It is a truth universally acknowledged that Brodie Bishop is the worst.
Vivian Trent is desperate. Her family doesn’t approve of her life as a single mom and the small town of Austen still won’t accept her as one of their own four years later. Playing Elizabeth Bennet at the annual Jane Austen Festival is the perfect way to win over the locals and prove that she’s thriving. But when Austen’s favourite festival hero is replaced by his tattooed, metalhead brother, how is she supposed to achieve perfection with such a bad boy playing Mr. Darcy? He’s never read the book. He’s brash and unpolished. He’s… blond?!
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I dislike you.
Brodie’s used to being the town disappointment, so when Vivian turns her nose up at him, he’s not surprised. Hot librarian or not, she’s way too uptight. But once the festival gets underway, they see new sides of each other. When he finds out her dark secret, suddenly she’s much more endearing. She’s vulnerable, but strong. And the way she looks in that gown only blurs the lines between playing the part and falling for her for real.
But when her goal is within reach, can Vivian go off-book and choose Brodie, if it means risking everything she thought she wanted?
Title: The Worst Darcy
Author: Robyn Gynne
Publication Date: August 15, 2023
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Cuppabeans was the only cafe in town, a cute little corner shop with a mint green and white striped awning out front, knotty pine framing inside, and a constant, thick miasma of warm, rich Arabica beans in the air.
Inhaling deeply as I stood in line, I tapped my foot and checked the time. It was fine. I still had a good cushion to get this done before I had to be at the library. I reached the front and ordered the largest size they had.
“Name?” the perky teenage server called over the morning din.
“Vivian,” I said.
“Lydia?” she asked.
I emphasized each syllable so she could at least read my lips. “Vivian.”
She nodded in a way that made my hopes plummet. I crossed my arms and stepped to the side to let the next person up. I blinked as I saw the man who’d stood behind me. He wore black head to toe, including a thick pair of leather cuffs at his wrists, the dark shade contrasting with his fair skin. The only hint of colour on him popped from the tattoos covering his forearms and the wheat blond of his overlong hair. He left his black aviators on as he put in his order and came to stand beside me, crossing one long leg over the other as he leaned back against the wall.
I watched him in the mirror on the opposite side of the cafe. He crossed his arms and appeared generally standoffish, the sharp line of his jaw ticking as he clenched it. I watched the muscle move as discreetly as I could. By the look of him, he was hardly a Prince Charming candidate, but I could still appreciate a nice jawline. I was only human, after all.
But then a smirk kicked up one corner of his mouth and he tipped his sunglasses down, revealing that his eyes were locked on mine in the mirror. My heart squeezed in surprise. Not only from the frantic feeling of being caught staring, but the shock of how incongruously dark brown his eyes were against that hair, stark in his only slightly sun-kissed face. They tilted up slightly at the outer corners, reminding me of a cat. He nudged the shades off his face and turned to me with a matching feline languor.
I flicked my eyes to the ground, face flaring with heat.
“Don’t like tattoos?” he asked, his voice a slightly gravelly tenor. By that grungy, heavy metal look, he’d probably spent his life screaming into a microphone.
“I wasn’t looking at your tattoos,” I said with a sharp shake of my head. Hopefully, my neck wasn’t going blotchy with embarrassment.
“Yeah?” he asked. In my periphery, I saw him lean closer. “What were you lookin’ at?”
I threw a desperate glance at the server and she held a cup up with a nod. Relief flooded me as I grabbed it and pivoted on my heel to escape this awkward encounter. But as I passed the man, I faltered, frowning down at the cup. It read Vanilla. “Oh, come on,” I grumbled under my breath.
A snort drew my eyes back up to the man. His dark eyes sparked with a mocking amusement. “Hey, at least she got the V right.”
Robyn Gynne writes spicy contemporary romances about resilient women and memorable men. Having self-published numerous short romances over the years under different pen names, she is pleased to present her first full-length novel, THE WORST DARCY. When she’s not writing, you can find her catching up on her TBR pile, watching spooky movies, and woodburning crafts. She lives in the Greater Toronto Area with her husband and son.
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