as promised earlier, here follows a little excerpt from my new version of Monogamy Twist.
This is from the very beginning...
“Come on, Amelia.”
Luke Salieri’s curled fist thumped repetitively at the wood.
“Do you reckon I’m such a sucker? Even if I am talking to an effing ghost?”
A response wasn’t reasonable because he was talking to a damp wall-covering that oozed around under his warm skin. It was unable to reply to him, just like Amelia Greywood couldn’t either, because she’d been dead the best part of two weeks.
“Your conditions are a bloody insult.”
Striding off to yet another room, he let off even more steam. The bedroom was brimful of contents as though the room was still lived in, yet no-one had inhabited it for a long time, not even Amelia’s ghost. The house wasn’t the least bit spooky, but if talking to her damned spirit would conjure her up it would be worth it. Just to have his questions answered. What the Dickens was he going to do about this property?
“Why did you choose me, Amelia?”
He loathed indecision, avoided anything that made him feel vulnerable, but this was like playing some game with pieces missing, knowing his opponent had a full deck, and that only by resorting to some kind of dishonesty would he gain success. Yet honesty was Luke’s middle name. He was straight in business and candid to a fault in his personal life. Which often annoyed his girlfriends, though right that moment it was Amelia who was the one pissing him off.
He could afford to renovate the dilapidated property, but the rest of her conditions were an antiquated, potentially deceitful nightmare.
Temper barely leashed he confronted the elusive spectre, wishing he could conjure up her image. He couldn’t though, because he’d never met the blasted woman.
“So, tell me, Amelia. Where did you dredge up my name from?”
He swept open a Victorian monstrosity of a wardrobe, the epitome of vivid childish nightmares, not surprised to find it still contained flouncy dresses that were moth-eaten and mouldy.
“Hmm? Did you use a pin on a Trades Directory? I hardly think the internet was quite your style. Unless you were an astute silver surfer?”
That notion made him groan. Could Amelia have surfed the web to find the biggest dupe? Picked for his professional expertise was the only thing that made any sense, the only thing that gave the whole ridiculous scenario any credibility.
He strode to the nearest window to get the smell of camphor-balls out of his nostrils. The tall sash casements were clad with distressed claret brocade drapes, so distressed the colour had sun-faded to a pale blush wine. Pushing aside more cobwebs than material, he flicked the catch and yanked the window open, a shard of deteriorated wood slicing his index finger.
“Shit!” Curses garbled as he sucked off dripping blood and teased out the substantial splinter with his teeth. “How could you let a stately old home like this decay so much, Amelia?”
He tried to force the window down again, but it refused to budge, his frustrated grunts disturbed by some wildly frenetic barking.
“What the...” His part-question fogged the windowpane. The beast making the racket was a whirling dervish frolicking over the rough grass.
He grinned, the whimsical interruption lifting his tension.
“Thor. Get back here now!”
The peremptory command came from a woman who was exiting the woods bordering the lawn. Luke smiled again as the excited Irish wolfhound completely ignored its owner, instead bounding up to the dilapidated flagstones of what had once been an impressive terrace way down below him. He considered ignoring his dilemma as well; considered making a similar swift bounce-away.
From his third level vantage point, the young woman recaptured his attention as she ploughed across the overgrown lawn grass. Her husky voice was firm.
“You went off again too quickly, you disobedient pup.”
Pup? The beast was enormous. Luke’s focus zoomed in on the woman as she capered back from the animal’s attentions. Her lava black hair settled around her chin as she came to a gradual halt and gathered the squirming beast close to her. The dog’s tongue lapped out to lick her face, revealing the ungainly quivering of body hair as the long forelegs stretched up onto her shoulders. He watched her almost overbalance under the onslaught of adoration from the dog. She was a tiny little woman, and Thor was one very big canine.
“Get down, Thor!”
The melodious chime of her laughter imprinted itself somewhere inside him as she thrust the hound down to ground level.
“You’re not a little pup any more.”
Thor? A good name for a powerful beast, he thought, watching her rub the dog’s underside. Scratching below his own belly, he adjusted his stance at the window. His imagination surged, the heat of the sun blasting in the window.
“Who are you?” His question misted the filthy pane, the little pixie below making quite an impact. “A woodland elf?” Well, she had materialized out of the woods and he presently felt he was in some nightmarish fairy tale. His harsh laugh echoed around him in the empty room. Was his fatigue so bad he was hallucinating? An ironic burst peeled out again, loud enough to make the dog’s ears perk up.
There was no quiet barking from this particular canine, its exuberance boisterous and excited as it capered way down below the window.
“Come on. Time to go, Thor.”
Who was the woman? He watched as she ushered the animal back to the woods. What was she doing in the grounds of Greywood Hall, seemingly so familiar? Realising he wanted answers to those questions, Luke erupted into the corridor taking the treads on the internal central staircase two at a time, trusting they’d not collapse under his pounding feet as he hurried outside.
There was no sign of her as he scanned the gardens.