Author's Notes

You know that residual gunk that's left around the rim of a cotton candy maker dish? This is probably something like that.

By the Light of Sunrise

Warm with sleep, Darcy awoke by degrees.

His first glimmer of awareness was of the weight and heat in his arms, which could only mean Elizabeth was still sound asleep. Slowly, without opening his eyes, he tightened his hold so she was nestled more closely to him. She sighed softly in her sleep and her breath fanned out against his bare skin.

The telltale burbles of dawn, with its chirruped birdsongs and distant echoes of the servants beginning their day, eventually trickled into his exhausted consciousness, but he had no intention whatsoever of moving. He treasured these rare, lazy mornings when there were no appointments to keep, no places to be other than right where he was.

For a time, he was perfectly content with just the feel and scent of his wife, burrowing deeper into her hair so that her curls teased his nose. Soon, however, his eyes became jealous with want and blinked open almost without his consent.

The sunshine forced him to squeeze them nearly shut in the next moment, but they adjusted to the brightness little by little until she seemed to be conjured from particles of incandescent light. His mouth tilted into a crooked smile as he took her in, devoting his attentions to each part which made up the whole of his Elizabeth as if he were a scholar of art studying one of da Vinci's masterpieces. She was a masterpiece. The delicate arch of her eyebrows, the tapered lines of her fingers, the dip of her waist chased by the gentle slope of her hip. He loved it all with such fervor and a touch of possessiveness that would once have made him suspect of his own gentlemanliness.

Now, it only made his fingers itch to trace her every curve until the feel and texture of her skin was committed indelibly to his memory, until he could map the constellation of beauty marks scattered across her body by heart.

The morning was theirs and the temptation too great.

As he sought the sensitive spot just behind her ear, she began to stir beneath him. His grin stretched wider and he caught her lobe between his teeth before continuing along the column of her throat, plying every inch that came under his lips with the same sort of sweet, tender kisses she woke him with each morning.

When he paused in his languid explorations to drag his lower lip down her forehead and nose, his name was curling on her tongue. By that time, his restraint—whatever shards remained—shattered. He bent to capture her mouth in a searing kiss, focusing on her upper lip, then her full lower one, running his tongue deliberately across each as a groan rumbled in his chest. Elizabeth was awake now, surely, or her body was rising up to meet his of its own accord. His greedy hands, incapable of being idle, moved from the divot of her bellybutton to press at the small of her back. He could feel her fingers slipping up his spine and the nape of his neck to sink into his hair. He bit playfully at her chin and distracted himself momentarily by following the line of her jaw, returning over and again to her lips.

Finally, he broke away, though he could not keep himself from touching her in some manner. He nuzzled her nose with his, and with a gentle buss to the end of it, he hid his face in the smooth crook of her neck.

"Good morning," he murmured against her shoulder, his voice all gravel and repressed passion.

He shivered as the vibrations from her throaty reply of mmm spilled into him. Peeking up almost shyly from his sanctuary, he saw her vivid eyes watching him while a lovely pink blush stole across her cheeks. He wanted to chase it with his tongue.

As if she could hear his thoughts, the sleepy smile on her kiss-flushed mouth adopted an impish edge.

Lazy mornings were, without question, one of Darcy's favorite things in the world.

End Author's Notes

Your teeth's mortal enemy, your dentist's best friend.