Blue (For The Love of Purple #2) - Audrey Faye Page 0,1

really know how to feel about it, either. Porch railings are easier. I know what those need to feel whole again.

Gracie glances my way, her eyes full of questions.

I ignore the questions and tap a few of the supports for the top rail. None of them budge. They all got measured three times, too. “I think we’re good. Got time to help me with the last section?”

“Yup.” Gracie pushes up to her feet, stroking the finished railing as she heads for the one that’s still lying down. “I have time to listen to whatever puts that look in your eyes, too. If you don’t talk soon, someone in this town is going to sit on you until you do.”

I roll my eyes. I’ve spent most of my life entirely content to have two friends. This town is bound and determined to add at least half a dozen to their number. “I’m not scared of Hamish.”

Gracie waves a hand at the remnants of the broken railing. “You should be. He’s a menace.”

He’s a big man who stops by to see Miss Andy at least a couple of times a week, ostensibly so she can feed the dogs that tag along behind him. “He’s a good guy.”

A curious eyebrow. “Yeah, he is.”

I roll my eyes again. “Not interested. I’m done with guys, remember?” It’s a conversation we’ve had before, but Gracie listens almost as well as Indigo. Friends in new relationships can be really annoying. So can new friends, even if they have excellent hammer skills and seem perfectly happy with their solo life.

Gracie’s lips quirk as she makes a quick pencil mark on a column. “Naya got a delivery of hot summer romances if you need a couple of imaginary guys for good daydreaming material.”

My daydreams have always been about shining up old houses or building new ones. Which is maybe why I had no idea how to do the marriage thing. “I’ve been thinking about putting a clawfoot tub in the tower bathroom.”

She doesn’t ask which house. Friends who own hardware stores are handy that way. “It fits the period, but it might not be easy to get up there.”

That’s the understatement of the year. “I need to replace most of the staircase anyhow. I could take the whole thing out, use some pulleys to send up the tub before I put in the new stairs.”

She shoots me a surprised look. “You’d take out two stories of twisty staircase and put them back again just to get a clawfoot tub into a bathroom?”

She’s not a builder. “It would look good.”

“It would look fantastic.” Gracie picks up the drill. “I know a guy who finds old tubs and refinishes them.”

It’s hard to resist friends who know how to get their hands on exactly what you need. “That would be better than a reproduction.”

She grins. “Duh.”

She’s not a builder, but she knows how to enable one. “Will the price tag scare my client?”

She snorts. “Compared to what it will cost to knock out the staircase and rebuild it? Not likely.”

There are lots of costs in life. Some are money. Some are having to trek up and down an ugly staircase or a terrible marriage as it sandpapers your soul. “Can I steal Trina for the summer?”

Gracie grunts. “She’s my best re-stocker. She never forgets where anything goes.”

I test the fit on my end of the railing. This one is shorter, which should make it easier, but those are always the ones that jump out and bite you. “That’s good. She just got her license, so when she drives my truck back to town for supplies, she won’t need you to help her find everything.”

A sigh that Gracie clearly practices for her community-theater roles. “Is that how this is going to go? You’ll steal all of my best people as soon as I get them properly trained?”

I grin. “Yup.”

She picks up the padded hammer. “Yeah, you can have her. I’ve been taking her along on a few jobs, but her heart wants the kind of work that you do.”

Trina is a builder, awkward limbs and all. “She’s got a good eye and patience. She’ll be useful.”

Gracie’s lips quirk. “Probably. But that’s not why you’re doing this.”

No, it isn’t.

Chapter Two


I slow my wheel so I don’t entirely screw up the bowl I’m making and eye the two visitors who just walked into my studio. They carry portent with them, and strength, and cracks that are fighting the direction they need to run.

I get a