Chapter One

“You’re very talented, Sarah. I think you should consider having a show at one of the galleries in Grants Pass. Or do First Friday – there’s one coming up in a couple of weeks. Rogue Valley is proud of its artists, but they barely know about you.”

He turned the drawing back toward her, tapping the corner of the page.

“And this should be included in your show.”

“I’m sorry, Joe, I didn’t mean – ”

“Never be sorry for your talent, Sarah.” He laid down the dish towel he’d been drying his hands on and cupped her cheek for a brief second. “You’ve spent too much of your life apologizing. Stop already.”

He smiled, for a moment dispelling the ever-present shadows in his eyes, and then playfully snapped the dish towel at her. “It’s not your fault.”

“This drawing is my fault.”

“Your heart saw my sorrow and your hand drew it. That’s honesty. I am a sad man. But I won’t always be.”

“Gus says I should practice restraint in my art when it comes to family members.”

Josef made a pffft! sound and waved away her remark. “Gus is such a lawyer sometimes.” He grinned at her and ducked into the pantry, which if cleared out could serve as a spacious extra bedroom.

Sarah looked back at her drawing. Her pencil had captured the sorrow in Josef’s face, yes, but perhaps it had also captured a bit of his hope as well. Maybe the inn had done that for him, as it had done it for her when she was a small child, and again just five years ago when she had married Gus.

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