Those lovely people at Choc Lit publish such wonderful books that – every now and then – I reluctantly have to accept that I just can’t read them all by publication date. The Truth Lies Buried by Morton S. Gray – the second in the Borteen Secrets Series – was published on all e-book platforms on 1st May, and I do hope I can catch up with it soon because it looks like one I’d really enjoy.
Two children in a police waiting room, two distressed mothers, a memory only half remembered …
When Jenny Simpson returns to the seaside town of Borteen, her childhood home, it’s for a less than happy reason. But it’s also a chance for her to start again.
A new job leads to her working for Carver Rodgers, a man who lives alone in a house that looks like it comes from the pages of a fairy tale – until you see the disaster zone inside …
As Jenny gets to know Carver she begins to unravel the sadness that has led to his chaotic existence. Gradually they realise they have something in common that is impossible to ignore – and it all links back to a meeting at a police station many years before.
Could the truth lie just beneath their feet?
So, no review (sorry Morton!) but I’m thrilled to be able to share an extract…
Aliens landing on a newly discovered planet would know exactly how Jenny felt today. The light-blue business suit was a mistake, as were the high-heeled suede court shoes. She fought with each step to pull her feet from the thick mud, while trees formed hostile monsters around her, dripping moisture onto the shoulders of her jacket and hiding the way ahead. The smell of damp soil and dead leaves filled her nose. Heart thumping in response to her over-active imagination, her mind supplied potential attackers lurking behind each thick trunk, as she crept onwards.
It had all appeared so easy when Pippa had thought up the idea to earn money while Jenny was between jobs. Well, not between jobs exactly … more something to do while she decided what she wanted to do with her life.
The response to her card in the newsagent’s window, within a couple of hours of paying two pounds to place it, had sent her confidence soaring. The small white square of cardboard had been taped to the grimy window between adverts for a plumber and a babysitter.
Her first caller had sounded desperate.
‘I saw your card in the newsagent’s window.’ It was a deep male voice.
‘Oh, wonderful. How can I help?’
‘We’re looking for someone to tackle a house which is out of control.’
‘Out of control? What do you need me to do?’ It sounded more than just a regular cleaning job.
‘Everything on your list and more. A thorough clean and sort out to begin with and then possibly regular maintenance?’
When he’d said that the house was in a wood, she hadn’t envisaged this. This wasn’t a wood, it was a forest. A forest where the sound of a chainsaw tore through the air, setting her teeth on edge.
Parking in the layby, on the country lane up the hill on the way out of Borteen, as she had been instructed, she noted the lopsided Tree Tops sign and warily followed the narrow path into the dark trees. She’d assumed there’d be a driveway and the fact that there wasn’t had her checking the directions she’d written in her new notebook for the tenth time.
How safe was this? She was going to an unknown address, after a phone call from a complete stranger and a male stranger too – madness! What was she thinking?
She moved cautiously past the never-ending trees, senses on full alert and, just as she seemed to be getting closer to the chainsaw blare, it stopped.
The silence left behind was complete for a moment, then birdsong, rustling leaves and a seagull cawing filled the void, as if she’d imagined the jarring machine noise.
At last, she spotted a building. She began to make her way towards it, squealing as an icy drop of water dripped from a branch down the back of her neck.
She stopped dead.
My goodness. Am I in a dream?
Jenny stood still, shocked at the wonder of the structure in front of her.
The building was a fairy-tale castle, made of wood, not stone. Nestled against two huge trees, it blended into its surroundings. There was a small clearing in front of the house, but the trees grew close around the other three sides. The bronze carpet of autumn leaves echoed the browns of the wood. She admired the symmetry of two turrets and two balconies. Glass in the upper arched windows sparkled in the bright sunlight that had appeared after the earlier rainstorm. Once again, she had the feeling of having stepped into an alternate reality.
Who lived in a house like this?
Walking up the wide staircase towards the front door, Jenny’s hand lingered on the silky-smooth banister. The smell of woodsmoke began to fill the air, drifting from further away into the trees. She admired an ornate heart, looking almost like lace rather than woodcarving and linking capital letters ‘C’ and ‘B’ above the doorway.
There was no response to her knock, but as the chainsaw had started up again and dominated the airwaves, she might have missed a shout from within. Her confidence began to wither away. She contemplated returning to her car and forgetting her new business venture altogether.
As the thought of running away surfaced, the memory of the anguish of the past few months hit her full force and she knew she couldn’t give in now, not when she was at last making progress.
Oh my goodness, that makes me really want to carry on reading! My thanks to Lusana at Choc Lit for such a great extract – this is a book I’ll most definitely be adding to my “must read” list.
About the author
Morton lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published as an ebook in January 2017, after she won The Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon. This book is available as a paperback from 10 April 2018.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried was published as an eBook on 1 May 2018. Another romantic suspense novel, the book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.
Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and Reiki master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.