Tuesday, 3 September 2013

FREE READ - The Carpenter's Tale

The Renfrew Files #1 The Carpenter's Tale is a short paranormal story featuring Mark Renfrew, closeted psychic, and his lover Jack Faulkner, freelance archaeologist.

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Amazon - the story is live on Amazon, but I haven't linked to it. I'm *STILL* trying to convince them it is a Free Read!
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It should have been a bit of a break for Mark Renfrew, attending an archaeological conference with his lover, Jack Faulkner. No ghosts, no drama beyond the academic. But it didn't work out that way. The modern Five Star hotel held a dark secret, and Mark knew he had to uncover it before more people were hurt.

~ * ~

It took Jack Faulkner half an hour to extract himself from the gaggle of archaeologists gathered in the hotel's reception area. He doubted he'd be missed. The latest discoveries in a ravine a few miles from the Valley of Kings in Egypt had grabbed everyone's interest. Usually he'd be in on the gabfest, oblivious to all else. But this time, after registering at the desk, he had other plans. His lover had gone ahead to their room. 

They'd been together for just over a year, and Jack still got that delicious frisson in his blood at the thought of Mark, waiting for him in a room with one large double bed. Okay, it was ten o'clock in the morning, but this conference was programmed to last for three days, and they would need to snatch every chance they could to be together. 

Until recently, Jack had been fortunate enough to score short-term jobs in England, and had chances to accompany Mark on some of his research trips to Wales and Cornwall. But yesterday he'd signed the contract that would take him to Cyprus for four months. Mark, tied to the UK by his commitments to The Dominic Waldron Experience TV show, would not be going with him. For the first time they'd be apart longer than a handful of days. He was not looking forward to it.

Jack took the lift to the third floor and hurried along the corridor to Room 314. He carded the door open and bounced in. Then hesitated for a moment. His lover sat on the edge of the bed, his head in his hands, elbows planted on his knees.

"Are you okay?" Jack asked cautiously, coming forward. "Mark?" No answer, and he leaped to the obvious conclusion. Mark Renfrew was psychic, and ever since the Fitzwarren affair, his talent sometimes didn't play nice. "What's here?"

"Don't know, yet." Mark's voice shook a little and Jack crossed the room in a few strides to wrap him up in a protective embrace. Mark didn't raise any objections.

"So what can you tell me?" Jack asked.

"The room's clear—it's at the top of the stairs, just along the corridor from here. Fury, pain, death…" He took a deep breath and straightened. "Sorry. It took me by surprise."

"But this is a modern hotel!" Jack protested. "Well, comparatively." He stretched for the fancy dossier on the nearest bedside table, and flipped it open. The illustrated potted history of the Havenbridge Hotel, the five star flagship of Haven Hotels Consortium, was brief. The place had been built on a green-field site in the seventies and HHC had gone from strength to strength, creating a thriving chain to rival the Travelodge and Premier Inn franchises. Nothing there, but he knew where he could find out more. "Build up your barriers, Sunshine. I'm going to ask some questions." He pressed a kiss into Mark's untidy hair, and made for the door.

"Wait a minute!" his lover protested, but Jack was a man on a mission.

He closed the door behind him and stared down the corridor. Shades of blue carpeting, warm cream walls, unobtrusive artwork, and tasteful ceiling lights met his gaze. This was a Five Star hotel, and looked the part. Everything was immaculate. Jack walked to the stairs and paused. He didn't expect to sense anything, he was an archaeologist and dealt in hard facts. In a career that often involved excavating the dead, he had never experienced anything remotely paranormal. A year ago Jack would have been sceptical, now he didn't doubt that Mark had encountered something unpleasant there.

"Okay," he said aloud and walked carefully down the stairs.

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