With: Susan Mesler-Evans
Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.
From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats -- which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.
MOST ARDENTLY is a modern-day redux of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. All the trappings of the classic romantic comedy are here – a strong-willed, snarky heroine, a romance blooming with the person she thought she hated much, and an absolutely ridiculous family providing the backdrop. With the characters and action updated for the 21st century, there’s something for everyone in Most Ardently. Written for hardcore Janeites and newcomers alike, this is a story with a lot of humor, heart, and love for the original novel.
She ducked behind the nearest tree, hoping she could just stand there until Darcy and Bobby left.
Yep. Super-mature, super-smooth. That’s me.
“Darcy, you haven’t spoken to anyone all night,” Bobby was saying.
“And are you really so cruel as to make me break my streak now?” Darcy said.
“Come on, you must be getting lonely.”
“I prefer my own company over that of anyone else. You know that.”
“Even mine? Or your sister’s?”
Darcy didn’t say anything.
“Everyone’s having a good time. I’m not saying you have to make a new friend, but I wouldn’t want you sulking all by yourself.”
“I am not sulking. I am brooding while in the vicinity of others. It’s a completely different thing.”
Elisa clapped a hand over her mouth to keep the laugh in. When she peeked back out, the corner of Bobby’s mouth was quirking up in a repressed grin.
“Well, would it kill you to brood in the vicinity of someone you can talk to?”
“It might,” she insisted.
“Why don’t you go hang out with that Colin guy? He’s your cousin, right?”
“We have never gotten along. If we talk now, there may very well be a brawl at this wedding,” Darcy said. “Is that what you want?”
Elisa disliked them both so much, she wasn’t sure who she’d even root for. She was willing to bet Darcy could pick Colin up and toss him like a ragdoll, though. A light breeze probably could’ve knocked him over.
Bobby let out a sigh. “Okay...what about that Elisa? Julieta’s sister?”
“What about her?” There was now a layer of ice coating her tone.
“You said you have a class with her, right? That’s at least something to talk about.”
“Look, Bobby—I know you mean well, but I also know you want to get back to Julieta. Don’t stay here and fuss over me. You’ve found the only pretty girl in this town, so there’s no point in trying to get me to find one. Elisa is...fine, I suppose, but not nearly enough to sway me. And her other sisters have been causing problems all night. Do you know I saw one of them arguing with the violinist about what to play? And that’s not even getting started on their mother. Basic manners seem to escape them. I can hardly imagine Elisa is much better.”
“Darcy, come on. I’ve been talking to Julieta all night, and she’s great.”
“Well, congratulations. You found the only normal one.”
Her jaw clenched as her hand curled into a fist, nails digging into her palm.
Nice to meet you, too, Darcy. Welcome to Steventon, enjoy your stay. Asshole.
He sighed. “Fine. Suit yourself,” he said.
“I’ll be headed home soon. Don’t feel obligated to leave when I do.”
It’s a good thing she left. Elisa may not have been able to hold her temper much longer. Who was Darcy to criticize her family? Sure, Elisa had given her sisters an earful for being rude, but she was their sister. That was her job. Darcy was just some random girl who didn’t know them.
And I’m fine. Ugh.
Unclenching her fists, Elisa sighed and shook her head. Darcy was not going to ruin this night for her. She was going to have a good time if it killed her.
And, honestly, it probably would.