First Kiss Friday – The Heart of a Soiled Dove by Sarah Jae Foster

Today’s First Kiss Friday featured guest is Sarah Jae Foster, author of inspirational historical romance The Heart of a Soiled Dove.  Welcome Sarah Jae!  Here’s the first kiss between Aurora Young and Donovan Ramsey.

“Three hundred and fifty dollars.”

The air tingled, an uncertain shadow lingered, smothering everyone. Donovan’s deep voice carried an echo in the silence. Aurora swayed. His face was set. She could not read if this was a good sign or not. He would be sure to misunderstand this whole ordeal. She’d only ever wanted him, not to be auctioned off to just any man. Her face flamed as he and his fierce look splayed her body open with his heated observation of her.

Marshal LaSalle called out, “Four hundred.”

Donovan did not give him the time of day, keeping his gaze steady on Aurora. “Five hundred.”

She could no longer take it. “Stop it! Please!”

The Marshal held up his hand, “I know better than to go up against Donovan. You win.” He bowed out before Aurora, and shook Donovan’s hand. “Good luck man. She is a hard woman to earn affections from. Lord knows I’ve tried all winter.”

Aurora was stuck there, planted as if she had roots buried deep into the stage.

With a stopping heart, Aurora watched as Donovan made his way to her slowly, like she were prey. He said nothing, merely set her basket to the ground and led her away.

*** *** ***

It dawned on him where to take her, where the first voice of calm had visited them – eternity ago. She followed his lead. Soon they topped Aurora’s favorite hill, now cemetery. Donovan’s face pained when he noticed the burial plots. That was what she lived for, for these women. With gentleness, he pulled her down onto the dewy grass.

“You convict me.” Angst and contrite ebbed from him. His pride had been hurt.

“I don’t mean to… it’s not my place to.”

Grabbing her hands, he placed them to his chest and closed his eyes, as if he were wrapping them around his heart. “You live so selflessly. Without judgment. How can anyone measure up to you?”

“I am nothing.”

“You possess my thoughts, that can’t be nothing,” he said.

“And you possess mine.”

“I have fought falling in love with you Aurora. What you did in the past… I know that’s not who you are. In fact, it makes you stronger, much stronger than any one of us.”

In humility she said, “You shouldn’t compare me.”

He released his hold and stood, piercing her with hot eyes. “That’s what I’m talking about, you say you are nothing when…” he pointed to the meadow where the girls resided, “When you brought them here to start a new life!”

A smile curved on her, “It is never too late for anyone to change. Not even for you.” She rose to stand next to him. In a boldness which only Aurora could bring, she hooked the tips of her fingers against his. Time froze, all he need do is respond in kind and she would know.

It was his time to confess, “My ma prostituted herself for no reason other than she wanted to hurt my pa. He lost our money and she repaid him by robbing his dignity. He died in sorrow. It’s more than a man should have to take.”

“I am not your mother. I survived then, I’m surviving now. God has healed me, He can heal you too.”

His fingertips curled over hers. A warm rush filled him. “I want to find that healing you, Roman and the Reverend speak of,” he paused a moment. “You are something, Aurora Young.”

“So I’ve been told.”

“Would you still have me call on you then?”

“On my honor I will never hurt you Donovan.”

“I already know that.”

They moved simultaneously and were in each other’s arms. Surrendering of thoughts and devoted love merged as his lips finally met hers.

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