Beauty Restored Excerpt

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Excerpt from Chapter Six
Carmen breathed in the fresh scent of mountain air and exhaled slowly. She enjoyed having the mornings to herself while the teens were busy with their classes. Art activities didn’t start until after lunch time.
Usually she found other ways to chip in and help around the camp. However, today she took advantage of the cool weather and hiked to the top of the hill overlooking the camp.
After taking a seat in the grass, she opened her sketch pad. With a few precise flicks of her wrist, Carmen outlined the mountains in the distance and the trees that adorned them.
She stopped to take a drink from her can of orange pop and frowned at her work. Black and white didn’t do the scene any justice. Carmen longed for paints and a paintbrush but knew that was almost impossible. It would take ages to lug all the art supplies up the steep hill.
Carmen shrugged the thought away and started sketching the glass chapel that peeked out through the trees.
She paused again, remembering how it looked up close. It was a shame that it needed so much work but wondered if Andrew was right. Maybe it could be restored.
His words from the other day weaved through her memory. I’ve seen God restore my life. Why not a chapel?
She smiled and flipped a page in her sketch pad. In no time the dark hair, angular jaw line and dimple in his left cheek, appeared on the page. Then she got to those stunning eyes that held so much charm and wisdom at the same time. She’d never seen eyes quite like his.
She rubbed her chin, trying to remember. Were his eyes blue? No. More like pale gray.
“Enjoying the beautiful morning?”
Carmen jerked her head up and gasped at the sight of Andrew hopping out of his golf cart.
She swept back to the page with the mountain scene and tried to act normal. “Yeah, it’s nice to have a little break.” She continued looking down at her sketch pad and started adding some details to the mountains and trees.
Andrew looked over her shoulder. “That’s really good.”
She blushed and ran her fingers through her long wavy hair. “Oh, it’s nothing fancy. Just for fun.”
He sat beside her on the ground. “No, really. You’re very talented, Carmen.”
Butterflies flitted around in her stomach, liking the sound of her name coming from his lips. “Thanks.” She closed the sketch pad and smiled at him. “So, what are you up to?”
“Well, actually I’m making a run into town with Kyle in a few minutes. I’m planning to get that glaze you need while we’re out.”
Her eyes lit up. “Really? You found a place that sells it?”
“Yeah, you lucked out. There’s an art store about twenty minutes away. The only problem is … I have no idea what I’m looking for.” A light chuckle escaped his mouth—a sound that made her heart tap out a funny little jig. “I was kinda hoping you might come along and spare me the embarrassment of wandering around the store, looking like a goof.”
Carmen’s eyes twinkled, excited that he’d invited her somewhere. “Sure. When are we leaving?”
He took out his phone and checked the time. “As soon as possible. We need to get back before lunch.” He motioned toward his golf cart. “Care for a ride down the hill in my chariot?”
She chuckled and gathered her art supplies, enjoying his light-hearted sense of humor. After their little hike up to the chapel, she wasn’t nervous to talk to him anymore. It felt effortless and fun. Carmen found herself wishing she had the courage to talk to other people like that.
She got in beside him and drew in a sharp breath when her arm brushed against his. Did he feel the same electricity between them as she did?


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