Blue (For The Love of Purple #2) - Audrey Faye

Chapter One

“If I ever build a castle, there will be no princesses allowed.” Blue, age 9.


This town is so weird. I’ve fought my whole adult life to be accepted as a girl with a hammer. Now that it’s happened, I’m not sure what to do with myself.

Not that I had anything to do with it. If there were any sexist idiots in Perception Bay, Gracie dealt with them long before I got here. I look over at the woman on the other end of the porch railing we’re installing. I could do the job alone and so could she, but it would take longer, and we don’t want Miss Andy wandering off the edge of her porch.

I’ve only been here for a month, but even I know that Miss Andy is treasure.

Gracie eyes the alignment and nods decisively. “That should do it.”

She measures three times and uses four-inch screws once, just like I do. She hasn’t got my same itch to build things, but she likes fixing them. Which is balancing out nicely. I hand off some jobs to her, she passes some on to me. Between us, we might manage to keep this town in working condition.

Until Hamish sits on someone’s porch railing again, anyhow. Apparently it took Miss Andy almost ten minutes to stop laughing long enough to give me a call.

I use the toe of my work boot to nudge my drill in Gracie’s direction. We don’t normally share tools, but she came out to help load the lumber for the new porch railing and decided Miss Andy’s porch was a more fun place to be than the inside of her hardware store.

I can’t blame her—the sun on my face feels really good.

I hold the railing out of the way so that she can drill holes for the last of the hidden hardware. One more section after this and we’ll be done. Hamish didn’t sit on that one, but I never do half a job when the whole one is going to look light years better.

Gracie does a test fit and sets down the drill. “Your end in first or mine?”

I can’t count the number of sites I’ve worked on over the years where something that simple has turned into a pissing contest. “Mine, I think. You’ve got more space over there for both of us to work if we need to.” We won’t. She’s as obsessed about precision as I am.

She nods agreeably and sits back on her heels.

I slide my end in against a porch column that’s lived through five of my lifetimes and is still standing strong. “Can you send Trina over later to do the touch-up painting?” She’s one of the teenagers who works in the hardware store part-time, and she keeps dropping by my jobs on her way home.

Gracie raises a silent eyebrow.

I roll my eyes. She knows darn well why I’m asking. “She helped me out with some of the new door trim at the inn. I showed her a few tricks. She’ll do a good job.”

Gracie’s lips quirk. “She’ll squeak for days if she hears that. Your standards are already the stuff of legend.”

Trina’s a quiet kid with awkward limbs who patiently sanded acres of door trim and then sanded it again with her eyes closed to catch the small imperfections. “Hers are already pretty decent, and Miss Andy needs someone to feed who looks more hungry than we do.”

Gracie grins. “I can be hungry. Especially if she made her killer brownies.”

Those are also the stuff of legend. “Focus. I need to get this done. Violet’s making me go pottery shopping this afternoon.”

A quick tug and the second end of the railing snugs into place, almost like we know what we’re doing. “You could get even. Make her go stare at all the broken lamps in the thrift store or something.”

I snort. “She’d probably find one that was suffering from a broken heart and charm it until it agreed to shine forth its light again, and then I’d have another lamp in my living room.”

She taps on the railing with a rubber mallet. “You get all of the temperamental ones, do you?”

I get all of the things with a history of heartbreak. Violet says I need to be surrounded by reluctant resilience.

At least it’s not the annoyingly chirpy kind. There was way too much of that going on in Vancouver, and it wasn’t coming from inanimate objects. People have some really weird reactions to a dead marriage.

Then again, I still don’t