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Unhallowed Ground by Gillian White {Excerpt}

Unhallowed Ground by Gillian White {Excerpt}

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Published by OpenRoadMedia
Angela Harper’s life has never been simple. She’s an orphan who spent her childhood in foster homes. Her handsome, charming husband Billy can’t hold down a job. And they’re both stuck in a grimy London flat with no prospects for their future beyond the periodic welfare check. That is, until Ange concocts a lie that will change their lives. Her con targets the wealthy, twice-divorced businessman Fabian Ormerod, whom, with the approval of her husband, she is determined to trick into a very advantageous marriage—with a quick divorce to follow.
Angela Harper’s life has never been simple. She’s an orphan who spent her childhood in foster homes. Her handsome, charming husband Billy can’t hold down a job. And they’re both stuck in a grimy London flat with no prospects for their future beyond the periodic welfare check. That is, until Ange concocts a lie that will change their lives. Her con targets the wealthy, twice-divorced businessman Fabian Ormerod, whom, with the approval of her husband, she is determined to trick into a very advantageous marriage—with a quick divorce to follow.

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Published by: OpenRoadMedia on Feb 05, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/29/2013

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UNHALLOWED GROUND
By Gillian White
ONCE UPON A TIME, it is said, the devil walked in this valley. His progress wasmarked by a straight line of hoofprints, black two-legged tracks on a light dusting of snow, over shippen and stable, stone wall and stile, through graveyard and frozen furrow. No detours.Legend has it that Millie Blunt, a silly wench, recovered his codpiece from the bough of an oak while searching there for mistletoe. The hapless girl spirited it home believing it held all manner of powers. She slept with it under her pillow one night - itmust have been uncomfortable - when the moon flooded her attic room through her littlecasement window, and she never spoke another sane word from that day until she died, poor soul.Though why the devil should choose a valley such as this for a survey, or agathering of souls, was always far from clear; there were such few souls, even then nomore than twelve, in the hamlet of Wooton-Coney, and the few there were wereundoubtedly Christian and safely hidden behind shutters on howling nights such as those.As pious and God-fearing a community as any. The church itself, and the graveyardthrough which the devil walked, collapsed way back in the seventeenth century, and onlyrubble and lichened old gravestones remain to mark the spot. At some unrecordedmoment in history the weathervane from the crumbled church spire was rescued from thedebris, and for the last 200 years that bent tin cockerel has swung round on its rusty perchon the gabled end of the Buckpits' barn.Centuries later, and Georgina Jefferson is as opposite in character to the blighted wenchin the fable as it would be possible to get. Educated and cultured, she is sane,
 she is sane.
Where Millie Blunt was free with her favours and considered something of a halfwit fromthe start (the preacher rapped hard on the pulpit and disclaimed her in church, called her child the devil's spawn), her teachers wrote in her termly reports that Georgina could go
 
 far. There is nothing melodramatic about her, unlike the troubled Millie with her wildtangled hair and her flashing eyes and her lies. When her child died she swore that thedevil had come in the night and smothered it. In character Georgina is solid as a rock, notmorbid or sentimental, not given to the flights of fancy in which so many of her friends-indulge. So when she first heard this devilish tale it certainly did not unnerve her,although she did think, as a professional, that poor Millie's predicament would be moremercifully dealt with these days. She wouldn't recognize a codpiece if she saw one, shewould probably think it was some piece of saddlery. Practical and sensible, Georginadoes not over-indulge. She sits and watches while lesser mortals get rat-faced and make^ prats of themselves at parties, she is the one with tomato juice and a dab of Worcester sauce, the complete one, the one who drives.Boring perhaps? A shade too cautious?Certainly not. Not a bit of it. She is glad she is not one of these irresponsible folk;their lack of control shocks her, for she cannot bear to relinquish it, not in bed, not in thekitchen, and thus her ' meals (and her sheets) tend to be dry, with each taste a neat andseparate daub on the plate. She would rather do without gravy, or too many dangerousspicy sauces.So we can see that Georgina Jefferson, forty-two, slim, dark and attractive, whoshops for her clothes at Marks & Spencer, sends Lifeboat cards at Christmas, is a solid,dependable person, concerned, right-thinking and busy. She knows who she is, believesthat virtue carries its own reward and is satisfied with that.And that is why it is such a worry for her to believe, like poor Millie before her,
that  she is gradually going insane.
And, like Millie, there's no help to be had.

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