Seaside Nights

By: Melissa Foster

Seaside Summers, Book Five

Love in Bloom Series

Chapter One

“I CAN’T BELIEVE in a few short weeks the apartment and the tattoo shop will be completely renovated. Blue, you’re amazing!” Sky Lacroux shoved her favorite poetry book into her patchwork purse and locked the front doors of her shop. She waited for a few people to pass before stepping back on the busy sidewalk to admire it. She still had to paint the exterior and the sign above the door and wait for the interior renovations to be done, but as she took in the narrow building she now owned, pride swelled inside her chest.

Inky Skies was located on Commercial Street, the busiest street in the artsy community of Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was sandwiched between her friend Lizzie Barber’s flower shop, P-town Petals, which was painted light blue with flowers and greenery climbing up the columns out front, and the bright purple game store, Puzzle Me This. Sky planned on painting Inky Skies bright yellow, and as Blue Ryder, one of her best friends, threw his arm around her and dragged her away from the shop, she felt like she was walking on a cloud. Now, if only the universe would magically step in and find her the perfect man to share her joy with.

Yeah, right. Like that was going to happen in a primarily gay and lesbian community, especially with the way she worked all the time. Not likely. Her brother Hunter fell into step on her other side. Definitely not likely with these two guarding me closer than Fort Knox.

“Are you still planning a big grand opening, even though the shop has been open since you bought it?” Blue asked. He’d been one of Sky’s best friends since she’d moved back to the Cape from New York three summers ago, to run her father’s hardware store while he went into rehab to deal with an alcohol addiction. Thankfully, her father had remained sober after rehab and was back to running his store, which had enabled Sky to move out and fulfill her dream of opening her own tattoo shop. Two months earlier she’d purchased the tattoo shop where she’d been working part-time, and Blue, a specialty builder, was renovating both the shop and the apartment above it for her.

“Hell, yes, I am. It doesn’t matter that it’s been open during renovations. I still need to celebrate Inky Skies—my dream, my passion, my…”

Blue groaned, and Sky laughed and poked him in the side as they crossed at the corner on their way to meet their friends.

“And you’re both coming,” she said. “Like it or not.”

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I’m proud of you, sis.” Hunter put a hand on Sky’s forearm as they came to a curb and a bike whipped past.

“Hunter, I know how to stop at a curb, thank you very much.” She rolled her eyes at her protective older brother.

She was used to being watched over, considering her four older brothers—and her slightly overprotective friend, Blue—had been doing it for years, but at twenty-six, with a new business and a new apartment, she was ready to spread her wings.

“Hey, just keepin’ you safe.” Hunter kept his dark hair shaved close to his head, and with his dark eyes and bulky muscles, he had an edge to him, but the playful grin he flashed softened all of that edginess, revealing the bighearted brother Sky adored.

“Hey, sugar!” A friendly drag queen, who went by Marcus during the day and Maxine when he performed, waved from across the street. He’d lost his lover, Howie, to cancer a couple of years ago, and as much as Sky wished he’d fall in love again, she knew from the look in Marcus’s eyes when he spoke of Howie that what they’d shared was a once-in-a-lifetime type of love.

Ever since four of her friends had gotten married last summer, she longed to experience that kind of love, too.

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