Searching for Sara | Heart of the Blessed, #1
Today is another Teaser Tuesday from my first inspirational romance, Searching for Sara, as it travels around the ‘net on a Book Launch Blog Tour.
About the Book
Sara Little has ached to live in America. But being born of a single mother in London’s working class, she could only dream. Then, scrawled in hasty intensity, Sara receives an invitation to America. Drawn to the possibility of a new beginning, she follows God’s whisper and steps forward into the unknown. But more awaits than the realization of her dreams.
Sara’s benefactor is handsome widower Christopher Lake, a philanthropist dedicated to helping the less fortunate redefine their future. Though devastated by the loss of his wife, he dedicates himself to her last request: To provide Sara the means for a brighter future.
Sara’s first public display of her charcoal and pencil sketches is a success. Now, in answer to her request, Christopher is about to give Sara her first lesson in the watercolor medium.
“Dix, why don’t you warm your attitude with a cup of Emily’s special roast while I introduce Sara to her work-station. Take your time. I’m sure my student won’t miss you.”
Something different shined in his expression, something Sara didn’t remember seeing before. “I canno’ thank you enough for offering.” Each word tumbled over itself, her insides fluttering with nervous exhilaration. “I do no’ care how difficult, I will do my best, and do all my studies, and read whatever you want for me to read. I just want to paint as well as you do.”
A smile teased his lips. “I see.”
“Your sister had herself a miniature you painted of yourself for one of your classes at the college. And Mr. Paul? He had a watercolor of Monument Avenue you done and did no’ care for. They showed them to me yesterday when I balked whether or not I wanted to come.”
Christopher’s hazel eyes twinkled down at her, arms crossed as he nodded along with her statements.
“Not that I did no’ think you wonderfully talented. I know you are – I have a feeling on things like that – but will I be a very good student? I have no’ been a student before, and I did no’ want to annoy you with silly mistakes that even Gwyn would no’ do. But then your sister and Mr. Paul said that it’s fine for students to make mistakes.”
He laughed. “Your enthusiasm is appreciated. Let us put it to good use.”
“Ah ah. I might be your instructor, but rules remain the same.” He motioned to the easel and paper, directing her focus with a hand on her shoulder. “This is an experimental area for right now. I only need you to do simple brush strokes with the different styles of brushes so that you can get your fingers, hands, and wrists familiar with their feel. Then we’ll add some paints so you can get accustomed to the friction of paint, brush, and paper.”
Sara nodded, eyes wide.
“Now.” He retrieved one of the small brushes from the easel’s tray. “These are made of horse hair, so they’re a bit firm, but not so much as to give you much of a fight. The larger ones are of the more coarse hair, for texture and backgrounds and the like. Here. Try this.”
Sara took it from him, hesitant, her eyes focused on the dark brown of the bristles.
Christopher chuckled. “No need to be fearful, my dear. Tickle the paper a few times.”
Her uncertain expression melted to a smile as she focused to the blank piece of paper. Once she felt and heard the first cautious swish, she retreated.
“No fear, Sara.” He covered her hand with his and guided a few more certain strokes across the paper. When his hand enveloped hers yet again, Sara blinked at the touch. “Note how the grain of the paper effects the bristles? Let us try another brush. One more firm.” He released her long enough to gather one of the larger brushes.
“Do you feel the added resistance?”
Sara nodded, wide eyes unable to look away from their shared touch. She tilted her head.
“Question?” Christopher released his hold, leaving a lingering warmth and impression of a gentle grip.
“Not just yet.” Her eyebrows furrowed as she thought back—
“Then let’s give something a try.”
Sara blinked and turned to look at him. His handsome face seemed brighter as he gathered a watercolor palette. Then he adjusted a small cup of water in the tray of the easel and met her gaze, his hazel eyes clear of any shadow. He helped position the palette within her hands, directing fingers and holds alike, and turned her again to face the easel.
Christopher directed her brush to the cup of water. “The trick with watercolors, in my opinion, is to use the water itself to manipulate the clarity or vagueness of the paint. It all depends upon the mood you wish to convey.” He guided Sara’s hand and the brush along the paper with gentle strokes, the sound much like a whisper for attention.
“Oh. I like that.” Sara continued with the gentle strokes until very little color transferred from brush to paper.
“You like which? The feel or the sound?”
Sara beamed over her left shoulder at him. “Yes.”
He chuckled. “That’s fine then. Now, take stock of what you have there. Only a bit of blue. Is that enough for what you want? Or do you think it needs more?”
Sara looked to the soft and dreamy strokes of blue against white. “I… I do no’ know.”
“Well, let’s continue on.” His warm hold surrounded her hand to direct it to water and then paint. “Then we’ll see what comes about.”
But the picture didn’t become much more than blues and greens, an experiment with a new media and the different types of strokes it offered. Sara allowed herself to be taught, enjoying it more than anything in her life.
Christopher’s patience reminded her of her mother, encouraging her with new things and allowing a retreat to the familiar to make a habit. Neither took notice that Dix never arrived from her retrieval of coffee.