Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-gBVRVhx9k

 BLURB

Warren Blake is an accountant at the pinnacle of his career. After accepting a new position he decides to settle in the scenic Cotswold village of Walmsley Hackett.  A village with a colourful history of myth, old wives tales and mystery.

One morning during his train ride into work, Warren notices a small quaint church which he becomes enchanted with. Curiousity compels him to find the church  and when he finally does, he discovers an unmarked grave in the corner. Feeling sorry for its occupant, Warren becomes a frequent visitor.

Little does he know that the young man inside the coffin needs a champion and Warren is chosen. 

 What follows involves a ghostly medieval joust, witchcraft, love, and Warren risking his life.

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Reviews

Multitaskingmommas 5*/5*

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Frosty’s Book Corner – Must Read – Now!

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Gay Media Reviews – Wow, I could stop my review there!

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Eyes On Books – I fell in love... 

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Four Excerpts     

       Secret Of The Manor – Excerpt -The field

The men were relaxed, almost dozing off as they ambled through a small walled field, when Warren noticed something strange. Despite there being plenty of flowers, a few bushes, and a dozen trees, not a single bird flew within the field’s borders. They occupied the flora outside its walls, but not one feathered animal ventured inside. The sensations invading Warren’s subconscious were not of eerie evil emanating from the dark side, however. They were ones of respectful space. It was as if someone had kicked the kids out of the house, turned the volume down, placed a glass of wine in one’s hand, and said, “Enjoy the quiet.”

When Warren looked over to Carl, the man had his eyes shut, serenely enjoying the surroundings. Even the horses seemed to tiptoe through the grass. Only bees pollinated the dandelions, daisies, and other meadow flowers. Warren himself could feel his heartbeat laze as if he’d had enough wine to relax but not enough to be tipsy.

“Why is it so quiet in here?” Warren whispered while looking for other signs of life.

Carl took a deep breath, opened his laughter-lined eyes, and pointed to the raised areas of the field. “Those mounds are believed to be Saxon burials.” He chuckled. “We can’t bring that gelding, Dusty, through here. He tries to lie down before we get to the gate at the other end.” Carl spoke like the scene was as natural as walking around the supermarket. Briefly, Warren imagined Carl around Tesco’s. The man wasn’t fat, but he was by no means thin. He enjoyed the comfort of a belly filled with his favourite foods. He’d hang onto the trolley, grumbling and limping his way around on a leg that had been kicked a few times over the years. Then he’d run his hands through the grey hair of his receding hairline that he covered with his flat cap. Warren smiled to himself before he stopped his musings and continued with his enquiries.

“Why don’t you get the Time Team in to find out for sure?” 

Carl turned serious. “No. It’s not good to disturb the bones of the dead. It upsets ’em.”

           Secret Of The Manor – Excerpt – First visit to the church.

Warren worked his way around the four walls of the building, which was at least half the size of his cottage. Peering through some of the windows, he was unsuccessful in avoiding thorns from the newly sprouting roses, and growled when he snagged his thumb on a barb. With the bleeding digit in his mouth, he turned to the church doors looming before him. Locked, preserved, solid old English oak barred his entrance to the inner sanctum.

Unable to venture inside, Warren turned his attention to the cemetery. Many of the gravestones bore worn inscriptions, which he could hardly read—half a name here and there. One read, Gwyn, Mother and Beloved Wife. Another, Franklyn, 1823. The only unworn part on one headstone was 17-something. Before that, dates and many names were visible but hardly decipherable. As for the headstones themselves, many were simple and traditional tablet markers while others were in the shapes of angels or stone coffins. Nothing was overly ornate.

Warren felt as though he’d stepped back in time. The years of history that lay on and in the ground made him light-headed. It was as if he could feel scenes from way back unfolding around him. He stood in the middle of the graveyard, aware of but not quite seeing images of old. Given his experiences with Carl, he wondered if breaks in the fabric of time were possible. Maybe some places were like ancient forms of cinematography, able to record life and have it on constant playback.

As he wandered about the area, he noticed a curtain of holly in a far corner. Curiosity flipped Warren’s insides as he made his way over. For all he knew, the plant sheltered nothing more than dead leaves and spiders, but an inner voice told him to go look. The prickly leaves scratched his hand as he drew the shroud away.

Secret Of The Manor – Excerpt – The Garden Party

Miles, CEO of A-Genet, was a good man and a fine leader. Warren got on well with him. But, while Miles played host, Warren looked upon the party with a more cynical eye. It was an occasion where the title CEO took on a whole new meaning. At such times, CEO meant Cock-Enlarging Officer. The epithet worked for Warren on so many levels. Warren was sure Miles knew what happened every time he spoke to an ambitious employee, especially the males. The man’s winning words had an immediate effect, and the person he was talking to always changed his stance, and seemed to have more down his trousers than when he walked in.

The annual garden party was also a time many took advantage of to network, in various guises. One or two carried virtual knives. Warren knew the game rules. It was a necessary evil in a place where, if you didn’t watch your back, others took advantage. It wasn’t pretty, but it was better than the game some played. He’d been bitten by the latter before; it was one reason for his degrees of separation.

Warren had settled into his comfortable cane chair and relaxed with a glass of wine. He completed the “Hello, darling; wonderful dress, are those new shoes?” social niceties expected of him with the wives, and the “This quarter is going well, any news on that contract?” dialogue with his colleagues in high management. He chinked glasses, ate well, smiled, and conversed with the willing. He stayed with his crowd, and was wary of others who approached him—climbers who decided he was one of those worth sucking up to. Maybe he was unfair to some, but he’d seen too many cases of backbiting to embrace an idealistic approach to office shenanigans. 

      Secret Of The Manor – Excerpt – Night Ride

Suddenly, a patch of mist marred his path, and Warren shivered. It was as if the droplets of water were crawling over his skin, tasting it, testing it. A sweet fragrance filled his nostrils, and he was sure he could hear the vapour hiss as it delved beneath his collar. A small branch came out of nowhere and thrashed Warren’s face, but he kept going. The fog enveloped the scratch, which stung like tiny needles plucking at his flesh before the pain disappeared, soothed into non-existence.

Argo stopped, rigid, and puffed loud and deep, his ears twitching in all directions. Warren could feel the rise and fall of his steed’s chest under his legs and was afraid to urge the beast anywhere until he settled. Warren breathed deep, too. Something was ahead and he had no idea what it was. His arms shook from adrenaline, and a bead of sweat ran from his brow.

Thump, thump, thump. His heart stuttered, torn between turning tail and forging on.

Argo’s ears abruptly focussed forward. Then he snorted and surged ahead. Warren ceased to be the master and became a passenger. Argo seemed to know where he was going. It was as if Warren were on a train with a single-track line, and someone had removed the brakes.

Argo puffed in excitement and upped his pace. It was all Warren could do to hang on.

To save his skin, Warren leaned against Argo’s neck and put his trust in his charger. All he could hear was the one-two-three, one-two-three thunderous beat of his horse in canter. One-two-three, one-two-three. Argo’s thick black neck surged forward in time with the beat. One-two-three, one-two-three. Long strands of mane licked at Warren’s face, and he grabbed a handful to steady himself. He almost lost his seat when Argo took off over a fallen tree and burst out of the woods into a clearing.

With a whinny and a rear, Argo announced his presence. His front legs pawed the air. Warren clung to the saddle and prayed.