Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Heart Race

Elizabeth Bennet is a veterinary nutrition researcher who might innovate the horse food industry by creating new formulas that improve the animals' speed, height and strength.

Fitzwilliam Darcy is owner and CEO of Pemberley Ranch, the world's premiere horse breeding facility.

She and her research team need his grant to get the patent that would make her work self-sustainable. He needs her expertise to increase his horses' potential.

This is how they meet.

Heart Race
©Carla Roel de Hoffmann


Elizabeth Bennet arrived late to her office. She was in her filthy jeans, with dirty boots and a stained T-shirt. She’d been detained at the outdoors lab getting the latest results of her new horse food formula. Her “trial subjects” were doing better than expected: more muscles and less fat. They were alert and healthy and ready to run faster than ever.

She was proud of herself and her team, but now she was in a hurry. The Dean had finally pushed her to make an appointment with Mr. Darcy.

He was the owner of the best horse breeding ranch in the world, whom would be able to give the money the University needed to make the final tests on Lizzy’s new formula and get the patent they were yearning to be self-sufficient and prosper. Life would change for the best for their School if Lizzy had anything to say about it.

Earlier that day, she had left a nice, elegant, light blue dress with all the right accessories at her office to change as soon as she got the latest data. If not for Cool Night Dash’s difficulty to get into the scale, she would have been ready by now.

She Wi-Fi the new document with her latest data she was giving to Mr. Darcy as part of her presentation to print, when she heard a knock. Damn it! I won’t make it if the Dean comes by to chat, she thought as she said, “Enter!”

The door opened and a tall, handsome man came in. He was dressed in a dark suit with a golden tie and a white crisp shirt. His black shoes were impeccably clean and polished. His eyes fell on Lizzy.

“I am looking for Dr. Bennet, do you know where I could find him please?” He said arrogantly.

Just another chauvinistic pig, as if women did not have what it takes to have a Ph.D. Lizzy thought but replied, arching an eyebrow, “And you are?”

“I am Fitzwilliam Darcy, and I have an appointment with Dr. Bennet. I hope you are able to get your mentor here on time, as he is not here and we have many things to discuss.” He answered in an emotionless tone of voice.

Lizzy lifted her chin proudly, squared her shoulders as if she was wearing the designer dress she intended to, held out her dirty hand to him and said, “Good morning Mr. Darcy. I am Dr. Elizabeth Bennet and as you can see, I am on time for our appointment.”

Mr. Darcy looked uncomfortable for a moment and then extended his hand to shake hers, “I am sorry, I was expecting somebody completely different…”

“Yes, I understand. We women are not capable of holding high academic degrees and be successful in our field. Do not worry Mr. Darcy, I am used to deal with men like you. Please have a seat.” Now and again, Lizzy was treated as if, because of her gender, she was less in her field. She had worked hard to make a name for herself and get where she was.

“Miss Bennet, if you would…” Fitzwilliam said.

Lizzy opened her palms dismissively, interrupting him and exclaimed, “It is Dr. Bennet to you sir, and I know your time is precious, so please, let us forget anything else but the purpose of our meeting. Here,” she said handling him the stack of papers she prepared ahead, including the newly printed new data that made her unable to change, “may I get you anything to drink before we start?”

* * *

Fitzwilliam Darcy woke up early, excited about the prospect to finally meeting the elusive Dr. Bennet. He took care of his appearance and finally arrived at the University of Merryton early in the morning. He had an appointment with a Dr. Bennet.

He thought himself lucky because, according to the Dean, Dr. Bennet rarely met with entrepreneurs, so dedicated he was to his laboratory and its tests.

He had read about the Dr.’s success in horse food technology. As owner and CEO of Pemberley, the most recognized horse breeding ranch in the world, he wanted to know this person and get him on board so his horses would be even faster on the tracks.

Horsemen from around the world praised and coveted his horses. They had won all Racetrack Derbies and Classics. His horses’ blood went way back to the fastest horses in history and maybe, just maybe, Dr. Bennet’s food formula would improve their performance.

He got out of his gray Aston Martin and walked to the building that housed Dr. Bennet’s office.

We walked the long corridors until he got to the door that held the sign:

“Dr. E. Bennet
“Merryton Foods”

He knocked the door and nobody answered. He was able to listen to the sound of someone working inside. A printer maybe? He knocked again and he heard a strong, impatient “Enter.”

Cautiously, he opened the door and took a peek inside. He found a young woman with no make-up, her hair held in a ponytail, her dirty, informal attire made her look young, and showed her curvaceous body in full glory. Putting some papers inside a folder, she turned his way and stared at him.

Her fine eyes and the lovely face they were set in, took his breath away. His treacherous body getting aroused at the sight before him.

Trying to disguise his arousal and shifting from side to side to alleviate the pain he experienced, he said, “I am looking for Dr. Bennet, do you know where I could find him?”

The beautiful woman before him narrowed her eyes and wrinkled her nose before answering, “And you are?”

Fitzwilliam was surprised by the harsh tone of her voice. She certainly was one of Dr. Bennet’s interns. The kind that took care of the mentor they worked for and worshiped the floor he stepped in. Maybe this dirty vision - but vision nonetheless - was protecting this genius from interference. He replied, “I am Fitzwilliam Darcy, and I have an appointment with Dr. Bennet. I hope you are able to get your mentor here on time, as he is not here and we have many things to discuss.”

The lady arched her brow and a glint of mischief crossed her eyes. She stood straighter and walking towards him, she extended her hand and replied, “Good morning Mr. Darcy. I am Dr. Elizabeth Bennet and as you can see, I am on time for our appointment.”

Fitzwilliam was embarrassed beyond anything he had felt before! Why had he assumed that Dr. Bennet was a man? Did he read it in some of the food engineering magazines he devoured? No, not that he could remember, but he was positive that in none of the extensive material he had gone through, he had seen a picture of this beautiful, intelligent woman before him. He shook her small, warm hand and said, in a low voice, “I am sorry, I was expecting somebody completely different…”

Dr. Bennet interrupted his apology, anger changing the look in her eyes, “Yes, I understand. We women are not capable of holding high academic degrees and be successful in our field. Do not worry Mr. Darcy, I am used to deal with men like you. Please have a seat.”

Fitzwilliam needed to apologize, to make her see that he did not dismiss her success because of her gender, that it was an honest mistake, no discrimination on his part,  “Miss Bennet, if you would…”

She put her hands on her hips and tapping impatiently her right foot, she looked at him as he was beginning to apologize and raising her hand to silence him, she sputtered, “It is Dr. Bennet to you sir, and I know your time is precious, so please, let us forget anything else but the purpose of our meeting. Here,” she said pushing forward a green folder filled with papers, and asking brusquely, “may I get you anything to drink before we start?”

Fitzwilliam shook his head in the negative and took the seat she indicated while she sat behind her desk.

While she conducted the meeting effectively, he was having a hard time concentrating. Not ever had he been so moved by a woman and he had never been so ashamed as well.

He knew he had insulted Dr. Bennet, but it had been impossible for him, so far, to apologize to her. She had interrupted his attempts and now was talking about her chemical discoveries in the mixing of grains and soy to increase the muscle mass on horses and how her trial results came to be, depending on the type of horse and the activity they were expected to do.

Quarter Horses were faster and stronger, those horsemen using Dr. Bennet’s formula exceeded in every competition, no matter if it was racing or barreling.

The warmblood horses were doing better in their timing and the height they used to jump, obviously, they were stronger as well. He knew for a fact that the Olympic champion used the food mix developed by the woman before him.

The results on Race Thoroughbreds was simply amazing. All of her trial subjects were able to improve their speed index significantly. He could not believe how much difference her food formula made.

He could feel her eyes on him as she explained how she came to the current formula and how she measured the success in each type of horse.

If he could get her to work with him on Pemberley horses, he would be able to change forever the world of race horses. He knew he had the best bloods, but the sheer muscle power this food formula brought, was overwhelming.

Dr. Bennet’s care for detail was amazing! The dark haired beauty before him was the best researcher he had ever encountered. Not even the genetic genius he had hired for Pemberley was as meticulous as she, and Fitzwilliam was sure Dr. Bingley suffered from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in the highest degree, though he was not complaining.

Please let me know what you think...

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Promise

I am sharing with you the first chapter of the Pride and Prejudice Variation I wrote last April.

You can download the entire story @

I am thankful beyond words for all the readers that have purchased it. I am honored that you allowed me to share a part of me with you.

This is a work of fiction. Please respect my rights as an author. Do not copy any part of my creation without my written permission.

©Carla Roel de Hoffmann, all rights reserved.

Chapter One

Fifteen-year-old Lizzy Bennet couldn’t believe her luck! Her aunt and uncle had invited her on a trip to the Lake District. After a week of travels, they were staying in a beautiful town, where her aunt had lived in her youth, Lambton. Her relatives were visiting old friends and had let her wander by herself. She walked outside the lovely town, towards some wilderness and a churchyard.

As she came closer to the walls, she heard someone sobbing. Her heart broke at the sound! Lizzy couldn’t help herself and went to find the source of such sadness. She found a little girl, no more than ten years of age, dressed all in black, clutching a beautiful doll, also dressed in mourning, and crying her eyes out, leaning on the wall of an old and crowded graveyard.

“What has happened to you?” Lizzy asked the blond little girl.

“My father died some weeks ago and my brother and I came to say goodbye before we travel to London.” The little girl responded while a river of tears ran through her cheeks and she frantically searched for a handkerchief from between her doll’s dress.

Lizzy handed her handkerchief to the girl while saying, “I am very sorry for your loss, is your mother traveling with you as well?”

“No, my mother died after my birth. It is only my brother and myself now…” and she began crying in earnest again.

Lizzy couldn’t resist the urge to console this fragile, lonely girl. She kneeled before her and hugged her while rubbing her back gently. After some time, the girl regained some composure and let go of Lizzy’s embrace.

She blushed as she saw the dampness her tears had left in the kind lady’s dress. “I am so sorry, please forgive me”, she uttered.

She followed her eyes to the front of her dress and laughed, “Do not fret, I have three younger sisters and I am used to looking like this after they have hurt themselves if I am close enough to assist and hug them. As you see, I am quite used to embracing crying girls who are unable to find their own handkerchiefs.”

The girl’s lips curled upward a little and she met the older girl’s eyes. “Thank you for your generosity. You do not know me and here you have spent quite some time listening to my sorrows and trying to comfort me.”

“Are you by yourself?” Lizzy asked while turning around and not seeing anyone close.

“No, I came with my brother… but…” Tears ran through her cheeks again, “I couldn’t stand a minute longer without crying... next to him in front of our parents’ graves… so I retreated… so I could cry without making my brother sad… I am not sure if he noticed me leaving…”

“You walked here?” Inquired Lizzy.

“No, our carriage went to town to pick up some things my brother needs to take to London while we…” sighing the girl’s eyes welled up again.

“Oh… are you going to live with someone else, some relatives? Is that why you are going to London?” asked Lizzy.

“No, my brother is my guardian along with our cousin, the Colonel, he and I… We will live together, he has some business to attend now that everything… I just couldn’t stay by myself now… I begged him to allow me to accompany… I don’t want him to be alone…” The girl uttered.

“You are a good sister indeed, I am sure he feels better knowing you are taking care of him.” Lizzy’s eyes softened as she complimented the girl.

“Georgiana! Georgiana!” The worried voice of a man came to them.

“In here Fitzwilliam!” the young girl yelled, then lowering her voice, she added, “Oh dear, he is worried, I hope he is not mad…”

“I am sure he just wants to know where you are. See, he noticed you were not by his side.” Lizzy winked at the girl and she giggled.

A young man came hurriedly from between the graves, his face etched with grief and worry. As he saw his sister, his face relaxed, but the sadness in his eyes remained.

“Are you well dear?” He ran and kneeled before the girl, taking her hands in his.

“Yes Fitzwilliam, thank you… I was overwhelmed and needed to…” Her eyes went to the lady standing aside.

He noticed the young lady and stood straight and bowed. His eyes met hers. The look of compassion and understanding that he saw in her eyes took his breath away.

She curtseyed and looking into his red-rimmed eyes she said, “Sir, I am very sorry for the loss of your father.”

“Thank you,” he murmured while swallowing the lump on his throat.

The sound of a carriage startled the group. Lizzy has never seen such an elegant set of horses and means of transport!

“Dear, are you sure you want to come with me all the way to London? We can go back to Pemberley and you can stay with Mrs. Reynolds. I will be back in a fortnight.” The man asked gently.

“Yes Fitzwilliam, I am sure. I do not want to be alone after…” Her eyes welled up again and he hugged her.

“All right then dear…” He said, leading his sister by the elbow, as the carriage stopped on the other side of the graveyard’s walls and a footman jumped off the carriage and opened the door for them to climb up.

Georgiana was almost at the door, when she suddenly turned and ran to hug the lady that stayed behind, witnessing the love and devotion and sorrow those two siblings were feeling.

Lizzy’s arms came around the little girl in surprise. As Georgiana let go and looked up, Lizzy smiled at her and told her in a small voice, pointing to the doll, “Take care of your brother and take care of that beautiful lady. May you introduce us please?”

“Oh, she is Anne, as my mother. Anne, may I introduce you to…?” Georgiana asked.

“Elizabeth Bennet” she curtseyed, “I am glad to make your acquaintance Lady Anne and Lady Georgiana.”

Georgiana smiled and hugging her again said, “Thank you.” She finally let go and ran to the carriage where an older lady was waiting inside, as she sat, Lizzy heard the woman admonishing the young girl for God knew what.

Fitzwilliam was shocked by his sister’s reaction. She was always shy and reticent with strangers. Had she hugged and talked to a stranger and smiled?

He met Lizzy’s eyes, bowed and murmured “thank you”, turned around and climbed onto the carriage. As soon as the door closed and the footman sat aside from the driver, the horses were leaded forward and they were gone.

Lizzy watched the carriage go with tears in her eyes, her heart breaking at the sight of those two sad, lonely, bereaved siblings. Looking frantically for her handkerchief as the tears rolled down her cheeks, she began to laugh. Georgiana had taken it with her! She had no other choice to use the back of her hand and return to the inn to get another one.
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