My 8th Jazzi and Ansel novel is on sale for 99 cents through May 12, so I’m posting a snippet from The Body in the Buick to tease you. Jazzi and Ansel have their hands full in this mystery. Ansel worries every time Jazzi touches anything that’s heavy, and they’re trying to convert a barn into a house for one of Jerod’s friends. And then, of course, someone asks them to help solve a murder, And a holiday is coming up:)
Jazzi opened the bathroom door and Ansel stopped pacing to look at her. Her tall, blond Viking was a bundle of nerves, his expression hopeful but fearful.
She held up the small device. “Two lines.”
His blue eyes widened. “That’s a yes?”
She smiled. “It looks like you might be a father nine months from now.”
“Do you think it’s right?”
She could hear the worry. He wanted a baby, hopefully a girl. Growing up, he’d always doted on his sister. “It’s supposed to be one of the most accurate on the market.”
He frowned at the narrow test device. He balled his hands into fists, his voice anxious. “Do you have another one?” When she nodded, he said, “Can we do it again?”
She understood. He didn’t want to get his hopes up only to be disappointed. She closed the door and listened to him begin pacing again. When she opened it the second time, she grinned. “Same result. Two lines.”
He rushed to her, lifting her off her feet, hauling her into the bedroom and swirling her in a circle. “We’ll stop at a clinic to make sure, then call your doctor to start our baby off right.”
She laughed, happy that he was so happy. “Let’s not say anything until we’re absolutely sure. Jerod will get as goofy as you when we tell him.” Her cousin had three kids of his own. They were the center of his world.
Ansel nodded, then started to the hallway, still holding her in his arms.
“I can walk,” she said. “Being pregnant doesn’t make me an invalid.”
“I’m carrying you down the stairs to celebrate. I carried you over the threshold when we got married. This is bigger and better. I hope our daughter looks just like you.” Bless the man. He thought she was beautiful. He loved her thick, wild, honey-blond hair, fair skin, and curvy figure.
There was no arguing with him, so she wrapped her arms around his neck and enjoyed the ride. All muscle, he was great to snuggle against, always made her feel secure. Ansel was a romantic. Her? Not so much.
He finally set her down in the kitchen and went to pour them coffee. Then he stopped. “Can you have coffee?”
“I can until I see the doctor. Don’t even try to talk me out of it yet.”
Whimpering came from the top of the stairs.
“I forgot George!” Ansel slid her filled mug to her, then hurried back up the steps to pick up the pug. George didn’t like stairs. He did love food and hurried straight to his doggie bowl once Ansel set him down. The cats, Inky and Marmalade, lined up next to him. While Jazzi fed the beasts, Ansel dropped four slices of pumpernickel bread into the toaster. Their usual morning routine.
Once they finished breakfast, she started working on ham and cheese sandwiches to take to their new job site. They’d finished and sold the flipper that took them months to renovate, earning the biggest profit ever on a fixer-upper, then turned to a quick, four-month flip and sold that. Today, a Friday, they were going to look at their next project—converting a barn into a home. They’d never tackled anything like it before.
Jazzi finished packing the cooler and grabbed it to carry to Ansel’s van.
“That’s heavy,” Ansel protested. “I don’t think. . .”
She cut him off. “I carried it last week and the week before. I’m carrying it until a doctor tells me not to. Let it go.”
They’d loaded the card table and chairs, coffee urn, electric skillet, and panini maker last night. An electrical line ran to the barn, but there was only one outlet. Ansel carried George. The pug went everywhere he went. At least, everywhere possible.
Inky and Marmalade followed them through the breezeway to the garage. The cats liked to look out the long, low windows and watch them leave for the day. They were pampered, but not like the pug.
On the drive north, Ansel grew thoughtful. “I hope this barn’s cleaner than my family’s dairy barn. I can’t figure out how we’re supposed to make it into a home.”
“Jerod said Ben wants to move in before Christmas. He doesn’t expect the barn to be finished, but it will have to be insulated or he’ll freeze. That doesn’t give us much time. I don’t think it’s possible. I looked up barn conversions online, and the article listed six major steps.”
“What are they?”
“Most barns have dirt floors, so we’ll need to jack up the building to have a foundation poured.”
He heaved a long sigh. “Our barn had dirt floors, and it would be a pain to jack it up.”
“The article said the frame’s often warped from age, so people usually have to build a new one. Barn roofs aren’t usually built as well as house roofs, so we’ll have to replace that.”
Ansel grimaced. He’d gone home a few years ago to help his dad and brother replace their barn roof. He hadn’t been happy about it. “Once we get all the structure stuff done, I’m guessing we’ll have to install plumbing, electricity, and HVAC.”
“We won’t be doing that. Ben’s hired it out.”
“Our dairy barn isn’t insulated.”
She nodded. “The article recommended spray-in foam. And then we can finally start work on the interior finishes.”
“There’s no way we can do all of that by Christmas.”