Excerpt: The Secrets of Chateau Swansea by R.C. Matthews

THE SECRETS OF CHATEAU SWANSEA
R.C. Matthews
The Secrets of Chateau Swansea
Genre: Gothic Romance
Publication Date: October 1, 2018
A grisly murder leaves a haunted estate without an heir, and a powerful medium scrambles to find answers from beyond the grave.
Determined to escape the nightmarish memories of her childhood, heiress and psychic Maribeth Sommerset pursues the adventurous life of a psychic investigator, beginning with a murder and the spirits who hover behind at the haunted Chateau Swansea
Meanwhile, devoted steward of the chateau Arthur Dunn plays a dangerous game of deception to shield his employer’s good name, landing himself at the top of Maribeth’s suspect list.
Amid scandalous secrets and destructive lies, will Maribeth uncover the secrets of Chateau Swansea before the killer strikes again?
Don’t miss out on this thrilling Victorian gothic romance!

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Excerpt

Excerpt #4 – The Murder Scene

“The newspaper article mentioned other witnesses,” she said as she strolled through the chamber. “Who spoke of eerie wails and creaking floors?”

“Mrs. Hawkins, the housekeeper, as well as Mrs. Pickering, the cook.”

He folded his arms as she ran her lithe fingers across every available surface, occasionally closing her eyes and breathing deep. A sense of calm serenity surrounded her. Her steps were cautious, her focus absolute. He may as well have not existed for all the attention she afforded him.

“Would you care to inspect the balcony?” he asked, unlocking the double glass-paned doors.

She nodded and followed him outside. A lounging chair covered in a bold, floral pattern filled one corner. The short ledge around the perimeter, which barely reached Arthur’s shins, held several potted plants.

Maribeth sat on the ledge, exactly in the spot where Mrs. Turner fell, and she peered over the edge to the pond below. After bracing her palms on the ledge, she met his gaze. “This is where she tumbled, is it not?”

“Yes, indeed.” He dipped his head in acknowledgment. A lucky guess for a cunning lady. Let the show commence. “Is Mrs. Turner here with us?”

Turning her face skyward, she breathed in and out with long, measured breaths, closing her eyes, no doubt for dramatic effect. At least the woman was not predisposed to talking to the dead out loud. He found such one-sided conversations laughable.

“I’m afraid not,” she finally said on a sigh.

Why didn’t she leap at the opportunity to demonstrate her skills? This was the murder scene. If any connection was to be found, surely it was here. Confounding. He had no other word for the woman. Except inexperienced. She was green and had yet to hone her skills of deception.

“What did Mr. Turner say when questioned?” she asked, pulling him from his musings.

“Nothing.” Arthur lowered himself on the foot of the chaise longue and stretched out his legs. “By the time his solicitor arrived to attend the interrogation, Mr. Turner’s mind had slipped into oblivion.”

She lifted an eyebrow. “Do you think he knows what occurred?”

Arthur shrugged. “He resides across the hallway, and the incident occurred shortly before the scheduled Thursday tour. As such, Mr. Turner would’ve taken to his quarters to avoid the throng of visitors.” He focused his gaze on the doorway into Caroline’s chamber, away from Maribeth’s prying eyes. “I venture he must’ve heard something, at the very least.”

“Perhaps creaking floors or the wails of a malevolent ghost?” A hint of humor tinged her words. “Why do you suppose the rumors of the ghost of Madame Brown persist?”

The corners of Arthur’s lips curled up. “Well, for one, where is the sense in touring the séance chamber if it isn’t haunted by the infamous clairvoyant who resided here?”

“I see.” Maribeth folded her legs at the ankle, tapping her booted heels against the stone ledge. “So your employer is an opportunist?”

A gruff laugh escaped him. “By no means. The tours were his wife’s idea. She held a macabre fascination with the dead.” Among other things. “Even more so, I believe she enjoyed torturing Mr. Turner. He visited Chateau Swansea for a séance a few years before he met and married Caroline. When the former mistress died in childbirth, Mr. Turner acquired the estate and accepted guardianship of Madame Brown’s daughter. I believe Mr. Turner held an enduring love for the clairvoyant. Some say Arabella was jealous of Caroline living in her home and raising her daughter.”

The tap, tap, tap of Maribeth’s boots against the ledge stopped, and she shook her head. “The Turners were married ages ago. Why would the ghost attack now?”

“Because Mrs. Turner held a ceremony with her sister in the séance chamber only a week before the incident. This is why Mrs. Marsh worries the ghost may have murdered her sister.”

Her mouth formed a little O and her brow lifted with interest. “That’s right. You mentioned this at the inn. A first attempt?”

Tour Schedule

Follow the tour from October 1 – 14, 2018.
Visit each stop daily and discover more features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more!
To check the latest schedule, visit the The Secrets of Chateau Swansea Book Page at Book Unleashed.

About R.C. Matthews

R.C. Matthews

R.C. Matthews is the author of contemporary and historical romances featuring bold, sassy heroines and magnetic alpha heroes. Warning! The chemistry between her characters is off the charts hot, so read at your own risk. She resides in the Midwest and is surrounded by men: her husband and three sons. During her free time you’ll find her watching The Walking Dead, reading a fabulous book or hanging out with her family.
Official website: http://www.rcmatthews.com
Social Media Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway

WIN FREE EBOOK BY R.C. MATTHEWS
The Secrets of Chateau Swansea Giveaway Graphic
Winner’s Prize:
Devil’s Core by R.C. Matthews (eBook) – The first book in a related series in which we first meet the heroine of The Secrets of Chateau Swansea when she is a little girl.

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