Official sneak peek into the first book released by author TP Hogan

SHATTERED is a stand-alone novel

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Mattie grinned as she raced up the stairs. She hadn’t taken the time to watch a movie just for the fun of it in ages and there was nothing better to do on a rainy afternoon. As she left her room again, Stacey came out from behind a panel across the hallway carrying a bottle of window cleaner and a roll of paper towel.

"Don’t tell me this place has secret passages."

"No Miss, just servant ones."

In the two weeks she’d been here she had finally got Stacey to stop curtsying every time the maid saw her. Although she hadn’t quite stopped Stacey from calling her ‘Miss’. It made Mattie feel like a school teacher.

"Where does this go?"

"To the kitchen."

"Cool. Can I use it?"

"I don’t see no reason not to, it’s just nobody but staff does."

Stacey showed her how to open the panel then returned to cleaning the glass. The panel opened to a landing with an elevator and the entrance to a set of stone stairs.

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Deciding on exploration rather than convenience Mattie took the stairs.

The steps were narrow and showed signs of wear with a shallow depression in the middle of each tread. The walls on either side were covered in faded tapestry carpet. She assumed it had something to do with keeping the stairwell warmer than bare stone. About halfway down the stairs the tapestries on the walls gave way to two huge mirrors from floor to ceiling. Beyond the mirrors the tapestry carpet continued but Mattie stopped to look at her reflections.

"To infinity and beyond." She joked as she turned towards the right hand wall and gave herself a wave. The reflected reflections gave an endlessly reflected wave in return and she laughed. Looking over her shoulder to see her reflection from behind she froze.

The man from her bathroom had returned.

She spun.

He wasn’t on the stairs.

Slowly she looked at the mirror on the left side of the stairs. He was most definitely there. He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there looking at her. Switching her gaze to the mirror on the right hand side of the stairs she didn’t see him. He wasn’t there.

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She looked from mirror to mirror a few times more just to be certain.

How could he be in one mirror and not the other?

Why wasn’t he on the stairs?

Her heart pounded in overdrive as one answer came to her.

He was Jonathan’s ghost.

She stared at him for a moment but he didn’t move or do anything sinister. If anything he seemed as surprised to see her as she was to see him. He was dressed in an old fashioned dark suit with a jacket that fell past his knees. Underneath his jacket he wore a dark grey waistcoat with light grey pinstripes, a silver cravat held with what looked like a diamond pin. A stiff white shirt collar peeked out above the cravat circling his neck and she could just see a black ribbon that held his dark hair back from his face.

His square jaw was clean shaven, his lower lip was fuller than his top and his nose was straight without being perfect. His high cheekbones gave his eyes a slightly boyish curve and their green colour could put emeralds to shame. He could have been considered classically handsome except his face was too masculine, almost too hard.

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There was a tiny scar that sat at the edge of his left eyebrow and the slight flaw to his nose worked well to give him the aura of danger. She doubted she could do him justice if she were to draw him but how she wanted to.

To her great astonishment he suddenly grinned and gave an elaborate bow. She’d been involved in a theatre production of something-or-other a few years ago and had learnt to do a proper curtsy so she dipped into one now with her head slightly bowed. If the ghost was going to be polite she might as well return the compliment. When she came out of the curtsy he was staring at her with a stunned expression. Perhaps he hadn’t seen a curtsy for a while.

"I know it wasn’t that crash hot but you don’t need to stare."

He mouthed something.

Mattie shook her head and shrugged. She couldn’t hear him. He pointed at her, placed two fingers under his eyes then pointed at himself.

She knew nothing about sign language but she took it to mean…Can you see me?... and nodded.

He shook his head as he stepped up to the glass and placed his hand against it. She placed her hand against his.

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Suddenly he disappeared.

She stepped back from the mirror but all she could see was her endless reflections. For a moment she waited to see if he would return but he didn’t.

"Okay." She said to herself then laughed.

Here she was, the girl who didn’t believe in ghosts, standing in the middle of a set of stone steps waiting at a mirror for a ghost to reappear.

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