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“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not;
and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Check out an EXCERPT from the beginning of TOUCH MY HEART!
When I first saw her, she ensnared me. She’d tell a different story, I’m sure. She believes I ensnared her but I know the truth. She couldn’t have a stronger hold on me if I were chained to her with heavy metal links strung over my limbs. She touched my heart with her very first glance in my direction, with those haunted eyes, and with her hopeful smile. My sweet Aubrey.
I’d been watching her for months now. Each day I was in town, I went out of my way to stop by the coffee shop where she worked. She’d watch me from under those thick lashes, her kitten green eyes carefully hidden. If only I could stand the sugar in those crazy espresso drinks the other customers ordered, I could’ve spent more time with her but a black coffee was simple. My time with her was limited to the forty-five seconds a day it took me to order, her to pour the coffee and me to pay.
Then on days when I had some time or I was actually running ahead of schedule, I’d sit and read the paper. Mostly, I was watching her but the paper was the perfect ruse. Her quiet beauty, the way she hid herself behind her shiny auburn hair, called to me. I suspected she had no idea how captivating she was, nor did she notice the second glances some of the local college guys gave her. I saw every one of those looks.
I also saw her steal away when the crowd died down to bring fresh cups of coffee to the elderly couple who sat in the corner of the shop. They were there every morning I stopped in. The couple had to be in their eighties but they sat like newlyweds holding hands and beaming at one another. When Aubrey went over to them, they’d smile, call her sweetheart and thank her. She’d blush a beautiful shade of red as if their appreciation embarrassed her.
Some regulars addressed her by name. From eavesdropping, I knew she’d graduated with a literature degree this past May. This had to be a stopover for her, a transitional job. I was struck by jealousy that others had this rapport I couldn’t seem to establish with her. Hell, I couldn’t even get her to look my way. I knew my time was running out whenever I thought about her moving on to another job. I’d need to make an introduction sooner rather than later.
Then one day, as if God were finally on my side, Aubrey walked directly into me as I stepped out of the coffee shop door. She was distracted, rushing to work and on the phone with someone. The moment our bodies collided, I felt that rush of electricity I had anticipated. Yes, she was most definitely the one for me. My need to have her multiplied. She stuttered out an apology, rummaging through her purse for napkins, but I couldn’t care less about the stain on my shirt.
I simply took her in, as she stood closer to me than ever before. The clothing she chose certainly did nothing to highlight her features but I had to assume her slight bone structure continued downward. Jeans and the coffee shop tees were all I’d seen her in and, unlike the other girls, her jeans were loose and baggy. I breathed in her light scent of lavender, fresh in the outdoors rather than hidden in the coffee-infused air I usually saw her. I reached out to touch her as she stumbled, attempting to go through her purse while still balancing the phone. A startled gasp escaped her.
“I have to call you back,” I heard her abruptly say into the phone before she dropped it into her purse.
Then she offered the one thing I’d prayed for. “I’m so sorry,” she said, desperation icing her words. “What can I do to help? I’ll do anything.” Oh, those precious words stirred something inside me and I shifted to relieve the pressure growing in my groin. She offered herself up on a silver platter and I was a man who was glad to indulge.
I grinned, immensely pleased by God’s tip of his hat. Of course, I knew Aubrey was referring to assisting me with the spill but I seized the opportunity anyway. “Dinner.”
Her response was even better than her offer. “Yes sir,” she stuttered, obviously surprised by what I’d requested.
I couldn’t hold back the smile that split my face. Yes, I had her now and I had big plans for the two of us. Taking a breath, I had to fight back the desire pressing in on me.