All right, Johnnie here, stop three. I’ve had to borrow Henry’s car as mine’s getting worked over by a couple of grease monkeys. What happened? You ain’t got to know, so mind your potatoes. Let’s just say it involved a halfwit named Glen, a few minutes of feeling good before several days of feeling like warmed over cow dung. Speaking of cows…
[Attribution Graham Horn [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
That’s a cow in a field. Elliot refused to let me leave the manor for this little excursion unless I promised to point out the cow. Yeah, I have a soft spot for the squirt. There’s nothing particularly special about this cow, only that Elliot finds them fascinating. You should see how excited he gets on our trips to London. He points out each and every one the train passes. You know how many cows there are between Aylesbury and London? Me neither, but it’s a lot. You’d have thought it’d drive me off my nut by now, but I seem to possess this rare ability to summon patience where the little ragamuffin is concerned. Anyway, I don’t know how the kid never gets tired of lookin’ at those cows. I mean, all they do is chew grass and ruin your shoes. Kid’s an oddball.
[Attribution: Steve Cook [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]
Once you drive past all the fields–and cows, you eventually get to the town of Aylesbury and the Market Square. If you have an automobile, you can park in the center near Lord Chesham’s statue. Here’s a photograph of it here
. And here’s one of ole Chesham himself here
. It’s a pleasant town and a big change for those of us who grew up in New York City. Here everyone knows everyone and gossip runs rampant. Do I gossip? Lay off. Fellas don’t gossip. What’s that? Yeah, I’m not buying it either. Of course we gossip. Though between you and me, no one has mastered the art of blathering like Chance. I’m pretty sure there are some town grannies out there taking notes.
[Attribution: flickr 70023venus2009, http://www.flickr.com/photos/70023venus2009/6273622716/sizes/z/
This is the King’s Head Inn. Like a lot of things in England, it’s really, really old. Henry said something about it going back to the 1400’s or something. This is the part where having an Englishman around would come in real handy. No dice, ay? Fine. Have it your way. You want a fact about the inn? Here you go: it’s haunted. Or so they say. Some of the town’s folks believe there are a couple of ghosts hanging about, not that it deters Chance and Jacky from running off there to have a romantic rendezvous whenever they can. Personally, I don’t want to know what they get up to over there. All I know is there’s a corset involved and who the heck knows what else. Those two are deceptively racy. What’s that? Would I ever take Henry there? Uh, well, the thing is… Say, what kinda tour you think I’m running here? Tomorrow’s the bakery. Until then, enjoy the cows and ghosts.
Eight years after leaving the deserts of Africa and the French Foreign Legion behind, Jonathan Wolfe has settled into life at Hawthorne Manor in the English countryside. Johnnie helps his adopted family run the manor and provide a safe, loving home for a new generation of “brats”: boys mistreated and discarded for their homosexuality—something all too familiar to Johnnie.
Although no longer an unruly youngster, Johnnie is as stubborn, foul-mouthed, and troublesome as ever. His recent rash behavior becomes a concern for those closest to him, especially Dr. Henry Young, the only man ever to capture Johnnie’s heart. Instead of soothing him, their closeness brings Johnnie’s insecurities from an unsettling past to the surface, and leads to an explosive situation that threatens to tear them apart. Then Henry’s past catches up to them….
Excerpts are in the form of a serial. Read Part 2 on Sue Brown’s blog here. Excerpt Part 3
In fact, it was probably best I stop picturing it because certain parts of me were definitely expressing interest.
“Look, I know what I got is a million to one. I don’t know what I’ve done to end up with Jacky, but while I have him, I’m gonna make the most of it, each and every day. The fact that he feels he can ask me for anything means more to me than I could say. Trust and communication, Johnnie, remember that.”
“Who are you?” This was the same mug who ten years ago had been cursed at by every officer he had ever had—in several languages—before he’d been kicked out of their units and finally ended up in Jacky’s.
“I am the voice of experience,” Chance declared in his best radio commentator’s voice.
“More like the voice of Satan.” There was no doubt about it. If the devil himself walked this earth, he would look, talk, and walk like Chauncey Irving. The way he gazed at me made it seem like he could see into the very depths of my soul. I didn’t like it one bit. Who knew what he’d find there?
Chance rolled his eyes at me. “And you say I’m dramatic.”
This had all gone very different in my head. I was sensing a pattern.
“So, what led up to that whole situation?” he asked, concern slipping into his tone. I’d take “pain-in-the-backside Chance” to “concerned Chance” any day of the week. The latter asked too many questions, which meant I had to make too much of an effort to avoid answering, or worse, had to actually think about things. Might as well get this over with.
“He was trying to get in my head again, so I kissed his cheek to slip away.”
Chance’s expression grew somber with a hint of disapproval. “Don’t tease him like that.”
Normally I would have given a flippant remark, but I couldn’t, not where Henry was concerned. “I wasn’t teasing him. At least, I didn’t mean to. It sort of happened. I was desperate. He was getting too close.”
“He’s just trying to help.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t ask for his help. He knows how I feel about him trying to go all head doctor on me. Is there a reason you’re here aside to drive me off my nut?”
Chance’s expression softened as he looked me straight in the eye. I braced myself. “You’re going back to see him, aren’t you?”
“I don’t think that’s any of your business.”
“Right.” Chance stood and headed back toward the infirmary. He paused and turned, his gaze on his shoes. “Try to be more careful.” With that he was gone, and I was left sitting on my lonesome feeling like a heel. In other words, it was a day like any other plus a couple of extra bruises and scrapes, which reminded me: now I had to get the damned Austin fixed. The hell with this. I was tired of feeling guilty just for breathing around here.
Comment prompt: Do you believe in ghosts?
About the Author:
Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From Historical to Fantasy, Contemporary to Science Fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!
Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.
Website: http://www.charliecochet.comBlog: http://www.charliecochet.com/blogEmail: email@example.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/charliecochetTwitter: @charliecochet | http://www.twitter.com/charliecochet
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11/25 – Meet Connor & Edmund Grey [Excerpt 12]- Joyfully Jay