Once I get the final edit back I'll be formatting for the print and Large Print versions. Until I know the final page count I'm unable to do that. This may delay the print books availability for a short while.
In the meantime, here's a snippet from Chloe's Sanctuary.
“Would you like a donut and coffee?” It was the voice that caused his chest to ache.
Straightening from his crouch, McIlroy stood and looked at her. “Thank you.”
She was tall and thin. Thinner than he thought she should be. Her hair was shiny black, piled up in that way women did. Her oval face framed large dark eyes. So dark he couldn’t tell if they were a deep blue or brown. She lifted the tray of donuts urging him to take one.
“McIlroy,” Leah’s voice broke through his paralysis. “This is Mrs. Chloe Ashburn. She’s new in town.”
McIlroy wiped his sweaty hand on his britches and carefully picked up one donut between two fingers and his thumb. Leah poured a mug of coffee and handed it to him. “Pleased to meet you, ma’am.”
McIlroy didn’t have a clue what to say so he took a bite of his donut, getting sugar around his mouth and down his shirt. Not able to brush it off because his hands were full, he licked around his mouth.
Chloe cleared her throat and looked at the ground. McIlroy hoped he didn’t look as dumb as he felt. It was as if he was sixteen again. This wasn’t good. He wasn’t interested in her. He’d had a woman before and he didn’t think he wanted one again. But she sure was pretty.
“Mama, can I have a donut?” It was a little girl asking. She was cute. Black hair like her mother, but with big bright blue eyes. A tightness came around his heart.
“May I have a donut?” Chloe corrected.
“Okay, May I have one?”
Chloe leaned down so the girl could take one from the tray. “Here you go. Mr. McIlroy, this is my daughter Lil-Pen. Lil-Pen this is Mr. McIlroy.”
Lil-Pen gave a small curtsy. “Pleased to make your quaintness.”
McIlroy smiled at the pretty little thing. His heart hurt but he kept his smile clear. “Pleased to meet you, too. So you like donuts, huh?”
“Yes sir. Almeda makes the bestest donuts.”
Several other men came up at the moment. Their intent was donuts and an introduction to the pretty Mrs. Ashburn. McIlroy backed away and turned to look over the crowd milling around the school yard. They’d been working for a couple of hours and were taking a break.
Not only was the day’s purpose to raise the school building but also to introduce the ladies living in Sanctuary House to more of the community. That’s the way Pastor Preston had explained it anyway. McIlroy took that to mean for the women to meet the men of Stones Creek and the surrounding area.
Everyone knew the reason the women and children were here was to provide wives for the men. This event was a perfect way to begin that process.
McIlroy set his coffee mug down on a pile of boards and brushed the sugar off his shirt. He’d do well to stay away from all the women. Mrs. Chloe Ashburn especially. She reminded him too much of his past. Not that she was similar in looks or physical form, but how that form made him feel.