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The Cozy Quilt Shop

The Cozy Quilt Shop

The Cottages on Anchor Lane, BOOK 3

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 160 5-Star Reviews

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Shona Milligan makes beautiful quilts, stitched with love, for her eager customers. After a tragic accident six years ago, she has rebuilt her life and is creating a brighter future for herself and her son.

When she sees the cottages on Anchor Lane being remodeled into small businesses, she’s intrigued by their pretty exteriors and unlimited potential. Risking everything she owns, she signs the lease on the third cottage and opens a quilting store like no other.

Joseph Adams is passionate about the tiny home revolution taking Montana by storm. He works tirelessly to provide safe and warm houses for people who would otherwise be homeless. He’s happy with his life and proud of his young daughter, but something is missing. And he’s too scared to face what it is.

After a bitter divorce, the last thing he wants is to be attracted to another woman. When he meets Shona, the walls around his heart start to crumble. She’s everything he never expected to find. But with joy comes pain, and Joseph doesn’t know if he can ever give his heart to another woman.

Chapter One Look Inside

Shona sat at her sewing machine surrounded by stacks of quilting fabric and spools of thread. She loved nothing more than being at home in the peaceful solitude of her sewing room where she could lose herself in the hum of the machine and the soothing repetition of her needle moving up and down.

For her, quilting was more than a hobby or a way to pass the time. Over the last couple of years, it had become her primary source of income. Between two part-time jobs, she stitched and planned projects for customers who contacted her after seeing the quilts she sold at The Christmas Shop and on her website. 

If she was ever short of inspiration, all she had to do was look through the window and take in the glorious view of the tall spruce, oak, and pine trees growing on the edge of her Montana property. 

Each day in Sapphire Bay was a blessing. Especially when her son was home from college.

“Do you know where my backpack’s gone, Mom?” Nate, her nineteen-year-old son, stood in the doorway. When he saw what she was working on, he smiled. “I can’t believe you’re already doing the topstitching. Kylie only had her baby a week ago.”

“I’ve been working on her quilt for a while. Your backpack’s beside the kitchen counter.”

“Thanks.” He turned to leave and then stopped. “Are you going to the tiny home village this morning?”

“Not to the village, but I am going to the old steamboat museum. Do you want me to drop something off on my way through town?”

Nate shook his head. “It’s okay. I’ll see Pastor John tonight.”

Each Friday night, Shona volunteered at The Welcome Center. When Nate was home from college, he went with her. Sometimes, they peeled potatoes or made large pans of lasagna. On other evenings they set up the dining room, cleaned the kitchen, or helped make beds in the accommodation wing for unexpected guests. 

It didn’t matter which jobs they were allocated, it was their way of giving back to a community that had given them so much.

“Be careful on the road.” 

“I will. I’ll see you after I’ve finished work.”

After he left, she changed the decorative stitch she was using and followed the edge of the fabric. The pink and purple quilt would look pretty on the cradle Kylie and Ben had rescued from the top of their barn.

With a contented sigh, she planned the rest of her day. After she finished this row, she’d prepare some fabric for a quilt she was making for a customer. And, after that, she’d take two quilts into the old steamboat museum for the tiny homes that were almost finished. 

She may be just one person sitting in a small room with a sewing machine but, through her quilts, she was able to touch the lives of so many others. And, for her, that was the greatest gift of all.

* * *

Joseph lifted a sheet of drywall into place with an apprentice who was helping to build the tiny homes. Henry was a good kid who’d had a rough start in life. With the help of the local church, and the construction program Pastor John had started, he’d found something better than the life he’d known.  

“Make sure the drywall’s hard against the one beside it,” Joseph told him. “Otherwise, nothing will line up.”

“It’s tight.” Henry took the electric drill off his toolbelt and screwed the drywall into place.

The tiny home was going to a development that was based on what they were doing in Sapphire Bay. With chronic homelessness and rental affordability an issue in many towns, the tiny home project provided much-needed accommodation in communities across Montana.

When the sheet was secure, they picked up another and attached it to the wall. So far, they were on track to have three homes ready for plastering tomorrow morning. 

They both turned when someone knocked on the exterior wall. Joseph smiled at the woman standing in the doorway. He’d spoken to Shona Milligan a few times since he’d moved to Sapphire Bay. With red-brown hair, gray eyes, and a personality that was as genuine as her smile, she was one of the nicest people he’d met.

“Hi, Joseph. I’ve made two quilts for the homes you’ve finished. I was going to leave them in the office, but no one’s there.”

He looked at the folded fabric. “I’d offer to take them to the tiny homes, but I’ll get them dirty. I could show you where they need to go?”

“That’d be wonderful. Hi, Henry.”

“Hi, Mrs. Milligan. Will Nate be home later tonight?”

“He’ll be at The Welcome Center until eight o’clock, but home after that.”

“Thanks. I’ll text him to see if he wants a visitor.”

“That sounds great.”

After Henry went back to work, Joseph led Shona across the indoor construction area. “I’m surprised no one was at the reception desk.”

“I was, too. I signed the visitor sheet to let them know I’m here. How’s Adele?”

“She’s a typical eight-year-old. The programs at the church are keeping her busy while I’m working. Nate must be going back to college soon?”

“Next week. I’ll miss him after he leaves.”

Shona’s husband had died in a car accident a few years ago. Joseph didn’t know much about her life, but he’d met her son and was impressed by the quietly spoken teenager. “I’m assuming the quilts are for the homes going to the new site in Sapphire Bay?”

“That’s right. I thought I’d drop them off before the tiny homes leave here.”

“Good idea. Everything gets a little crazy after we move the houses.” Although a team of paid staff and volunteers built the homes, they were a community project. Everything, from the curtains and linens to the cutlery and plates, was either made or donated by people and businesses in town.

Joseph stopped outside the tiny home closest to the loading bay. With two bedrooms in the loft, a small bathroom, a kitchenette, and a living room, it was everything the new tenants would need to feel safe and comfortable.

He opened the front door and stepped inside. “The last time I saw this house was after it was painted. The curtains have made a big difference.”

“They look lovely. It’s nice to have some color in the room.” Shona left a quilt on top of some cushions and blankets. 

The house wouldn’t be completely furnished until it arrived on site. But anything they could add before then meant the new tenants could move in faster. 

“I’ve never asked why you donate so many quilts. They must take a long time to make.”

“They do, but the families who move into the tiny homes appreciate them.” She took another look around the house before leaving. “My grandma taught me how to sew when I was about your daughter’s age. We’d use scraps of fabric left over from the clothes she made. Whenever I make a quilt, it reminds me of her and the fun we had. What made you want to build the tiny homes?”

He hadn’t told many people why he volunteered. Most thought it was because he enjoyed building, but that was only part of the answer. “I went through a difficult divorce. When I moved to Sapphire Bay with Adele, I needed something to take my mind off what was happening. Pastor John asked if I wanted to help, and I said yes.”

“Well, I’m glad you did. You’re making a difference in many people’s lives.” 

Shona’s gentle smile made the tension in his shoulders disappear. “I hope so.” He opened the next tiny home’s front door, and she left the second quilt beside some blankets. “I’ll see you at The Welcome Center tonight. Adele’s singing with the choir after dinner.”

“Good for her. The choir always sounds amazing.”

“They’re already planning what they’ll sing in the Christmas carol competition.”

Shona’s eyes widened. “Christmas is still four months away.”

“That’s what you get for coming second in last year’s competition. They want to win this one.”

“Let me know if they need anyone to make cookies for the audience. I have a great shortbread recipe that melts in your mouth.”

Joseph laughed. “I’ll tell Mabel.” 

Since the first competition, the choir directors had tried to influence the voting by providing snacks for the audience. Gingerbread men, homemade candy canes, fudge, and even snowmen made from chocolate-coated marshmallows had made their way into the competition. Not to be outdone, Mabel had decided to find the perfect Christmas treats. 

In easy silence, they walked across the concrete floor to the main entrance. Shona stopped in front of the reception desk. Picking up a pen, she quickly signed out of the visitor book. “Thanks for showing me where the houses are.”

“You’re welcome. Have a good day.” Joseph stood in the doorway and watched her leave. 

Everyone he’d met had come to Sapphire Bay for different reasons. Why they stayed was an entirely different matter. Shona could have moved anywhere after her husband died, but she chose to live in the same small town where she’d raised her son. 

Whether that was by choice or if it was easier than leaving, he didn’t know. And maybe it didn’t matter. 

Fans of Netflix’s Virgin River series and Steel Magnolias will love this small-town, feel-good romance!

The last thing Shona wants is to be attracted to a man with a heart more damaged than hers. But fate and a quilting shop have a different plan in store for her. A heartwarming story about love and second chances!

     “All the books in this series had me holding my breath with each turn of a page. Five stars!”

    ★ "I couldn't help but fall in love with this sweet small-town romance!"

    ★ "The quaint town setting and lovable characters make this book a winner."

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