Today its my turn on the blog tour for The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall by Kathleen McGurl, the tour is hosted by Jenny over at Neverland blog tours. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to read this book yet, but hopefully I will get to it soon, I do have an extract from The Daughters Of Red Hill Hall which you can read below.
Blurb: When Gemma discovers a pair of ancient duelling pistols encrusted with rubies in the basement of the local museum, she is immediately intrigued…
On a fateful night in 1838 two sisters were found shot in the cellars of Red Hill Hall. And when Gemma begins to delve deeper into their history she begins to realise that the secrets of that night are darker than anyone had ever imagined.
As the shocking events of the past begin to unravel, Gemma’s own life starts to fall apart. Loyalties are tested and suddenly it seems as if history is repeating itself, as Gemma learns that female friendships can be deadly…
The pain was unimaginable. Red-hot blades of it shot through Rebecca’s furiously throbbing shoulder, pumping blood across the cellar floor. She lay in agony, groaning, but managed a glance over to where Sarah lay, just a few feet away. The other girl was also bleeding profusely from a shot to her abdomen. The pair of pistols lay discarded on the floor where they had been dropped, their ruby-encrusted stocks glittering in the candlelight.
Rebecca felt strangely detached from the scene. She watched as blood from her shoulder flowed across the floor to meet with the pool that spread from Sarah’s skirts. Their life forces mingled and combined, indistinguishable from each other. It was fitting, she thought, that two women who’d been so close in life should be together as they died. For she was certain they would both die from their wounds. It was better that way. They couldn’t both live. Not after all that had happened between them, after all the hurt they had caused each other.
Sarah moaned in pain, and her eyes flickered open. Rebecca stared at her across the cellar and a wave of compassion flooded through her. She reached out a hand towards her one-time best friend and adopted sister, causing her pain level to escalate yet further. She watched as with a huge effort Sarah shifted her position and reached out too, until their fingers touched. One last heave and Rebecca was able to entwine her fingers with Sarah’s. She felt a weak squeeze in return, telling her the gesture was appreciated. Sarah groaned and sighed, and Rebecca watched as her adored sister’s eyes closed. Only then did she allow her own eyes to close as she slipped into blissful, pain-free darkness.
Spencer, the butler, had heard something. He’d been putting away the glassware used at dinner when he heard the explosion. It sounded like a shot, or rather two shots, coming almost simultaneously. He hurried along the servants’ corridor in search of the source of the noise, and spotted the door to the cellars standing open. It should have been locked shut – they kept a valuable store of wines down there. Spencer snatched up an oil lamp, rushed down the cellar steps and made his way through the labyrinth of rooms and tunnels that made up the cellars of Red Hill Hall. ‘Hello? Is anyone there?’ he called, his voice sounding shaky and nervous even to himself. Another door was standing open – the one that led to the coal store. From there a flight of steps led to the grounds of the hall. Someone could have come in – and then escaped – by that route.
At last, in an empty room beyond the wine cellar, Spencer found the source of the noise. He gasped as he angled the lamplight onto the two mounds on the floor and recognised them as Miss Rebecca and Miss Sarah. His adored Sarah – that wonderful, vivacious girl who could light up a room with her smile. Their fingers were linked together, as though they’d been holding hands when they were shot, perhaps trying to save each other.
‘Oh my word, girls, what has happened?’ he muttered as he approached. His foot kicked something, and looking round he saw one of the old master’s duelling pistols. The other one lay close by as well. He cursed himself for not keeping the pistols under lock and key. Someone had clearly got in, probably via the coal store, stolen them from where they were kept in a cupboard in the first cellar, and shot the two beautiful young ladies, whose whole lives had been ahead of them. But why had the girls been in the cellar? He shook his head. Now was not the time to ponder such things. He knelt down in the pool of still-warm blood and checked for signs of life. One of them had no pulse. There was nothing he could do for her. But the other was breathing and had a faint, if erratic, pulse. If he acted quickly, maybe, just maybe, she could be saved.
About the author
Author Bio: Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, with her husband, sons and cats. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present., and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.
When not writing or working at her full-time job in IT, she likes to go out running or swimming, both of which she does rather slowly. She is definitely quicker at writing.
You can find out more at her Website or follow her on Twitter @KathMcGurl