Bayou Baby (Butterfly Bayou 2) - Page 38

Celeste? This wasn’t about her mom? It was about her. “I can’t sell until I fix it up. And how could I have code violations? I only inherited the place yesterday.”

Sylvie’s voice went soothing. “Honey, you didn’t violate the codes, but the house isn’t up to standards, and we all know it. I’m afraid you’re going to get a visit, and that will put you on a timetable. I have to do some research because I’m not sure how long you’ll have.”

“Before what?”

There was a long pause that ratcheted up her anxiety before Sylvie continued. “Before they try to condemn the property.”

Nausea rose, but it battled with complete confusion. “Can they do that?”

“I don’t know. I mean, yes, they can if there’s cause. If they decide the structure itself is dangerous to live in, they could absolutely condemn the property. That’s why I wanted to give you a heads-up,” Sylvie was saying. “I think it might be best if you’re out there when the code inspector shows up. They’ve got a backlog they’re working, but they fast-tracked your house. I’m going to look into it, but I happen to know that the head of Code Compliance is in Celeste Beaumont’s women’s Bible group.”

Nausea was definitely winning. She should have known Wes’s mom would never allow her to have a house so close to her own. Celeste would never want her to have anything good at all. “Is there anything I can do?”

“Sera, there are rules to this that not even the Beaumont name can change. I let Margret know that I would be looking into corruption in her office if I got even a whiff that she was doing this to make Celeste Beaumont happy. Unfortunately, she’s got cover on this one because Guidry Place has been in disrepair for years. But I did manage to convince her to send Darnell Ward out. He’s completely honest and fair.”

But she might need someone bribable because her house probably should be condemned right now. In a couple of weeks, maybe it could pass, but not today. “What should I do?”

“I think you should get out there and be working when he shows up. If you prove to Darnell you’re working on getting the place up to code, he’ll give you a lot of leeway.”

Would he once he figured out she was completely in over her head? Would he take one look at her and know that most of her experience came from watching HGTV? She only knew it wouldn’t help at all if the man thought she was lounging around while her house was crumbling. She so hoped it wasn’t actually crumbling. “I’ll get over there now.”

“Let me know what happens.”

She hung up and shoved her cell in the front pocket of her jeans. At least she was dressed. She’d been planning to wait until her mom had returned from her morning meeting, but her plans had changed. “Zep, I need you to watch Luc until Mom gets back.”

Zep sighed as though relieved that he would get out of doing any manual labor. “Now, that I can do. Hey, buddy. Maybe we should go to the park. I hear there are tons of pretty ladies out there.”

“Don’t use my son as a pickup tool. And you better come and help me this afternoon. You owe me porch steps,” she said, tossing her purse strap over her shoulder and leaning down to kiss her baby.

Luc grinned up at her with the gaze of a boy who was constantly amused by the world around him. “Momma, park. Park.”

Zep sent her a knowing look. “It’s not just me. He checks out the toddler set. That boy is going to be a player. And I don’t think you’ll have to worry about those porch steps.”

He was so obnoxious sometimes. But then he winked at Luc and made her remember that when she’d needed him, he’d been there. Zep had been a single male in his twenties having the time of his life and he’d stayed home those first few months and learned how to change diapers and burp his nephew. He could be annoying, but when she really needed him, Zep was there. “Take him to the park, but you better pay attention to him. I’ll call you later, and seriously, I need your help on those porch steps. They’re probably not up to code and that’s a real problem now.”

“I bet it’s not.”

She raced out the door because her brother wasn’t right about this.* * ****

Ten minutes later her heart was racing because she could see a car in the drive. It was a new-model SUV and probably belonged to the man who could shut down all her plans. She wasn’t sure how much time she would have if Darnell Ward decided she wasn’t serious about fixing the place up. Anxiety arced through her because it wasn’t like many people took her seriously in the first place. They tended to see blond hair and decent-sized boobs and treat her like she didn’t have a brain in her head. No one thought she could do anything but wear a T-shirt well.

Tags: Lexi Blake Butterfly Bayou Romance
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