“You will not regret this. I will make you the happiest woman that ever lived.” He brought his lips to hers and kissed with the promise of what was to come. Pulling apart Alex lifted Soleil into his arms and stood rocking the tiny boat.
“Attendre! Wait!” Without heeding her protest Alex jumped over the side of the boat into the lake. They surfaced laughing while Alex held Soleil securely in his arms. Soleil pushed away and splashed water in his face.
“Who said that I wanted to be wet?” Alex swam towards her only for Soleil to swim away.
“I thought it would be a great relief from this summer heat.” Soleil lay back floating across the water looking up at the sky.
“A great relief it is. But now my clothes are soaked through and I will not be able to go home like this.” Alex swam up next to her and ran a hand from her legs all the way up her body resting it on her breast.
“Then let us go back to shore and take our clothes off. So they can hang and dry of course.” Soleil saw the storm of desire in his eyes and was excited that he wanted her so badly.
“Yes, let us.”
Jane ran as fast as she could. She refused to be caught by Jacob and his men even if she had to die trying to escape. Between the gash across her stomach and the small load on her back she was moving slowly in her progression, but she would not give up. She had to find a river and soon to conceal her scent. With her wound bleeding harder under the strain of her physical exertion, the bloodhounds had no problem keeping track of her.
“Maman, I’m scared.” Jane reached around her back to sooth her daughter. “I will not let you come to any harm mon amour.” Jane knew the little girl was scared beyond belief. She had seen the beatings Jacob had given Jane and knew that if he caught them there would be hell to pay. Jacob and his men were getting closer with each passing second and it wouldn’t be long before they were caught. Jane couldn’t let anything happen to Hope and had to keep her safe. With a look over her shoulder Jane made a decision.
Baldwin, Alabama – May 15, 1821
Soleil held onto her mother’s hand as they made their way up the large front steps behind her father. She looked around at the home they were about to enter marveling at the beauty of the structure. The style was very different from homes back in her village in Chartres, France. Her young perception made the large white house seem as if it stretched on for miles. Each of its three levels had a porch that wrapped around the entire home. A two seat porch swing hung on the second level near the homes main entrance. Soleil hoped that she would have the chance to sit and rock in it. The heat was a little warmer than she was used to and she hoped the swing would create a nice breeze against her skin.
This was her first time in America and she continued to be amazed by everything she saw. Although she missed her friends back in France she was excited to see what life in America could offer. Currently, they were in Alabama as a part of her father’s trip throughout the south to secure contracts with cotton farmers. Her father, Dominique, marquis d’Chartes, ran a successful shipping company in France. He appointed his best man to run the company while he moved his family to America for a few years to try his hand in the textile business. The family moved to New York about a month before, when the textile factory was completed.