I’m Clay Fraser. I’m a builder/renovator near Elderberry Bay, Pennsylvania. The village on the shores of Lake Erie had fallen on hard times. I took a chance and renovated a Victorian row of four stores with apartments above them. Along came Haylee and her dream of owning a fabric store.
People began calling the village Threadville shortly after Haylee’s store, plus yarn, quilting and notions shops, opened. Excited by Threadville’s success, Haylee asked my company, Fraser Construction, to renovate the building across the street from hers.
Haylee was certain that between the two of us, we could create an environment that would cause her best friend, Willow, to move to Threadville and open a machine embroidery boutique.
The building was an Arts and Crafts bungalow that had been gutted and turned into a succession of stores that never stayed in business more than a year or two. The place was a mess, but it had great bones.
And I love a challenge.
To give me ideas of what Willow might like, Haylee showed me photos of Willow. Suddenly, I had to meet Haylee’s best friend. I wanted my renovations to wow her. Together, Haylee and I tried to create a shop and apartment that Willow would fall for. It worked. Willow bought the property—it included a Victorian wooden cottage beside the river—and moved to Threadville.
I didn’t meet Willow until after she’d been here awhile. I was a little afraid she’d be as impulsive as Haylee, but although Willow likes adventure, she’s cautious, and she tries to hide her vulnerability in a way that makes me want to put my arms around her.
However, between her caution and my, well, I guess I have to call it by its right name, pride, we barely see each other. So the way I spend my days and evenings and the way I’d like to spend my days and evenings are two different things.
I’m usually up early, either drawing new plans or at the latest work site. We’re developing beachfront property over toward Erie. Although trained as an architectural engineer, I do a little of everything—carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, roofing, and (what I may like best) operating heavy machinery. These long, spring days, I’m outside until quite late.
At home after work, I barbecue a steak or some burgers or hot dogs in the last of the light, and eat with a beer or two in front of the TV. Later, I read, mysteries or articles about building and architecture. If I have time, I go canoeing or for walks in the woods or along Lake Erie’s beaches.
I hope, someday, that Willow will come along on some of these explorations, but I’m afraid to ask her. What if she makes it clear that she never wants to go out with me? If I don’t ask her, I’ll always have hope that she’ll say yes. Okay, you’re right. It doesn’t make a lot of sense.
Haylee and I are friends, just friends. I want Willow to like me, but first she has to trust me, and I understand—maybe—why she might not. She was new in town when someone was murdered. I don’t blame her for being wary of everyone.
Do you have suggestions? She has asked me to help her renovate that Victorian cottage some day.
You can learn more about Clay, Willow, and Haylee, and how Willow solved a murder in DIRE THREADS, which was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First novel, and has also been nominated for the Bloody Words Light Mystery Award (the Bony Blithe.)
** Thanks to the publisher, I have one (1) copy of THREADED FOR TROUBLE to give away. Contest open to residents of the US only. Contest ends June 7. Leave a valid-email address with your comment. The book will be shipped directly from the publisher. **
Meet the author
When she’s not writing or reading, Janet Bolin plays with sewing, quilting, knitting, crocheting, and machine embroidery. She lives with her husband and two rescue dogs near a small village on Lake Erie. The dogs look and act remarkably like Willow’s two dogs. Janet’s kayak is idle too much of the time. Visit Janet at facebook and twitter.
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