Title: Secret of the Manor
Author: Taylin Clavelli
Genre: Gay romance, mystery, paranormal, adventure
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
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.
DURING THE previous summer, midway through the building process, Warren had found a local stables and indulged his love of horses. The facility had both indoor and outdoor schools, a field full of jumps, and a cross-country course. Warren chose the place not only because of its impressive amenities, but because he immediately struck a chord with its aging owner, Carl. He and Carl rode together often. Their friendship developed during Sunday-afternoon rides through the vales and hills of the Cotswolds.
It was during one of the pair’s lollops into luxurious green canopies and winding trails that Warren first spotted a small church spire. But it was in the distance, and was soon out of sight. Even then, Warren was intrigued. Sadly, they never rode close enough for it to be anything but an image veiled by trees and for one reason or another he never asked about it.
Often, he and Carl didn’t talk at all when they rode together. They simply enjoyed the relaxing, mind-clearing experience of milling around the countryside on horseback. Short of the odd bird flying out of a hedge and scaring the bejesus out of them, or a rabbit making a dash for cover, riding was a time of compatible solitude, away from the rat race.
When Carl was in the mood to talk he regaled Warren with the origins of Walmsley Hackett. And when Carl spoke Warren stayed quiet, enamoured with his stories.
As it turned out, the 1800s was nowhere near the start of Cheltenham life. Unearthed historical finds suggested several villages in the Cotswolds dated back to Roman times, long before the Saxons, Vikings, and mediaeval Normans.
The historical tales were of varying believability. Carl often rolled his eyes while he glossed over the fables he considered ludicrous. Among those were stories of a jousting competition reenacted during the summer solstice. It was believed to take place in a field on the village border, and Carl had never met anyone who’d seen it. Other stories told of winged fairies in the woods during spring and a Roman army on the march.