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Book Excerpt from "Concrete Evidence: A Fixer Upper Mystery"

Chapter One

I gazed up at the neglected beauty and tingled with excitement. I was so ready to turn this old eyesore into the grand masterpiece it had once been.
The venerable lighthouse mansion was situated on a large tract of land surrounded by a once-lovely green lawn that had become overgrown and scruffy with crabgrass and brown weeds. A fi layer of sand covered the entire expanse, having been carried by the wind from the dunes that bordered the beach nearby.
The lighthouse tower stood a few yards away to the north of the house. To the west, the rough, rocky break- water speared into the sea. Waves crashed and a fine mist of salt water was spewed in every direction.
“I love my job,” I murmured as I grabbed the thick roll of blueprints from the narrow backseat of my truck. I slammed the door shut and marched across the sprawling lawn.
The rough March wind gusting off the ocean lifted my mop of wavy red hair and blew it around until I couldn’t see straight. I finally had to stop at the bottom of the stairs leading up to the front porch or risk tripping on the steps. I set down the tool chest I was carrying and shoved the hair back off my face. And that’s when I beheld the wondrous sight before me at the top of the stairway.
MacKintyre Sullivan, world-famous, bestselling thriller writer and former Navy SEAL, stood with his arms crossed as he leaned against one of the smooth Doric columns that braced the roof covering the wide porch. The man looked for all the world like some handsome, dashingly entitled lord of the manor—if the lord of the manor happened to be an unrepentant pirate with a wicked smile and a gleam in his dark blue eyes.
Mac had moved to Lighthouse Cove, California, a few months ago and almost immediately looked into buying the famous mansion by the lighthouse. The purchase had to be approved by both the town Planning Commission and the Historical Society. Not only was the mansion a local landmark with a lot of history attached to it, but the new owner of the home would have to be responsible for upkeep of the lighthouse—for which our town was named. Mac was willing to do the work.
“Those are the new blueprints?” Mac asked, pointing at the thick roll of papers in my hands. “So this is it? No more delays?”
“No more delays—I promise you.” I picked up my tool chest and made my way up the eight steps and onto the sturdy wooden porch. Flashing him a determined smile, I added, “And no more red tape from the Planning Commission. No more whining from the Historical Society. And, especially, no more tiny white rats to send me screaming from this house again.”
He laughed, and I couldn’t blame him. It was still a source of deep embarrassment to me that a few weeks ago, I had spotted the little-bitty rodent skittering across the kitchen floor.

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