Chapter One

Tucking the pencil behind her ear, she closed the sketchbook and let Gus tug her to her feet. He stole a kiss as she came upright, and she let him – pregnancy hadn’t stolen her passion for her husband – and they walked hand-in-hand back to the inn, Gus carrying her sketchpad under his arm so she could drink her coffee.

The wild meadow gave way to the landscaped grounds of the inn. Sarah hesitated at the back door, looking over the sun-kissed countryside. The only sounds were bird calls, the buzz of bees in the nearby gardens, and chatter of a squirrel in the pine tree out front. She breathed in deep a lungful of peace, closed the door on the past, and followed her husband inside.

 

Taking advantage of Benjamin’s midmorning nap, she sketched Josef as he cleaned the kitchen, capturing his flurry of movement and somehow translating onto paper the economy of movement that marked him as a master chef. The kitchen clean, he moved on to making bread dough for the inn’s famous cinnamon rolls. Frannie and Sam Harrison would arrive tomorrow with their daughter, Noelle, who seemed destined to be an only child. They’d stay two days, and then Sarah would have another couple of days of mad sketching before the inn filled with the first guests of the season.

While Josef kneaded the sticky dough, she added color to the sketch, bringing it to life with her Derwent colored pencils. What emerged made her hesitant to show him, although she knew hiding it would be futile. He knew she was drawing him, and he’d want to see.

Sure enough, after covering the dough and leaving it in a warm corner of the kitchen, he cleaned his hands and sauntered over, craning his head for a peek at the drawing.

“Whatcha got for me, Sarah?”

Silently, she turned the sketch toward him. He studied it for a moment, and then fixed her with eyes that were just a shade lighter than Gus’s. Her husband’s oldest sibling was a tolerant man, but this sketch seemed too close to an invasion of his privacy.

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