Two years ago, I reconnected with an old college friend. After years of unsatisfying employment, she’d followed her dreams and was now making her living creating and teaching ceramics. Twenty years into motherhood and teaching, I was inspired by her success to follow a new fork in the road myself.
I decided to write a love story for a friend who richly deserved a happy ending. A Leap of Faith is her story, highly fictionalized but with the same loving person at the center of the drama.
All her life, merchandising director Sophia Anton hated her body. Almost 30, her biological clock ticks louder every day. Desperate to begin a family, Sophia crash diets to remake her image and turn a platonic friendship into a marriage proposal. Her plan is working, too, until she meets the new minister in town.
Scarred by tragedy, Reverend Jackson Thomas’s vow to abstain from romance is put to the test by the attractive parishioner working at his side. And before long, her volunteer efforts at church have Sophia dreaming about more than the good of mankind…
Sophia gazed at the rack of lingerie. Beneath the wild fluttering of her heart, her stomach clenched. She swallowed hard and licked her dry lips. She could never…!
Despite herself, she pressed damp palms into the inviting fabric of a velvet bustier. She loved the look and feel of lingerie. But lingerie wasn’t made for a body like hers.
She cast a furtive glance around the immediate area, but no one was watching. Pulling a hanger from the rack, she held a negligee under her chin. With an appraising eye, she scanned the length of her body reflected in the narrow mirror on the wall and angled her knee to peek from behind the skirt. Admit it, Sophia. The nightgown looks…sexy.
Her boldness growing, she pouted her lips at the mirror and tossed her hair like a coquette. Not bad. She tilted her right hip against the sheer fabric. Not bad at all.
Taking a deep breath, Sophia removed the hangers one by one. For the first time since she was a young girl, she wasn’t ashamed of her body. And Tiffany had told her to show off.
Time to step up your game, Sophia.
He’d been disappointed, he couldn’t deny it, when Sophia canceled their meeting this morning. So he improvised. Stop by O’Grady’s and talk with her for a few minutes. After all, it’s on your way.
A bored sales associate led him to the door of a darkened convention hall. Lines of chairs extended to a stage in the front, where a runway protruded down the center of the room. A well-dressed young man approached.
“I’m looking for Sophia Anton,” Jackson whispered.
The young man nodded. “She should be out in a minute.”
Jackson sank into a chair, glancing about him under lowered lids. A model circled the end of the runway, paused, and sauntered back to the main stage, exiting behind the curtains. The applause was sporadic, almost an afterthought by the middle-aged audience absorbed in their own conversations.
“And for an evening of high romance”–the announcer paused while the stage lights lowered–“we have Sophia wearing an elegant plum floor-length gown.”
Jackson froze, his hands stopped mid-clap. Into a cone of light stepped Sophia, her hands on her hips. Twirling so the skirt fluttered up, exposing her ankles and calves for a delicious moment, Sophia paused with her back toward the audience, offering a profile view of her face in a pouty smile. She shook her bottom, heart-shaped and stamped with a triangle of purple fabric beneath the silky diaphonous skirt.
Not until Sophia glided down the runway did Jackson realize his hands were still raised, motionless in mid-clap. Jamming them into his pants pockets, he slid low in his chair.
Available soon on Amazon and at The Wild Rose Press