Book Excerpt from "Concrete Evidence: A Fixer Upper Mystery"
Currently, though, it was pretty shabby. The floor planks were dull and a few of the boards around the outer edges were spongy and crumbling after sustaining years of dam- age from the sun and ocean air. Once those boards were replaced, we could re-sand the surface and add several coats of clear varnish, and all of it would be shiny and new again.
Things wouldn’t go so easy for the beams above our heads. The porch roof had actually begun to sag from water damage, and those rotten headers and crossbeams would need replacing immediately. The sooner we started work on this portion of the house, the better. I figured if I could see the wood decomposing with my own eyes, it had to be even worse beneath the surfaces. I jotted down more notes on my tablet and then used the device to take some photographs of the decaying beams in order to remind myself how bad the damage
Wade’s truck finally came into view and Mac jogged down the steps and over to meet the guys. I took the moment to regroup, breathing in more ocean air and staring at the spectacle of waves tumbling and crashing against the rocky coastline.
Once I’d cleared my head and regained my senses— that kiss really was more potent than I’d realized—I was able to relax and watch Wade’s truck jerk and buck to a stop. There was nothing wrong with his truck; the lurching was due to the timeworn cracks and potholes that pitted Old Lighthouse Road, right up to the edge of Mac’s property. I had a feeling he would want to repave the path eventually, unless he liked replacing tires on his SUV more often than usual.
I waved to my guys, who were unloading their tool chests and ladders, with Mac lending a hand. Since they had things under control, I continued making notes on the exterior repairs needed to make to bring the house back to its former splendor.
For some unknown reason, people in Lighthouse Cove had always called this place the lighthouse mansion. Yes, the house stood within a few yards of the lighthouse, but it was the mansion part of the phrase that had always seemed misleading. That was because our town was famous for its abundance of breathtakingly massive Victorian homes, while Mac’s new place wasn’t all that large. But the home had a quiet, stately presence, unencumbered by the ostentatious gingerbread detailing that Victorians were known for. The term mansion just seemed to suit it.
Despite the lack of decorative clutter, the mansion still had many of the classic Queen Anne features, including the convoluted roof lines, the seemingly random placement and sizes of the windows, the multiple chimneys, and the many different surface textures that changed from floor to floor and gable to gable.
On the second floor, a shingled overhang sheltered a set of arched Palladian windows braced by more Doric columns. I made a note to check those charming old fish-scale shingles for termite damage.