Hummingbird Lake Page 0,1

relaxed smile upon her face. She had gorgeous silver-gray hair and youthful, sky-blue eyes. This morning she wore a stylish bright red jacket, and gold earrings shaped like angel’s wings dangled from her ears.

Sage relaxed. When she grew up, she wanted to be just like Celeste. The woman was the kindest, friendliest, smartest, and most active senior Sage had ever met. She rode a Honda Gold Wing motorcycle for fun, watched DVDs of The Mary Tyler Moore Show for entertainment, and never missed a Sunday at church or failed to give her opinion about the preacher’s sermon. It had been her idea to turn the Cavanaugh House estate into Angel’s Rest Healing Center and Spa, and construction alone had already proved a boon to the economically depressed town even before today’s official opening.

The townspeople loved Celeste for doing her part in rescuing Eternity Springs. Sage loved Celeste for herself. In many ways, she was the mother and the grandmother Sage had never had.

She opened her door with a smile. “Celeste. What brings you out this way?”

“The Landrys offered their vacation home as an overflow facility for the center, and since we’re packed to the rafters with the grand opening, we’ll need to use it tonight.”

The Landrys were a lovely family from Texas who owned the only other house on Reflection Point, the narrow little peninsula where Sage lived. “I wanted to stop and drop off a little welcome basket,” the older woman continued. “When I saw your light, I decided to come beg a cup of coffee.”

“I’m glad you did. I was about to toast a bagel. Care to join me?”

“Actually …” Celeste held up the tote bag. “I happen to have breakfast fixings with me. Care if I make myself at home in your kitchen?”

Sage blinked. “That’s fine with me, but, with the grand opening, aren’t you swamped?”

“Everything’s under control, and frankly, with all the hustle and bustle, I’m glad to have a few moments of peace and quiet out here at Hummingbird Lake. I have bacon, eggs, a loaf of bread for toast, and a jar of homemade strawberry jam.”

“That sounds much better than a bagel.” Sage eyed the bag appreciatively. “Tell you what. My stovetop is persnickety when it comes to heat regulation. You have to talk to it just right. Why don’t you let me man the frying pan while you handle the toaster?”

Celeste’s blue eyes twinkled. “An excellent plan.”

Sage took the tote bag and led Celeste through the cozy little cottage to the kitchen, where the women went to work. Their conversation centered around the two main events of the day, but when they sat down to eat, Celeste sipped her coffee and introduced a new subject. “How are you feeling, Sage? You look a bit tired.”

She attempted a dodge. “I got up early and painted a gift for Nic and Gabe.”

“That’s nice,” Celeste said. “Although I’m sure they wouldn’t have wanted you to miss sleep because of it. This wedding is a last-minute thing, after all.”

“Actually, a nightmare woke me up. I couldn’t get back to sleep.” Sage set down her knife, surprised at herself for admitting the truth. She never talked about the nightmares.

“Oh, you poor thing.” Celeste clucked her tongue. “I’m so sorry. Does that happen often?”

“No, not really.” Sage took a bite of jam-slathered toast and realized that something about Celeste invited confidences. She was simply so easy to talk to. After savoring the flavor of springtime in the jam, she swallowed, sipped her juice, then added, “Since I moved to Eternity Springs, I sleep pretty well. I think the mountain air is magic.”

“Eternity Springs is special,” Celeste agreed. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This valley nurses a special energy that soothes troubled souls—if those souls open their hearts and minds to the possibilities.”

Sage couldn’t argue against it. Heaven knows the town had been working its magic on her these past few years. She’d been a basket case, running away from life as she knew it, when she literally arrived at a crossroads on a Colorado mountain road and turned left, ending up in Eternity Springs.

She couldn’t explain it to anyone—she couldn’t explain it to herself—but she’d known in her bones that the left turn had been the rightest turn of her life. Call it instinct or intuition or a message from her very own angel, but Sage had understood that she was meant to live and work in Eternity Springs, at least for a little while.