Read an Excerpt
“What could go wrong?”
Let’s just begin with those famous “last” words, shall we?
This whole thing started when I decided to add a room onto the back of the store I inherited from my Aunt Fiona. Okay, that and a few simple renovations to implement a really great idea for a coffee shop / espresso bar.
My first mistake was in forgetting to run the plans by the store itself for her approval.
Yeah, you read that right.
My store is . . . well, actually I don’t know what my store is, but her name is Myrtle.
Not to be all anthropomorphic or anything, but she’s very much a “person.”
In the short time I’ve been in residence, Myrtle has never been anything but helpful, quietly leading me to things in the hopeless jumble that passes for an inventory on request.
She actually has a pretty good sense of humor, and something of a maternal streak. Of course when I was being thick-headed about something early in our relationship, Myrtle did whiz an arrow past my nose, but my own mother threw a knife at me once.
(Okay, fine, just in case my mother ever reads this, she claims her hands were wet and the knife slipped. All I know is that a sharp piece of cutlery landed at my feet. I quit arguing and did as I was told. Myrtle achieved much the same reaction from me with her arrow.)
I should have known Myrtle would prefer to have things done her way, mainly because my deceased Aunt Fiona warned me about it. Yes, Aunt Fiona still pops in from time to time. There’s no reason death has to be a self-limiting experience. For heaven’s sake, think outside the box (or the casket as the case may be.)
So, long about now, you’re probably wondering if I’m completely nuts. Probably, but I’m also a witch. That was Aunt Fiona’s other bequest to me — magical powers. The fact that I’m a newly minted witch goes a long way toward explaining the story I’m about to tell you.
But, first, let’s briefly backtrack. Hi, my name is Jinx Hamilton. My business sits on the Briar Hollow courthouse square between Chase McGregor's cobbler shop and Amity Prescott's art gallery.
Chase is on the fast track to becoming my boyfriend, and Amity is flaky, creative, and anxious for us to do some joint functions once my coffee shop is up and running.
Then there’s Tori, whose official title in my life is BFF. She’s also my brand new business partner, the fulfillment of a plan we hatched when we were six and set up our first lemonade stand.
Tori quit her job at Tom’s Cafe and will move into the room out back once it’s finished. It was her idea to do both construction projects at one time, so technically this was all her fault. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
The paint gave us the first hint we might be in for trouble. Walking in the store’s front door amounts to entering a time warp. Think antique display cabinets, beautifully worn wood floors, and an old, elegant tin ceiling. The walls were a sort of indistinct stucco tannish, white thing.
Tori thought some color in the coffee area would help give the place a “funky, bohemian vibe.” We’re hoping to bring in local musicians on the weekends, and maybe even serve beer and wine if my license application goes through. The whole planned decorating scheme felt right, so I was onboard.
Tori drove over to one of the big box hardware places and picked up a variety of paint samples. The palette ran the gamut from aubergine to chartreuse, but no matter what color she put on the wall, Myrtle instantly turned it to aged tan.
It was all I could do not to laugh, which would have infuriated Tori and encouraged Myrtle.
Tori stood there with her dripping fuchsia paintbrush and glared at the store, which meant her head was on a swivel since we don’t exactly know where to look when we talk to Myrtle.
“Knock it off, Myrtle,” Tori demanded. “Don't you want to live a little?”
Since Myrtle instantly blew Tori a raspberry, we’ll assume the answer to that one was “no.”
As diplomatically as I could manage, since Tori can be a little . . . firm minded, I said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to annoy the building we’re living in. Why don’t we go for retro funky bohemian and keep the . . . uh . . . current, tasteful vintage appeal?”
Still brandishing her paintbrush, Tori wheeled on me and said accusingly, “Suck-up.”
“I’m good with that,” I said earnestly, “totally.”
We abandoned the painting plan for the moment, which I hoped Myrtle would see as a show of support, or even out and out obedience, but as I was about to find out, this dispute was far from over.
The next day, Mark’s guys started trying to relocate the floor-to-ceiling wooden cases currently occupying the corner between the staircase and the east wall, which was the area destined to be the coffee bar.
Tori was nowhere to be seen. Earlier in the day, she had run a few errands, and then excused herself to continue her research into proper espresso preparation. That was a fairly adult way to say that she was still ticked off about yesterday and was, frankly, pouting.
Now, understand, I would never actually use the word “pout “with her, but as my mother would have so eloquently put it, if Tori’s lower lip had been pushed out any further, she would've tripped over it.