Well, I have done it. It was a total accident, but I have written a stock car racing story featuring Darcy and Lizzy. Since I don’t have the right to use the NASCAR name, the book will just be about a generic stock car racing series. I will have to make it part of the editing process to make sure I don’t improperly use branded names, but while that makes it harder, writing this book has been a lot of fun. 😀
To be honest, I did not intend to write something this long based in the racing world just yet. I still have my racing novel sitting here, partially plotted out.
I went three months hardly writing anything at all. I started three or four stories and got to around 5,000 words on each, and they dried up. I’d stare at the screen, and no words would come. Then, one night, in the middle of the night, an idea came to me: why not take my two racing one-shots, expand them a bit, write a couple more short racing stories, and make that a book. It might not be very popular, but I’d have a book written.
I began the next morning to write the 935 words that would be the beginning of this story. What I had intended to be no more than 5,000 words or so is now just shy of novella length. I have had lots of fun writing it, and reading the comments on my blog and on Facebook about it.
I have decided to write a series of racing stories, this one being the first. My racing novel will be Book 2 in the series, which is named Pride & Prejudice & Racecars. I have no timeline for Book 2 yet. 🙂
The original title of this story was “Meetup at MIS,” but when published, it will have a new name: Darcy’s Race to Love.
A reader does not need any knowledge of NASCAR to understand this story. There are definitely race scenes, but I have done my best to avoid acronyms and racing-specific terms. This story is Darcy and Elizabeth falling in love in a modern setting. I have also worked hard to keep Darcy as in-character as possible.
I have included an excerpt here. It’s the beginning of the story, the first part of which was added after I began posting on the blog. I hope you will give it a read and tell me what you think. 🙂
The book will be published in a couple weeks, though I will still be posting on the blog and on a forum. My posting date here at Austen Authors snuck up on me, so I have not prepared a giveaway, but rest assured, there will be one next month! 😀
Oh, and…feel free to join me at Austen Promises every Thursday! 😀
Will Darcy entered the media room at Michigan’s biggest oval racetrack with his typical scowling face and furrowed brow. A reserved man by nature except with those he was closest to, he hated these pre-race interviews where he had to face a dozen or more reporters all at once. He was aware that most people believed he was too good to speak to them, but that was not the case. He was no good with small talk and making jokes with strangers, and did not appreciate word games. He answered all questions straightforwardly and honestly, and when someone tried to be coy with their query, he always asked for clarification. He had a reputation for being difficult because he did not play along, neither making this easy for the media nor partying with his fellow drivers. Will had his family and was very good friends with two or three fellow drivers, and that made him happy. He did not need or want to be the center of attention unnecessarily.
After what to Will was a tortuous thirty minutes of giving succinct answers to serious questions, further cementing the perception that he was cold by bluntly dismissing the sly innuendos of two media members who were trying to turn an incident at the previous week’s race into something it was not, he happily left the room, heading to the garage stall that held his racecar. Once there, he looked over the car, discussing the setup and race strategy.
“Will! Have you seen Bingley? Tell him I need him in the hauler ASAP!”
Nodding his head at his father, Will ended his conversation with the crew and headed out to pit road to find his friend and fellow driver.
Liz Bennet and her sister Jane entered the parking lot at Michigan International Speedway early on Sunday morning. Pulling up to the fence at the far end of the lot, they parked their Ford sport-package pickup next to a small economy car filled to capacity with people and tailgating equipment.
“I wonder how that guy could even see out the rearview mirror?” Jane’s voice was filled with an uncharacteristic derision, but Liz ignored the attitude. Her favorite sister had not yet had enough coffee to behave like a human, and it was rather early in the morning.
“Mmmm, I don’t know. I’m kind of surprised he did not get pulled over and told to get rid of some of it.”
“Cops are all back at that corner we turned, drinking coffee and eating doughnuts. They were too busy to notice a toaster on wheels.”
“Indeed. Here, I have a second thermos of coffee behind my seat. Let me pour you another cup.” Following her words with actions, Liz soon had Jane sipping her fourth mug of joe. Hopefully, it will be enough to improve her mood. Liz and Jane normally got along like a house on fire, but everyone in the family knew to give Jane a wide berth until she was at least halfway through the second pot.
Finally, after a sixth shot of caffeine and a breakfast sandwich, Jane was perking up. The girls locked up the truck, sprayed each other with sunscreen, and headed into the track.
Eschewing the tram, Liz and Jane walked the mile from their vehicle to the midway area. There they visited every display, seeing the famous beer company Clydesdales, playing games to win samples of sticky note products, and viewing the merchandise at the tent of a nationwide rent-to-own company. By this time, the sun was well into the sky and the August day was heating up. They took thirty minutes to eat and refresh themselves, then headed into the grandstand area, making a beeline to the tunnel that led to pit road.
The tunnel was cool after the heat of the sun, and the girls chatted with other race fans as they walked down one set of steps, under the track, and then back up another set. Finally, they arrived at the other side to a beehive of activity. They scooted out of the way, allowing other fans and lots of race personnel to pass them. They debated a few minutes about which direction to walk in, as Liz’s favorite driver liked to pit at the entrance to pit road and Jane’s preferred the exit. In the end, they decided to begin at the entrance and work their way up to the end. First, though, they wandered around behind the pit boxes, watching the crews glue lug nuts on wheels and run through pre-race checklists.
As they turned to head out onto pit road itself, Jane ran straight into someone. The ginger-haired young man was speechless for a long moment, as was Jane. Liz looked between the two and rolled her eyes. It was not at all unusual for a man to be enraptured by her sister’s looks. Jane was stunningly gorgeous. What was not normal was Jane staring back. Liz gave her sister a small push to get her attention.
“Oh!” Jane looked over her shoulder at Liz and then back to the most handsomely packaged man she had ever seen. “I’m sorry!” She told her feet to move, but they refused to obey her.
“Oh, oh no! You’re fine.” The man visibly swallowed, then stuck his hand out. “I’m Bingley. Charles. Charles Bingley.”
Jane smiled. “I’m Jane Bennet. I am so happy to meet you.”
“Me too. You’re a race fan?”
“Yes! My sister and I,” Jane gestured over her shoulder to Liz, “attend a couple races a year. This is our first time here at Michigan, but we have been to several other tracks.”
“Great!” Bingley reached around to shake Liz’s hand in greeting. He opened his mouth to say more, when a deep baritone called out his name.
“Bingley, Coach is looking for you.”
“Right! I’ll be right there. Let me introduce you to a couple ladies I have just now met.” With that, Jane and Liz turned to meet the newcomer.
Immediately, Liz was struck speechless. Bingley’s voice became a buzzing in her ear as her eyes took in the tall, dark hunk of man-candy. Easily six foot three or four, with dark, wavy hair, he was dressed similarly to Bingley, in a firesuit with the arms tied around his waist and his upper body encased in a tight-fitting black t-shirt. His arms bulged with finely-toned muscles, and his stomach was flat.
Taking a deep breath, Liz allowed her eyes to rise up to his. She was arrested by the deep blue orbs. Eyes that were staring right back at her. Suddenly, she was shoved forward, snapping her out of her trance. Glaring behind her at her smirking sister, Liz blushed beet red.
“Lizzy, Bingley just introduced you to his friend. You should say hello.”
Liz narrowed her eyes at Jane, her look promising revenge at a later date. She turned back to the hunk, extending her hand. “I’m Liz Bennet.” Her heart stopped beating for just a second before restarting at a rapid rate when, instead of shaking her small hand as expected, he used his large one to lift it to his lips and bestow a kiss on her fingers.
“Will Darcy,” he said, his deep voice making her shiver in delight. He stepped beside her, tucking her hand under his arm and guiding her further out onto pit road. “Where have you been all my life?”
**Images courtesy of Pixabay and Kathy Ehlenbach**