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Authors: Harper Fox

Tags: #mystery, #lgbt, #paranormal, #cornwall, #contemporary erotic romance, #gay romance, #mm romance, #tyack and frayne

Guardians Of The Haunted Moor

BOOK: Guardians Of The Haunted Moor
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Guardians Of The Haunted Moor

Harper
Fox

Copyright
Harper Fox 2015

Published
by FoxTales at Smashwords

Guardians
Of The Haunted Moor

 

 

Copyright
© July 2015 by Harper Fox

 

 

Cover art
by Harper Fox

Cover
photo licensed through Shutterstock

 

All
rights reserved

 

No part
of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any
means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording,
or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written
permission from FoxTales.

 

FoxTales

www.harperfox.net

[email protected]

 

This is a
work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is
entirely coincidental.

Table of
Contents

 

 

Prologue

Chapter
One

Chapter
Two

Chapter
Three

Chapter
Four

Chapter
Five

Chapter
Six

Chapter
Seven

Chapter
Eight

Chapter
Nine

Chapter
Ten

Chapter
Eleven

 

Guardians Of The Haunted Moor

Harper
Fox

Prologue—Winter
Solstice, 2014

 

Gideon
wouldn’t have noticed the date, except that the Falmouth skies were
already dark when he left the police building at four o’clock.
Surely the days couldn’t get any shorter. He’d driven down here
this morning in the pitch-black too.

It was
enough to depress a man who didn’t have the world at his feet and a
cherry on top. He glanced at his mobile. There was the date—21st
December, the doorway, the depth of winter and the beginning of the
return of the light—and there was the cherry, a text from Lee. He
confined himself to one a day when Gideon was on duty, but it was
always a good one, something he’d noticed about the places or
people around him that would make Gideon laugh or shake his head in
wonder. The clouds were heavy with sleet, not like this time last
year when bright stars had shone over strange events in the quiet
streets beyond the bay.

The wind
moaned around the police station car park. Some joker had found
flashing blue Christmas lights to hang above the doorway. Flecks of
ice stung Gideon’s neck, and he got into the Rover. Briefly he was
distracted by the sight of the trainees and new constables spilling
out of the building. What did it say about him, if the policemen
were starting to look young to him? He chuckled, then pulled down
the rearview to check that his gravitas and his sergeant’s cap were
in place. The shortest day had been a long one, teaching this
latest crop, and he didn’t want to lose his advantage over them
now.

Yes, he
had the world at his feet. As worlds went, it wasn’t massive, but
within its limits—from Bodmin to the far west coast, sunny days at
Drift farmhouse and firelit evenings at home in Dark village—Gideon
had everything. Six months of married life under his belt, only two
weeks more of physio and teaching days like the one he’d just
endured before he’d be passed fit for full active duty again, his
recovery complete. He had a mother, a brother, a small but
functional version of the family he’d missed out on as a
child.

He had a
baby on the way. Gideon opened his text hurriedly, suddenly afraid
that his daily cherry might be news of Elowen, so pregnant now that
she could barely waddle across the farmhouse kitchen to fetch her
pickled gherkins from the fridge.

I’m at Roselands, visiting your mum,
Lee’s message read.
I know she’s
coming to us for Christmas, but I felt as if I should. Meet you
there if you get out in time. I’ll buy you dinner at
Sam’s.

Sam’s
would be nice, though it was Gideon’s turn to buy. They made a
pilgrimage there every time business brought both of them to
Falmouth, in memory of their first proper date. Doing so without
incident was always a luxury. Gideon shivered, wondering if the
restaurant’s decorations this year would include the tinsel fish. A
deeper unease touched him. Everyone who knew Lee well paid
attention when he did something because he felt he should. The
reasons would appear soon enough.

Gideon
started the Rover and put her into gear. He’d only had about a year
of feeling like a well-loved, loving son, but he didn’t think he
could bear to lose Ma Frayne, Methodist minister’s wife and sudden,
unexpected proponent of gay rights.

He set the fear aside. Lee would have spoken to him directly
about any premonitions of that nature. Lee’s gifts were in full
play after his concussion and encounter with Gwylim Kitto, but they
had come back under his control, and he was only your average
incredibly talented local clairvoyant once more, running his stage
shows and finishing up his popular TV series
Spirits in the Stones
so that he
could concentrate on...

Gideon
pulled his attention back to the present. It wouldn’t look good for
Sergeant Frayne to rear-end a citizen with the police truck.
Whenever he thought too hard about the next few months, the change
about to shake their lives to the foundation, the reason why his
own job had become doubly important and Lee’s was going on hold, he
became barely competent to walk a straight line, let alone drive.
He braked in time and pulled out of the junction into the rainy
night.

 

***

 

The
difference time and circumstance could make to the outsides of
buildings! Last solstice, when Gideon had stood out here in the
snow, Roselands had loomed above him like a cliff, its ordinary,
pleasant Edwardian facade blocking the moonlight. His father had
been immured here, imprisoned still more deeply in dementia,
threatening to Gideon still as childhood’s memories echoed. His
mother had been almost a stranger to him. Since then Lee Tyack had
overhauled his life, and the house was just a building, familiar
now from countless visits, friendly because his mother was happy
and well treated there.

He
exchanged greetings with Mrs Harle the manager, and jogged down the
corridor to the visitors’ lounge. Manners dictated that he take off
his cap, but the old lady liked to see him in full uniform,
especially if her friends were about. Their children might have
promising and responsible careers too, but none of them wore it on
their sleeve like Gideon. She sat up, beaming, as he entered the
room. “Here he is. Have you had a hard day, dear?”


No, Ma. Just teaching the kiddies.” He didn’t like to
disappoint her, and wondered if he should make up a burglary and a
car chase or two. All that would be part of his routine again soon
enough, though, and he settled for planting a kiss on her upturned
face. “How’s things?”


Lovely. Your Lee’s been making us a nice long
visit.”

Yes. There he was, in an upright chair by the table, clearly
just as pleased with the uniform as Mrs Frayne, but for his own
sweet reasons. Shadows of weariness dispersed as he stood up to
accept Gideon’s embrace, the unhidden exchange of a married couple.
The residents of Roselands had got over it long ago, and Mrs Frayne
soon brought any new ones up to speed by introducing Lee to them,
loudly, as “my son’s
husband
.” There was nobody around to
scandalise today, however, except...

Except
the pastor. Gideon blinked, keeping hold of Lee’s shoulders.
“Hello, Dad,” he said uncertainly. “It’s, um.... It’s nice to see
you down here.”


He insisted on coming down. He wanted to see you and
Lee.”

Mrs
Frayne was in the habit of speaking for him. In keeping with her
nature, she often made him sound far more benevolent than he had
ever been. Gideon looked to Lee for confirmation. His beautiful
west-coast lad was all about the silver part of his spectrum today,
a winter-beach pallor under his skin, his eyes full of strange
lights. Lee nodded. “Yeah, he got his carer to help him downstairs.
He’s been here all afternoon.”

No
wonder Lee looked tired, more grey visible at his temples than
usual. Pastor Frayne normally kept to his room. Ever since his mind
had begun to vacate his body, his physical reality had become
little more than a cipher, hard to notice. Today he was here. A
presence, heavy and brooding, inhabited his gaunt frame, his stony,
hawk-like face. It had a strange attraction, and Gideon went to
stand in front of him. “Everything all right, Dad? Would you like
me to fetch Ezekiel?”

He
wondered how he’d have felt if his father had nodded, commanded him
with all his old authority to summon the elder son. But the pastor
had said his farewells a year ago, on a long dark night just like
this one, and he remained silent, staring through Gideon and past
the wall behind him. Gideon gave Lee a querying glance. “Wasn’t it
this time last year...”


That he last spoke. Yes. I thought about Zeke too, but he’s
not answering his phone.”


Okay.” Gideon took a seat at the table by Lee’s side. He gave
his ma a reassuring grin, and looked at the scatter of carrier bags
around her chair. “Looks like my other half managed to do a bit of
shopping as well as visiting the in-laws. Unless
you’ve
been ransacking
the baby-clothes stores, Ma.”


Oh, no,” she said comfortably, smoothing out a tiny T-shirt on
her lap. “Lee’s just been showing me all the lovely things he
bought. All different colours, even though you know you’re getting
a girl. It’s good that you’re not...” She paused, and Gideon
waited, not daring to meet Lee’s sidelong glance. Her
pronouncements were good as gold. “Not stereotyping her
gender.”

Gideon
bit his lip. This kid was going to be Cornwall’s new generation,
for sure, with her two gay dads and a right-on zealot for a
grandma. “We’ll be sure not to do that.”


I can’t keep saying
her
, though, Gideon. She’s due any
day now. Haven’t you decided on a name?”

They
had. They’d been planning on telling the old lady next time they
saw her, so Gideon drew a breath. But Lee laid a silencing hand to
his wrist. “Hang on a second, Gid. There’s one more thing I was
meaning to show Mrs Frayne. Saving the best for last, you
know?”

Gideon was far from sure. Lee’s other purchases came from the
various boho-chic little businesses that dotted Falmouth’s main
street. The bag he was opening now was marked
Prowse Prints
, an outfit Gideon’s
local colleagues busted regularly for creating fake ID and
passports. “Not sure you should be shopping there, mate. Supporting
crime, and all that.”


You’re a fine one to talk. They’re only still open because you
thought Daz Prowse would be better off working for his uncle than
safecracking with the Bodmin burglary brigade.”

BOOK: Guardians Of The Haunted Moor
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