Read Sculpting Grace: A Light Romance Novel (Art of Grace Book 2) Online
Authors: Samantha Westlake
Mailing list - don't miss out!
Other Works by Samantha Westlake
Copyright 2016 Samantha Westlake
All rights reserved.
Book design by Samantha Westlake
Cover Image Copyright 2016
Used under a Creative Commons Attribution License:
Adult content warning: All characters are legal and fully consenting adults and are not blood relations.
You paid for this ebook. Want one for free?
Sign up for my mailing list, and I'll give you another full-length novel, filled with mystery, romance, and sexy twists and turns, entirely for FREE!
A Billion Little Clues
Melinda Gaines, overworked personal assistant, is cursed with permanently bad luck. Her boss keeps making unreasonable demands, and no guy has seen the inside of her apartment in
But when Melinda is sent to a party at the CEO's house, she ends up on a romantic, moonlit balcony with an unnervingly handsome stranger. Melinda is convinced that her run of bad luck is over.
That is, until she finds that her latest crush is being accused of murder...
Want it? Click here to sign up and get it now, or copy the following link into your browser:
My subscribers are the first to hear about my latest novels, and get unique sale opportunities, as well as a chance to read advance copies - all for free! Sign up now!
The real-life Salem is orange, not black, but just as fat and lazy. Big ol' fur potato.
Wandering down the little streets, occasionally hearing the click of a bicycle as it sped past in the bike lane beside her, April Henderson couldn't remember the last time she'd felt so happy, so content. This little town of Davis had turned out to be an even better cute little vacation spot than she'd imagined when she signed up for the two-day trip!
So many adorable little shops, she noted approvingly to herself as she walked down the sidewalk, her legs still strong and spry despite her sixty-eight years of age. None of these big chain restaurants that seemed to be taking over everywhere as of late. Each of these little stores looked unique, and she could just imagine the proprietors standing behind their counters, waiting to sell their goods to a more wholesome kind of people.
Briefly, April wondered if there was a senior center here. Not that she'd seriously consider moving from her native Arizona, especially not at this point, with her granddaughter at such a young and impressionable age, and her daughter and son-in-law still stressed. This was, after all, their first child, and they didn't have the same comfort and experience that she possessed. She had to be there for them.
Still, that didn't mean that she was forbidden from giving herself a little present, a weekend away in this adorably cute little California town that her friend Patrice had raved about so much. She'd rolled her eyes before, but now she understood why Patrice couldn't stop talking about "that little gem of a town."
The heat was quite something, though, April noted a minute later. She did her best to keep out of the direct afternoon sun as she walked along the downtown sidewalks, but the whole town was sweltering. She felt like she was gazing into her open oven, about to pull a loaf of banana bread out from inside.
Hopefully, she thought to herself, the owners of these adorable little shops had heard of air conditioning.
A few steps ahead, a sandwich-board sign propped up on the sidewalk caught her attention. "Halesford Gallery - Fine Local Art, World Renowned," April read off, squinting to make out the words without her reading glasses.
Yes, that sounded like a fine little place - and after all, she still needed a souvenir to bring back. Something she could flaunt in front of Patrice and the other girls at the senior center.
Making up her mind, April took a sharp turn, heading into the gallery.
A couple stairs led up to the interior, but April managed these with the help of the wrought-iron railing. Thankfully, a blast of cool, much more comfortable air swept out over her face as she opened the door, and she sighed with relief as she stepped inside.
Inside, April blinked for a moment, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the relative dimness after coming in from the bright sun outside. As her perception returned, she saw a large desk sitting in front of her, with two people behind it.
"Hello there!" called out a bright female voice. It was coming from a young woman sitting behind the desk, who now rose up to her feet to greet April. "Welcome to the Halesford Gallery!"
"Thank you, dear," April replied, blinking a couple times as she turned her attention to the speaker. The young woman (in her early thirties, April guessed, but she considered anyone who hadn't been through menopause to be "young") smiled, brushing back a few strands of errant brown hair. She leaned forward and gestured around at the interior.
"There are four rooms, and they all have a selection of art from local artists on display," the young woman continued. "If you have questions about any of the pieces, please don't hesitate to come ask me - I'm Becca Grace, the gallery's manager. I'm more than happy to answer any of your questions."
What a nice woman, April thought to herself. Proper respect for her customers, greeting me individually. April carefully didn't consider herself as an "elder", but she still felt like young people should be giving her respect for her age, and this woman seemed properly deferential.
April transferred her gaze over to the other person behind the counter, and thoughts of respect fled her head. The man behind the counter looked... well, if April was twenty or thirty years younger, she'd be twirling her hair around her finger and beaming at him, trying to spot if he was wearing a wedding ring. He wore a suit perfectly tailored to his broad shoulders, with no tie and the collar open at the neck in an attitude of relaxed casualness.
"Hi," April stammered as she looked at the man, suddenly feeling like she'd traveled back in time, an awkward teenager once again.
"Hi there," he smiled back at her, showing off perfectly even, gorgeous teeth. "Like Becca said, let her know if you need any help."
April nodded, dragging her eyes away from the man with an effort. He hadn't introduced himself, she realized. For a moment, she felt a deep pang of envy directed towards Becca - why did this other woman have her youth and beauty still, while April had to deal with new wrinkles every time she looked in the mirror?
Moving past the front desk of the gallery, she tried to focus instead on the art. Most of it seemed fairly dull; pastoral painting scenes, several large oil paintings of cows, for some reason, jewelry that was either too dull to grab her eye or too expensive for her limited trip budget.
In the third of the gallery's four rooms, however, she caught sight of a group of small sculptures, shaped and worked from some sort of black stone, that made her do a double take.
Hesitantly, she edged forward and reached out to pick up one of them, feeling its weight in her hands. Was this some sort of joke? She turned and looked over towards the front desk of the gallery; the four rooms formed a square, so she could see both Becca and her incredibly handsome male companion through the open archway.
After a second, Becca caught April looking over, and moved out from behind the desk towards the senior citizen. "Ah, you've found some of Onyx's works!" she called out.
"Onyx?" April echoed. With a start, she realized that she was still holding the little eight-inch or so tall sculpture - by the shaft, no less! She jerked and nearly dropped the damn thing before recovering and placing it quickly back on the little white stand next to its fellows.
"Yes, he's probably our biggest celebrity at the gallery," Becca continued, moving up to stand beside April and gaze down at the array of little statues. "He does very powerful sculptures, doesn't he? He works to really challenge what draws the eye, what we find attractive and gravitate towards because of millions of years of social cues."
"Of course, I see that," April nodded, still distracted by the sight of the statues. "And, er, all his works are like these?"
Becca shrugged. "He's working on a new set of pieces featuring the female form, but the real focus is on his skill at working with the stone. He uses family tools that have been passed down from father to son for generations, and comes from a long line of stonecutters."
For a moment longer, Becca remained proper - but then, when April glanced disbelieving over at her once again, she let a little smile crack across her features.
"You've got pretty much the same expression I did when I first saw his particular type of artwork," she confessed, shaking her head. "I'm still not sure if I need to put up a sign of some sort, warning mothers with small children not to let them roam free in here, for fear that they might have some mental scarring."