Over You_ A Mr. Darcy Valentine - H. M. Ward

CHAPTER 1

I sprint down the hospital corridor, dodging patients, other visitors and a delivery guy with an enormous bouquet of flowers. My heart is pounding so hard I’m afraid it’ll crack my ribs. There’s not enough air, and the stitch in my side brings tears to my eyes, but I don’t stop—I can’t.

The overhead fluorescent lighting casts an eerie glow on the sterile decor, and the sound of the bulbs makes my tired eyes twitch. I focus on the sound of my footsteps, rhythmic and reliable. He’ll be okay. Things won’t end here today.

Seven hours ago, I was in Texas, about to eat dinner. My only worry was studying for the graduate school admissions test I planned to take next semester. But that was before my sisters called to let me know they were rushing our father to New York City's Mt. Sinai Hospital. They didn’t say much, only that I needed to travel as fast as possible.

When I walked away from New York, it seemed like a good idea. I wanted my own life, my own space, and two thousand miles in the middle made it impossible for my mother to meddle. I didn’t expect this. I never thought my dad could slip from this world before I returned home.

Turning the corner, I see an information desk and a friendly looking nurse. She's a little older than me—late twenties, early thirties at the latest—with bright violet eyes and a stethoscope slung casually around her neck.

"Excuse me," I pant, "can you please point me in the direction of room 651? I'm David Bennet’s daughter, Beth."

She reaches up and squeezes my hand reassuringly. "It's down the hall to the left and around the corner. You’re a good daughter flying up here so fast."

"Thanks," I say, grateful for her kindness. I take off down the hall at a quick clip. I increase my speed when I’m away from the nurse’s station and round the corner without slowing. I see the tall man in the dark suit just seconds too late.

We collide and I bounce backward. I tilt dangerously, preparing myself for an ungraceful landing, but he reaches out for my elbow and pulls me to his chest, steadying me.

His bright blue eyes gaze down intently into mine and—just for a moment—I forget why I'm here. Those eyes hold a lifetime of pain and a wealth of secrets. For a split second, the depths of his torment are reflected in those twin blue pools, and I sense a kindred spirit in him, like he understands my fear of loss all too well.

He blinks, clears his throat, and sticks his hands abruptly in his suit pockets, letting me fall away from his chest and out of his spell. "Darcy. William Darcy."

“Beth,” I say my name instinctively, as a warning bell goes off silently in my mind. “Elizabeth Bennet.”

He looks around nervously as if he'd rather be anywhere else right now, but he doesn’t leave. He runs his hand through his dark hair and then glances at me again.

Darcy. Why does that name sound familiar? Wait a minute!

"William Darcy of Darcy Biopharm?" I take a step forward, poking his surprisingly muscular chest right in the middle of his expensive designer tie. I’m normally not so aggressive, but this man is a shit, I know that for certain. "What are you doing here? Putting my father in the hospital wasn’t enough? Did you come to pull the plug, too? Or just kick him while he’s down?"

Darcy blinks and takes a step back. "I had little to do with it. Maybe you should ask your father what he’s been hiding.”

“Don’t insinuate you know my father better than I do.” I glare up into his face and narrow my gaze to thin slits. My fingers twitch at my sides, wanting to ball up into fists so I can clobber this monster.

William Darcy has a strong reputation for being a heartless dick. He destroys without remorse, completely calloused from the inside out. His calm exterior irritates me. “Miss Bennet, I suggest you—”

"What? Take advice from you? No, thank you." I push past him without giving myself a chance to feel guilty for my manners. Fuck him. I wish I could say it to his face. As I start to rush away, I round and walk backward for a moment. “And don’t show your face here again. You're not welcome.”

“It’s a free country, Miss Bennet.”

“Kiss my ass, Mr. Darcy.”

CHAPTER 2

"Beth, thank God you're here," my older sister, Jane, cries as I