“A Darcy Christmas” is my novella, and one-third of a holiday, Darcy-themed anthology titled A Darcy Christmas released in October of 2010. The other stories are by Amanda Grange and Carolyn Eberhart.
I based my novella on The Darcy Saga sequel series to Pride and Prejudice that was actively being written, taking the reader into the Darcys’ future via a collection of vignettes glimpsing their life as a family.
The novel anthology is available in print and eBook formats. Additionally, each novella can be purchased separately, but in eBook format only.
For more information on A Darcy Christmas, click to this page: http://sharonlathanauthor.com/…..-christmas
This portion I am sharing is the second vignette out of the nine that comprise A Darcy Christmas.
Vignette #2 ~ Christmas Honeymoon
A year after the torturous dream-filled weeks of 1815 presented a Christmas Eve as different as night is from day. Pemberley was festively decorated with a wealth of green vines and branches, candles both large and small flickered in nooks and creatively decorated crannies, the holiday family heirlooms were repaired and now graced their customary locations, mistletoe ornaments lurked at practically every hallway junction, aromas of savory food wafted tantalizingly from the kitchen, guest rooms once layered with dust were inhabited by visitors from afar, lights and laughter blazed from the game rooms and music chamber, and an enormous Yule log burned in the main parlor’s hearth.
Happiness, deep love, and Christmas cheer echoed down the lengthy corridors and invaded every chamber of the Manor. But in none were these positive emotions as high as in the Master’s chambers on the upper floor of the south wing.
You see, this Christmas was Darcy’s first as a married man. A newlywed of less than a month, in fact, and to his indescribable joy, his wife was Elizabeth. The numerous questions of the prior Christmas were answered beyond his wildest imaginings. Any delusions or doubts were erased.
Was he in love with Elizabeth Bennet, now Elizabeth Darcy?
Yes! A resounding yes and to a depth that continually staggered him.
She was amazing in every definition of the word and astounded him at every turn. Celebrating Christmas in an unrestrained manner was her idea, the planning begun days after entering the house as its Mistress and executed flawlessly. Darcy quickly recognized that his newly found joy would not have allowed for the quiet commemorations of the past even had he wished it, which he did not. His heart was simply too full. Thus, the festivities had started several days ago with visitors and music, the perpetually smiling and laughing Darcy surprisingly loving each moment and always with Elizabeth Darcy at his side.
However, it truly was the private holiday observances that topped his list. Sharing his bride with others was not as painful as it might have been since they ensured special time alone. So far today, Christmas Eve, they had kissed under the hanging mistletoe, cuddled in the library, ice skated, and then explored the delights to be found in bathing together—the latter an extremely pleasurable activity they agreed must be repeated as often as possible!
After a wonderful evening involving fine dining, games, and singing with their guests, they retired to the chamber they shared and sat before the fire on the newly-acquired, exquisitely-tanned hide of a brown bear, propped against a dozen down-stuffed pillows with her body nestled between his legs. The legs still weakened from the shocking but blissful gift given to him in her dressing room! Her frank, verbal proposal of precisely how she wished for her husband of one month to love her—in her dressing room—all while unveiling her gorgeous body, was quite simply the best gift he had ever received in his entire life. He was yet reeling, but in a completely satisfied manner.
The glow yet flushed their skin as they cuddled, sipped wine, shared an abundance of tender kisses, and talked. Darcy read aloud from Lord Byron’s The Corsair, the melodramatic poem of love and pirates additionally thrilling when rendered in his resonant, storytelling voice. Lizzy, absently toying with the bookmark that had kept their place since last evening’s reading, was mesmerized by his surprisingly expressive face.
“Be careful not to fray the fabric. That bookmark is precious and I wish it to remain intact forever.”
She stayed her fidgeting fingers, holding the bookmark in question up for close inspection. The wide strip of fine silk with a quilt backing had been a gift from Lizzy to her then fiancé upon his twenty-ninth birthday. She had embroidered two linked hearts bearing their names with a verse from Genesis above. The promise of their future as one soul was a treasured possession that Darcy kept in whatever book he was reading.
“It is undamaged, but I apologize. Of course, you know that it cannot endure forever?”
“I intend to ensure it does,” he countered stubbornly, ignoring Lizzy’s chuckle and reaching under a nearby pillow. “Speaking of gifts, I have an early Christmas present for you.”
He handed her a small, ribbon-tied box contained a key that belonged to a locked cabinet filled with his personal journals and mementoes. Lizzy laughed when she saw the key, because also hidden behind the secured doors was a collection of sexually instructive books that were a source of continual jesting between them.
Elizabeth, of course and to his never-ending delight, had to tease.
“Books? How sweet of you, William. Always desiring to improve my mind. I promise I shall apply myself diligently and will practice as often as feasible.”
He drew her against his chest, reclined onto the warmed fur, and opened her robe all in one smooth motion. They kissed and caressed, enjoying the tactile sensations and hearts beating in time while the longcase clock in the corner ticked a regular rhythm.
“This is vastly superior to every dream I had of how Christmas with you would be. In fact, this is undoubtedly the best Christmas of my entire life.”
“It isn’t over yet,” she whispered. “But as sweet as that is for you to say, how could it be the best of your life, William?”
He met her eyes. “I am not exaggerating. Never has a Christmas transcended this one, Elizabeth. And I do not refer to the incredible passion we have together, although that surpasses every fantasy my feeble mind conjured. And certainly that facet alone adds a delicious dimension to ‘celebrating’ Christmas that I never experienced before. But, at the risk of sounding woefully quixotic, my love for you enhances all aspects of my life to a degree that overwhelms me.”
“I adore my quixotic husband, so do not stop.” She pulled him in for a long kiss.
“Yes, most assuredly better than any of my dreams.”
“You dreamt of us celebrating Christmas?”
“Last year I was tortured, if you want to know the truth. I could not stop thinking of you, Elizabeth. It took me awhile but it was consistent dreams of us as a family that finally convinced me that I was in love with you.” And in gentle tones and vivid recounting, he told her of the visions that had haunted him.
“I wish I could say that I thought of you last Christmas, my love.”
He shook his head. “Do not be sad, dearest. We are together now and that is all that matters. Besides”—and he grinned, lifting his left brow—“you are thinking of me now, are you not?”
Lizzy laughed, nudging him until he rolled onto his back with her body draped partially over. “Indeed I am. Thinking quite seriously, as a matter of fact. I have promised to practice until an expert on the subject…”
“Then I shall pray you never become an ‘expert’ as I would not wish for the practicing to cease,” he interrupted.
“I am sure there is always something new to learn,” she assured him. “I am very clever, you know.”
“Yes, I know!”
“Do you still wish for serenity and composure? Or does a little fire and argument now exhilarate you, Mr. Darcy?”
“No and yes.” He wrapped his fingers within her hair, bringing her closer for an intense kiss. “I have repented of my foolish misconceptions. You may scorch me with your fire any time you wish, Mrs. Darcy.”
The antique clock of gleaming mahogany chimed through the midnight hour, alerting the busy occupants that Christmas Day had arrived. The final chime’s echo still rang when they were finally able to speak.
“Merry Christmas, my lover.”
“Indeed it is!” he rasped. “I knew it was unwise to give you access to the books if you can devise such methods all on your own. I think you may kill me!”
But Lizzy just laughed.
* ~ * ~ *
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