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Sea, Sky, & Skeleton (Ravenwood Cove Cozy Mystery 4) by Carolyn L. Dean Book

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Sea, Sky, & Skeleton (Ravenwood Cove Cozy Mystery 4) by Carolyn L. Dean Read Book Online And Download

Overview: Some long-dead secrets are best kept buried.

It was meant to be just a small remodeling project to Amanda's historic bed and breakfast, like so many she'd done before. This time, though, she hadn't counted that a mysterious discovery could lead to her small Oregon beach town buzzing with gossip and innuendo, and someone just in the shadows who will stop at almost nothing to keep the past as silent as the grave.

Sea, Sky, & Skeleton (Ravenwood Cove Cozy Mystery 4) by Carolyn L. Dean Book Read Online And Download Epub Digital Ebooks Buy Store Website Provide You.
Sea, Sky, & Skeleton (Ravenwood Cove Cozy Mystery 4) by Carolyn L. Dean Book

Sea, Sky, & Skeleton (Ravenwood Cove Cozy Mystery 4) by Carolyn L. Dean Book Read Online Chapter One

“You’ll have to close the Ravenwood Inn.” 

Amanda’s mouth dropped open at her contractor’s statement. “Close the Inn? Isn’t there some other way?” 

Roy Greeley shook his head, wiping his dirty hands on a shop towel. “Not if you don’t want guests someday breaking through a stair and then falling into your basement. Look, it’s just temporary. If we’re going to repair the main staircase so it’s safe for people, it’ll take at least a week to get everything ripped up and put in the new supports.” His voice was firm. He suddenly grabbed a large screwdriver and jammed it into the side of the wall under the staircase. Amanda had to nearly bite her tongue to instinctively stop him from damaging the wood, but as soon as he wiggled the tool a bit she could see what he was trying to show her. Bits of old lumber splintered away easily from the hole he’d made, far too easily for such hard wood. 

“It’s got some dry rot, and all those people going up and down for so long have weakened the entire structure. It’s got to be redone right, like it was when it was built the first time.” He set the screwdriver on the curved banister. “Back then they built things to last, and I want to be sure I fix this so it’ll be around for another hundred years.” Noticing how worried Amanda looked, he tried to reassure her. “I promise I’ll use as much of the original wood as I can, and everything will be stained to match. No one will even know it’s been repaired.” 

Amanda set her hand gently on the old railing, its satiny wood polished by decades of trailing hands.  The dark curve of the central staircase felt like the heart of the entire Ravenwood Inn, and the thought of closing for repairs was unexpected and unwelcome. Roy followed Amanda from the main foyer into the parlor, and Amanda plopped down on a sofa, next to her huge orange cat, Oscar. She knew Roy had taken great pride in everything he’d done so far, restoring her historic bed and breakfast to its original glory. She also knew that he’d do a great job on this project, but the thought of closing the Ravenwood Inn was sobering. The expenses of refurbishing one of the oldest buildings in Ravenwood Cove were daunting, no matter how much she loved the place. She’d just had the roof repaired after a December windstorm had swept through town, and that had drained her bank account. Fixing the main staircase was a necessity to keep the Inn running, but the thought of shelling out more cash, especially during the lean winter months, made her stomach hurt. 

“I guess you’re right. I can’t exactly have paying guests using the narrow servant stairs to get up to their rooms, can I?” She sighed and absent-mindedly stroked Oscar, who purred happily and crawled into her lap. “How much is this going to cost me?” 

From his grimace, she knew Roy’s next sentence wasn’t going to make her happy. He gestured at Oscar. “You may have to sell that cat.” 

Seeing the twinkle in his eye, Amanda couldn’t help but laugh. “Over my dead body. He’s on staff as the Inn’s official greeter.” She scratched Oscar under the chin and the big orange cat closed his eyes in satisfied bliss. “I pay him with tuna. How about I sell you a really obnoxious rooster instead?” 

“You mean Dumb Cluck?” Roy shook his head. “No way. The first time he’d crow at four in the morning I’d want to eat him, and that old guy’d be tough as a leather boot, even if I used a whole bottle of ketchup.” 

By the time Roy had brought a yellow notepad and a calculator into the kitchen so they could talk numbers, Amanda was already hatching a new plan. When her contractor was done figuring out materials and labor costs he showed her the grand total. Amanda gulped but she wasn’t surprised, and she quickly made a counter proposal. 

“Roy, I hate to admit it, but I have to do this on a budget. Isn’t there a way I can do some of the work myself so I can save a few bucks?” 

She could see Roy considering what she’d said as he toyed with his pencil on the paper. “Well, I could show you how to rip out the problem areas and set aside the old wood so it can be copied for the new treads. I’d use bits of blue tape to tag the ones that I’d want you to remove. Do you think you’re up to doing some of the demolition work for me? It would definitely save you some cash.” 

Amanda grinned, relieved. She wasn’t afraid of hard work and the first thing she’d ever done to the previously-abandoned Inn had been to take a crowbar and pry off the wooden boards nailed over the windows. “I could definitely do that. Just show me what you want me to do.” She shook his rough hand, sealing their deal. “Can you start on it right away? I actually just had a group of guests cancel this morning and my winter business is slow, so I have six days with no one staying here.” 

“I’ll be back at eight tomorrow.” Roy picked up his notepad and smiled. “I’ve got a hot date tonight so I’ve got to hit the road. Find your best crowbar and heavy-duty work gloves, and be prepared to get dirty. You’d be surprised how much grime and dust works through the wood under an old staircase.” 

Amanda watched Roy stash the notebook in his green canvas bag. He called it his office-on-the-go, and it seemed to travel everywhere with him. “I’ve dealt with dirt before. No problem,” she told the middle-aged contractor, and then she couldn’t help but tease him a bit. “So, who’s the hot date? Am I allowed to tell your wife about it?” 

Roy gave a snort of feigned disgust. “It’s with my wife, silly. We’re staying home tonight so we can go through all the seed catalogues she’s gotten in the mail lately. Can you believe she wants to expand our garden again?” He picked up his bag and slung it over his shoulder. “Every year it’s the same thing; all my kitchen counters and tables covered with trays of seedlings. I’ll probably have to transplant ‘em all in the rain again, just like last time.” He straightened up and winked at her. “Yeah, very sexy date, let me tell ya.” 

Amanda couldn’t help but chuckle. She knew Roy Greeley was hopelessly in love with his wife Nancy and to be honest, Amanda was almost a bit jealous of how the two of them seemed to orbit around each other as best friends and partners in life. “Tell her I said hello.” 

Roy pulled out his car keys. “I will. Hey, what’s this I hear about Lisa not being back in town yet? I thought she was just going back East for a few days to pick up some relative of hers?” 

It was a touchy subject, and Amanda paused for a moment while she quickly decided how much she could divulge and not betray Lisa’s confidence. It had been over a week since Lisa had unexpectedly stopped by the Inn, flustered and out of breath, to ask if Amanda could take care of her three kittens while she went to pick up her nephew, Sage. Maybe it was her years of being a reporter for the local newspaper that made Lisa so unflappable, but that day she was the most upset Amanda had ever seen. The way Lisa had described the situation, if she didn’t take guardianship of her nephew, he’d be heading to a foster home. Her sister had struggled with addiction for years and Sage had practically raised himself, but now that he was older his behavior was getting wilder and the law was getting involved. When he stopped going to school the authorities noticed and Lisa got called. 

“Her nephew’s going to come live with her for a bit while his family sort some things out at home. Lisa should be back in town in a day or so.” 

Even though she’d tried to keep her voice carefully neutral, she could see a spark of recognition on Roy’s face. 

“Nephew’s a teenager?” 

“Yes,” she said, and Roy nodded in understanding. 

“Sometimes a change of environment is the best thing for a young guy. Kind of shakes them up a bit. Different rules, different friends…” his voice trailed off. “Well, I’d better be going. I’ve got about eight pounds of seed catalogs calling my name back home, and I’d hate to make my hot date wait.” 

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