Nailed It Home Reno owners Rowena Summerfield and her daughter, Valerie, thought they’d seen it all, but the derelict Mehaffy House is a first. Rumor has it the place is haunted. Though the women scoff at the idea, there’s no denying weird things are happening. But the job gets even stranger when their plumber, Harper, becomes the chief suspect in the murder of her male-model boyfriend.
Once again, Ro is called upon to work with her old homicide partner, Hercules Morgan, to help find the killer. The plumber’s snake might have been the murder weapon, but Ro isn’t convinced the woman was careless enough to leave her tool behind. Is she being framed? And who else wanted her boyfriend dead?
They don’t have to look far for other suspects. The victim lived in a former motel turned modeling school and agency, and under the glitz and muscles they find dysfunctional relationships, drained finances, professional jealousy and suspicious behavior. And the victim might not have been so innocent either. Can Ro and Herc find the culprit before the case drives them plumb crazy?
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Snared by the Snake
Nailed It Home Reno Mysteries Book 6
By Barbara Barrett
I arrived at the site the next day full of optimism. Time to proceed, full steam ahead. That mood lasted until I walked in the front door to be met with an apparent confrontation between our plumber, Harper Wickersham, and one of her crew.
“You knew full well I’d already inspected that section of pipe.” Wickersham’s voice reverberated throughout the entire downstairs. “Now you’ve wasted precious time duplicating my efforts.”
I stopped in my tracks, listening.
“But Harper …”
“Boss, while you’re working for me.”
“But Boss, you yourself told me to go over it. First thing this morning. I was only following orders,” the young plumbing apprentice replied plaintively, his hands rubbing his trouser legs.
“I did no such thing! I …” She paused mid-sentence, her mouth still open. “Now that you mention it, I guess I did say something to that effect. Sorry.”
“If it helps, I found pretty much what you discovered, only more. That whole section needs to be replaced. That is, if you say so.”
“Note it on the list,” she said.
The young worker shot away from her. She stood there rubbing the back of her neck. I should’ve moved away and let it go at that. But I didn’t act fast enough. Wickersham noticed me on the sidelines.
“Sorry you had to see that. I was … out of order. Everything’s fine.”
“Is it? I asked. “That run-in with your worker seemed a tad over the top.”
She raised a brow. “How I treat my crew is my business.”
“My comment was aimed at you, Harper. Everything okay?”
“I’m fine, I just … I shouldn’t have taken my mood out on him.”
“Mood?” Was the extent of this job too much for her?
“If you must know, I broke up with my boyfriend last night. Well, he broke up with me. Caught me off guard. Did it in a busy restaurant.”
She shouldn’t be letting her personal feelings affect her job performance, but she knew that as well as I. I’d been there myself once or twice, to my humiliation. “Maybe you should take a short break. Give yourself time to modify your attitude?”
“Thanks, but no. I’m okay. I’ll go apologize and grab some water. Don’t worry about me.”
She wasn’t okay, but I didn’t want to push it. I sensed she didn’t want to be seen as a moody woman by the other men on this job. Even though there were only a few crew members on-site just yet, word had a way of getting around.
I let it go. I needed to get back to my office to work on plans I was drawing up for a new proposal. I left it up to Wickersham to defuse this situation.
Wickersham failed to show up for work the next day. I got to the site just as Val was attempting to locate her.
“No word from her at all?” I asked. Had I underestimated the extent of her condition the day before?
Val shook her head. “I’m not sure we can locate another plumber at this late date.”
Before I could ask if she’d let Ryder know, my phone rang. “Ro? It’s Herc. I need you down here at the station as soon as you can get here.”
“I’m on a job right now, Herc.” This idea that he or Jim could pull me away from my renos at the blink of an eye to help them was getting old.
“This isn’t about helping me on a case. The suspect has asked for you to sit in on her case. You know her. Harper Wickersham? It would appear she offered her boyfriend after he sent her packing.”
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