darcy will dine easier if I am here with him. Come here, little demon, let your father deal with your tantrum. There, there now. Is it really all that bad? Carriage rides not for you? Shall we add that to the list of items that disturb? My poor baby boy! So particular you are, my lamb.”

He chuckled as he sat onto the sofa, the baby not even mildly amused, and winked at Alexander who observed the proceedings with quiet interest while still banging blocks. Darcy laid the thrashing, belligerent infant belly down over his knees and proceeded to bounce and pat the diapered bottom. It took awhile, but experience gleaned narrowed this down to the best avenue to hush and pacify.

Alexander rose, tossed the blocks aside, and grabbed one lumpy leg of a tattered, stuffed hound dog. He walked to his father’s side, adding soft pats to the firmer ones calming the infant who was now intermittently gasping while sucking on a plump thumb. Leveling his small face with the smaller one, bright azure eyes engaging the teary cobalt ones of his brother, he added phrases in a soothing voice mimicking Darcy. “Go sleep, baby. Hush, hush now. Papa here. No more tears, sweet baby. Be happy.”

Darcy smiled, watching Alexander bestow soft kisses to the wet cheeks as angry eyes glazed with serenity and sleepiness. For several minutes after regular breathing was reached, Darcy and Alexander continued to administer pats at a gradually lessening pace. Experience had also taught them not to trust the newest Darcy’s complacency too swiftly, a fact they were recently reminded of when his mother’s declaration of slumber was proven erroneous.