When Billy reaches out to help, her kindness brings many changes which threaten hopes, homes, and even the people she loves the most.
Who is the Culmfield Cuckoo?
Will they help Billy get her life back? Or is the Cuckoo the cause of everything that is going wrong?
Who is telling the truth?
FOX HALT FARM, the first book in the series, is Free from Tuesday 2nd April 12am PDT finishing on Saturday 6th 11.59pm PDT
I featured a guest post last month from Celia Moore, all about writing her novel Fox Halt Farm, and I am now delighted, to post an extract here of the newly published Culmfield Cuckoo. This new novel is the second of Celia’s planned Fox Halt Farm trilogy, but it can be read as a standalone too.
Fox Halt Farm, Devon, England
Saturday 26 July
“…‘Darling girl, of course you can stay,’ I reply. I feel Jessie’s body tense up so Richard’s contradictory words don’t register at first. ‘You need to go,’ he says. His stern response conjures up Jessie’s husband, Michael, into my mind, and this new thought runs a shiver along my spine.
Jessie turns to leave. ‘No. Please, Jessie, stay,’ I say, pulling her back.
‘Billy, I don’t want to be here.’ Her response is icy. ‘This was Mary’s idea. We should never have come.’
‘I wanted to see you, Auntie, and Fox Halt Farm wasn’t far to come.’ Mary hesitates, her cheeks colouring to match her mother’s clothes. ‘We didn’t have enough money to go any further or enough to pay for somewhere to stay.’
I stare at Jessie but all she does is shrug at me. ‘Come on,’ I say, making my voice upbeat. ‘I’ll take you over to the farmhouse, we can talk there. You can tell me what’s happened. And why you’re here.’
Jessie nods but her eyes are focused on the floor. She continues to examine the ground as I shepherd her across the yard towards my home. Mary follows us.
‘They must go first thing in the morning,’ Richard calls out. He turns to Jessie. ‘Where’s your car?’
‘What does it matter?’ I snap back at him because I want him to be caring, he is usually so kind.
‘I suspect Michael doesn’t know where his wife and daughter are. Am I right, Jessie?’ Richard asks, his words full of disdain.
Jessie speaks at last. ‘He doesn’t know.’ She hasn’t looked up and her stance makes me think of a swan bending her graceful neck downwards to avoid the attention of a predator.
Richard is beside us now. ‘If Michael turns up here,’ he tells me, ‘I don’t want Jessie’s car confirming she’s here.’ His eyes are slits, like a fox.
‘It’s okay, we came by taxi; Mum never drives,’ Mary reassures him.
In the quiet and messy kitchen, I sit my reluctant visitor down, and I drop onto a mismatched chair beside her. I want to ask a hundred questions. I can’t believe the way she looks, this is not the beautiful and self-assured woman I remember. ‘What’s happened, Jessie?’ I ask.
She doesn’t answer. Her gaze is now transfixed on our fat, orange cat who has just jumped onto her lap and is kneading her bones.
Eventually, she looks up at me. ‘Billy, I’m tired. We’ll talk in the morning.’
I touch her arm. ‘I am so sorry,’ I tell her. I am not sorry that she is here, nor am I concerned about the reasons that might have brought her and her daughter to Fox Halt Farm tonight. I am full of remorse about what I did in the past, terrified that Jessie will never forgive my foolish affair with her husband…”
Thank you, Celia Moore and Rachel’s Random Resources.
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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