AMAZON | BARNES and NOBLE | iBOOKS | KOBO
Inheriting her aunt’s old Maine cottage has led Avery Baker down a new career path—home renovation. Finding a property’s hidden potential has rewards and challenges—not to mention certain unanticipated dangers. Like murder…
Avery Baker never thought she’d leave Manhattan, until she inherited her aunt’s old Maine cottage and found her true calling: home renovation. But when Avery goes to work restoring a condominium, she discovers it’s another condo owner who’s been condemned
Avery and her fiancé Derek are fixing up a cute little condo in homey Waterfield, Maine, hoping for a quick turnaround and some extra money for their wedding. It seems like a simple project, and Avery is looking forward to using her big-city experience with small spaces.
But they didn’t expect to have their every move watched by the resident busybody, Hilda Shaw, who loves snooping on everyone’s comings and goings. When the busybody becomes a dead body, Avery suspects foul play. Soon she’s doing some snooping of her own, and it seems everyone in the complex has a secret. Could one of them be worth killing for? Avery needs to work fast, before someone decides to fix her… for good.
“This is a waste of time,” my fiancé grumbled. I glanced over at him as I slotted my spring green VW Beetle into a parking space outside the condominium building where Josh Rasmussen lived, and cut the engine. It was a few days later, and truth be told, I didn’t need the Beetle; I could have floated here on the invisible pretty pink clouds that still surrounded me from Derek’s proposal.
“We don’t know that. And even if it is, you owe it to Josh to be nice about it. He’s trying to help.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Derek said and opened his car door. “I’ll be nice. But I want it on record that I’m against this.”
I swung my legs out, too, and addressed him across the roof of the car. “Listen, you got your way when we bought the house on RowanberryIsland. We spent all spring and most of the summer renovating it, not to mention all the money in our account, and we’re still waiting for it to sell. I’m not saying it wasn’t fun, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but if we have to lower our standards for a while, and renovate a two-bedroom condo in a 1970s building—a condo that has none of the architectural elements that make your heart go pitter-patter—you’ll just have to suck it up and deal with the situation. If you want to get married in October, we need the money. Weddings aren’t cheap.”[j1]
The date we had picked was only six weeks away, but Derek didn’t want to wait, and neither did I. My mom had raised her eyebrows at the timeline, but it was an afternoon wedding, so I didn’t need a proper gown. We had booked the church and the minister, and had settled on the adjoining reception hall for the celebration, and everything was proceeding apace.
“I want to get married in October,” Derek said. He waited until I was close enough so he could snag my wrist, and then he pulled me even closer so he could look deeply into my eyes. “I want to get married right now. Or at least pretend we are.”
I squirmed, as those cornflower blue eyes had their usual effect on my insides. “There’s a little old lady watching us.”
Derek straightened up. “Where?”
“First-floor apartment on the right. White lace curtains.”
“Oh yeah,” Derek said as the lace curtains fluttered. He smiled down at me, dimples and all. “Wanna give her a thrill?”
“You’re awful.” But I let him kiss me, and as usual, my stomach swooped.
“Break it up, you two!” a voice yelled, and when I turned my head, I saw Josh Rasmussen, along with his best friend and brand-new girlfriend, Shannon McGillicutty, hanging out of the window of Josh’s third-floor apartment. They were grinning. I grinned back and lifted a hand.
“We’ll be right up.”
Josh nodded. “I’ll buzz you in. Mr. Antonini’s apartment is on the second floor. Meet you there.”
They withdrew from the open window and closed it behind them. I looked up at Derek. “Remember, be nice.”
“I’ll be nice. And then afterwards, you can be nice to me.” He gyrated his eyebrows exaggeratedly. I burst into laughter, and he grinned back. “C’mon, Tink. Let’s get this over with. Then we can take the honeymoon early.”
I smiled. “By all means.”
He flung an arm around my shoulders, and I snuggled into his side as we walked toward the front door.
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