He looked at her with one eyebrow raised. “Yes, there is. But you asked me what I thought, and I think if the flower right above the cardinal had been brought down some—maybe a quarter of an inch—it would have enhanced the dimension.”

Beth set her jaw, wishing she could return to the days when all he said was Hi.

Nudging her with his elbow, he grinned. “I made you mad.”

She jerked away. “I’m not mad!” But even she recognized the irritation in her voice. Taking a deep breath, she said through gritted teeth, “Thank you for your opinion. I’ll take it under advisement if I choose to duplicate this piece. Now. . .” Tipping her head, she pushed her long ponytail over her shoulder. “What are you doing here again? I thought you went home.”

He shrugged. “I came back to do that soldering. But I guess I don’t need to.”

She grinned, satisfaction filling her as she looked once more at the cardinal. “Nope. You don’t.” Much work went into the completion of a stained-glass project, but Beth enjoyed each step of the process, from drawing the design to adding the reinforcement bars that prevented buckling of the leaded-glass piece. Yes, whether creative or structural, she relished every facet of stained-glass art.

With the tip of her gloved finger, she traced the line of soldered zinc that bordered the cardinal’s wing. She shook her head, chuckling to herself. Never would she have thought when she made the journey from Cheyenne, Wyoming, a little over a year ago that she would stay in Kansas. Her goal had been simple—sell off the unexpected inheritance from her great-aunt, collect as many antiques as possible from the Old Order Mennonite community citizens, and return to Cheyenne to open an antiques boutique.

But those three months in Sommerfeld had turned everything upside down.

Clamping her hands around the edges of the glass, she lifted the scene from its perch on the windowsill. She grunted with the effort. The piece was larger than any others she’d made so far and heavy from the metal that bordered each glass segment. Andrew reached for it, but she shook her head.

“I can do it.” She shuffled across the floor to the display bench along the back wall of her small studio. Sweat broke out across her forehead and between her shoulder blades. Once the scene was secured behind the wood strip that kept the finished pieces from sliding, she wiped her forehead and sent Andrew a triumphant grin. “See?”

His frown let her know he wished she would let him handle the heavier tasks, but Beth was determined not to depend on Andrew too much. Beth was determined not to depend on anyone too much.

She offered a suggestion. “As long as you’re here, you could put
away the shipment of glass that came this morning.”

Andrew shrugged and turned toward the crate in the corner. Beth removed her gloves and put them in the top drawer of her storage cabinet. This cabinet is really too pretty to simply house supplies, she thought as she ran her hand over the smooth pine top. Two of her mother’s cousins had built the cabinet for her, varying the sizes of the drawers and inserting dividers to keep everything organized. A quick glance around the steel building that served as her studio brought a second rush of appreciation. Watching the building go up in one day, reminiscent of an old-fashioned barn raising, had been thrilling—and scary.

She still marveled at the support she’d received from the community after their initial mistrust. Yet she realized their willingness to help didn’t indicate approval of her. Since she hadn’t joined their meetinghouse, she was still an “outsider.” But Mom had rejoined, so they offered their newly claimed member’s wayward daughter a helping hand. And now that they’d all had a hand in getting her studio up and running, she felt a real obligation to make it a success.