Halloween at Hargreate Hall: Part 2 by Angela Britnell

Happy Halloween! It’s time for this year’s Halloween Round Robin. And this year we have not one but TWO fabulously spooky tales written collaboratively by eight talented Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction authors to share with you 👻 We shared one yesterday (click HERE to begin reading it) and today we’re starting again with a new bunch of authors! 

Yesterday Morton S. Gray introduced us to the staff at Hargreate Hall and today Angela Britnell has her turn. We still really want to find out why Joe is being so mean! Come back every hour until 2pm to read a new extract AND enter competitions to win chocolate & book prizes. Alternatively you can wait until all parts have been put up and read the story in its entirety! 

Each author taking part has no idea where their part of the story will go, which leads to a few spooky surprises along the way. But you’ll need to read on to find out more 😉 

Remember to read right until the end to find details of the competition!

A Round Robin is best enjoyed if you read each part in order.
Read Part 1 by Morton S. Gray HERE

HALLOWEEN AT HARGREATE HALL – PART 2 BY ANGELA BRITNELL 

‘I could ask you why you’re not trying at all?’ Except for trying her patience. ‘I don’t want to lose my job even if you do.’ Judging by the way his dark eyebrows shot up her comment hit home. ‘Do you want Hargreate Hall to go bankrupt?’ Joe’s unwavering stare made her tingle all over.

‘No.’ His loud yell startled her and she almost tripped over one of the tottering stacks of files scattered around the floor. ‘But I am a realist. You can’t wave a magic wand and drop a few plastic spiders around this godforsaken wreck and seriously believe the few pounds we’ll make will be anything more than a drop in the bucket.’ A hint of cynical amusement twisted the corners of his mouth. ‘Although our leaky roof could make a decent contribution. Why on earth don’t you stop wasting your time and energy and get a job somewhere else?’

‘Because I’m not a quitter.’ At one point she’d considered Joe a friend and hoped for something more but now? Over the last few months their relationship had gone downhill and she suspected Joe had labelled her as a mentally lightweight blonde. He wasn’t the first person to make that mistake. ‘You could easily find another job too so why stay if you’re not committed to Hargreate?’

‘I can’t leave,’ he mumbled.

The obvious follow up to his mysterious statement hovered in the air between them.

‘I do want to see Hargreate Hall flourish but …’ Joe bent a paperclip until it snapped in two. ‘I’ll be here by four o’clock on Sunday.’ He picked up a folder from his desk. ‘Will that be all?’

There were a million questions she itched to ask but Meredith plastered on a smile, thanked him in a very businesslike way and gave the door a firm slam on the way out. Not quite loud enough that he could call her rude… If she’d been determined before to make the Hargreate Hall Halloween After-Dark Trail a success her stubbornness had solidified. She would prove Joe wrong if it was the last thing she did. The problem was she couldn’t do it alone.

A sudden chill skittered down her spine. ‘I should have guessed you wouldn’t be able to resist interfering.’

Only a puff of smoke lingering underneath the chandelier, the scent of lilacs and Kate’s insubstantial bell-like laughter betrayed her. Lady Katherine Ernestine Warren, second wife of the appalling Lord Peregrine Warren, fluttered closer to Meredith.

‘That’s not a terribly kind thing to say.’ Kate pouted, or at least it sounded like a pout because she didn’t do visibility well. A swish of pale blue satin the first time they met on the spiral staircase in the library was the only half-concrete sign Meredith had ever received. If anyone asked her before that cold March day if she believed in ghosts she would have answered with an unequivocal no. Now she couldn’t be certain. ‘I hoped you might appreciate my help.’

‘Yours?’ She hated to point out the obvious drawback in that offer.

‘Oh ye of little faith.’ Another trill of laughter filled the Great Hall. ‘I hear you are trying to attract visitors for this … Halloween event.’ Kate’s disdain oozed through her voice. No doubt she considered it tasteless and Meredith couldn’t put her finger on why she was worried about the feelings of someone who’d been dead almost a hundred and fifty years. Did ghosts even have feelings? ‘Every profitable castle and stately home boasts of having a ghost. Naturally multiple ones are far more profitable but you’ll have to make do with me because I’ve run all the others off.’

‘Others …’ Her voice faded. No wonder Meredith’s head ached. After her confrontation with Joe and now this encounter it was a miracle she wasn’t lying down comatose in a dark room.

‘Of course there were others.’ Kate snorted. ‘This house has been in the Warren family for over five hundred years. Do you seriously believe I’m the only one to have died in tragic circumstances?’

‘I suppose not.’

‘I have a plan.’

I was afraid you might.

‘We’ll have to let the dashing Joe in on our little scheme.’

‘Joe?’ Meredith could swear she saw two, pink round dots hovering in the area where Kate’s cheeks might logically be.

‘That’s my condition for helping you.’

She tried to imagine approaching Joe, who’d mocked her enough recently, with this new crackpot idea.

‘I think you’ll find he won’t mind. Joe and I have a … history shall we say?’ If Kate was a cat she’d be purring.

‘You and Joe?’ Meredith’s overwrought brain spun in dizzying circles.

‘Were you calling for me?’ Joe blustered out of his office with a dark scowl marring his handsome features. ‘I’m off out to prune the …’ His ruddy face turned the colour of curdled milk and he swayed on his feet. ‘Get that creature out of here now.’ He jabbed his finger at Kate. ‘She ruined my life.’

‘No, dearest Joe I ruined your death.’

 

Did anyone feel a tingle up their spine? We suppose every Halloween Round Robin needs a ghost … but Lady Katherine Ernestine Warren seems a rather unique ghost – and just what is her connection to Joe? Hopefully Kathryn Freeman can shed some light in the penultimate part coming up in the next hour! 

If you enjoyed Angela’s writing, you can find her books available to purchase from all good online book stockists and retailers – and her new winter read, Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat, will be released in December. Click the image below for purchasing options. 

 

COMPETITION TIME! 

To be in with a chance of winning an Angela Britnell paperback and some chocolate simply answer the question below (we hope you’ve been reading carefully!):

Where did Meredith and Kate (the ghost!) first meet? 

To enter, send your answer to info@choc-lit.co.uk with the subject heading ‘Round Robin Angela Britnell comp’ by Friday 2nd November. The winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday 5th November.

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