Today I will be sharing an extract for my spot on the blog tour for the novel Fox Halt Farm by Celia Moore. This one is available now. There is also an international giveaway going on! Be sure to check it out!
Opening on a cliff edge, Billy finds herself alone and betrayed. She believes everyone and everything she loves is threatened. Richard’s world is aglow with wealth, love and unswerving family loyalty but then his perfect life crosses Billy’s. He could save Billy, her beloved dairy cows and Fox Halt Farm but this young woman isn’t in the mood to be rescued.
Nothing will stay the same. Should they trust each other? Will their secrets tear their lives apart?
Fox Halt Farm is hard to put down. The story cracks along and you are caught up in Celia Moore’s vivid storytelling from the start. If you love novels by Jill Mansell, Fiona Valpy, Lucinda Riley, Maeve Binchy and Danielle Steel you will love this novel too!
July 1989 Berkeley Square, London
Richard is just like Mum’s photo which sits on the sideboard at Fox Halt Farm; seeming no older, and equally smart in his three-piece suit and wide-striped shirt with a button-down collar. There is no whiff of the rotten fish from the last time I was near him, instead I inhale drifts of vanilla as he opens a door to another room.
‘This is your office; it’s just for the two of you.’ He waves his arm into a room no bigger than a large cupboard. ‘Sorry.’ Richard says, sounding embarrassed. ‘This was the only place we could find for you. We haven’t taken on a third graduate because we couldn’t find any more space to accommodate them.’
‘Isn’t this an eight-storey building?’ Simon asks, sounding as surprised as I feel; there isn’t even a window.
‘No, nine, but the business keeps expanding. We are taking on two floors in the building next door. We should have the extra space by Christmas, so I promise you more luxury then.’
In our ‘office’ two small desks with a computer on each, are jammed tight together. There is just one phone, which either of us could reach at a stretch. I wonder what we’ll be expected to do? ‘I’ll show you the rest of the place.’ Richard turns away, expecting us to follow.
There are people in every nook and cranny. Cigarette smoke swirls up behind low partitions, and the racket from each member of staff trying to make themselves heard above their neighbours, or shouting out of self-importance, makes me suddenly relieved we have our cupboard to hide in. Everyone greets us enthusiastically, laughing loudly with crass quips like ‘Welcome to the madhouse,’ and ‘You will love it here.’
There is no warmth in the final department we enter. The large open-plan room occupies more than half a floor and it is as though all its occupants immediately hate us. ‘This is the typing pool and these ‘lovely ladies’ will be doing all your letters for you,’ Richard says. I can’t believe we won’t be able to do our own typing. I wish we could because this is not a typing pool, this is more like a lagoon of insidious alligators.
‘I’ll introduce you to Chantelle, she has started here today too.’ Richard walks up to a Chinese looking girl who is about our age.
‘I am not new to MarcFenn,’ she explains, ‘this is a transfer for me.’ She speaks with a soft French accent.
‘Oh,’ Simon says. I notice he has grown an inch in height and how he has set his shoulders back.
‘Yes.’ Chantelle smiles at him. ‘I requested a move here for three months from the Paris office. I wanted to improve my English.’ I think Chantelle doesn’t need to improve her language skills, and I think that Simon has fallen in love in an instant.
‘I am Simon,’ he tells her, holding out his hand. ‘This is Billy.’ His voice sounds posher than I’ve ever heard it before.
‘Pleased to meet you.’ Chantelle raises a perfectly shaped eyebrow a fraction, and I see how she squeezes his hand gently. She is beautiful; her long black hair has red highlights and dark make-up emphasises her black eyes. The tilt of her head and dimpled smile make it look like she is up to mischief, God help you, Simon. I think.
Richard interrupts my thoughts. ‘We’ll go back to my office now,’ he says. ‘We can discuss what I have in mind for you both to do.’ It sounds like we may have options.
About the Author:
Celia Moore (1967-now) grew up on a small farm near Exeter. She had a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor working in the City of London before working her way back to Devon. In 2000, she left the office to start a new adventure as an outdoor instructor, teaching rock climbing and mountaineering. Today she gardens for a few lovely customers, runs and writes (accompanied at all times by a border terrier x jack russell called Tizzy). She is running the London Marathon in April 2019 for three cancer charities.
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