A Love Most Haunted

Follow the ghost hunting crew of TV’s Haunt and Seek, through the night as they investigate an English country manor and its infamous lover’s curse.

Show host, Valerie Eccelston, and historian, Dr. Ryan Hawkins, are mutually attracted, but their time to explore romantic possibilities is hindered as the resident ghosts keep the team busy. One ghost seeks redemption for killing his family, a lonely one waits for love, and the other three form a deadly triangle involving love, jealousy, and revenge. Val, Ryan, and the rest of the ghost hunting crew strive to help the spirits find their way back to love but first the mortals must wage a paranormal war against evil. Along the way, the hunters seek their own path to love.

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“Ready to shoot?” George steadied the large video camera on his shoulder. “Let’s get the opening monologues first. Val, stand here in the garden with the house in the background. Set?” He counted down silently with his fingers, three, two, one, then pointed for her to begin.

Val brushed a strand of breeze-blown hair off her face. “Hello and welcome to Haunt and Seek. Tonight the team will investigate Haventon Hills Manor. People have reported ghostly apparitions, inexplicable noises, appliances turning on and off on their own, and objects disappearing and reappearing elsewhere.”

She pointed to the three-storied manor’s upper floor. “Where the servants’ chambers were originally located, people have smelled flowers when none were there. In other parts of the estate…” She spread her fingers and gestured in a circular motion. “The frightening screams of a woman and child have been heard. Tragic accident or grisly murder? Also, rumors swirl concerning a lover’s curse that prevents couples from having a happy stay. Is there more to these unsettling stories? Come with us as we endeavor to find out.”

“Cut! Good.” George pointed toward the opening of a ten-foot-tall hedge maze. “Okay, Ryan, you stand there.”

Cassandra ran over and turned down Ryan’s unruly shirt collar. She combed the fringe off his forehead and straightened his tweed jacket. “Men. Honestly,” she said in mock frustration.

Ryan smiled and shrugged apologetically. George waited for Cassandra to retreat from camera range, and then counted down.

Ryan cleared his throat. “The history of Haventon Hills Manor dates back to the early eighteenth century. A wealthy industrialist, William Bennington, built the original estate, located only a few hours carriage ride from London. He threw huge parties for the rich and fashionable. Bennington hired Ronald Swinfield, the famous landscape architect, to design the gardens. It took Swinfield five years to complete this living masterpiece. Shockingly, he was found dead only a few days after he finished the project. The murderer, a young man who worked on the estate, was hung on the sycamore that still stands in the middle of the maze.” Ryan paused while Charlie videoed the tree over the top of the tall hedge.

“But these are not the only gruesome deaths associated with the property. A suspicious fire in 1771 partially destroyed the house. The owner’s wife and young daughter perished in the smoke. A century after that horrible incident, Lady Beatrice Bennington bought Haventon Hills. A Victorian-era spinster from an old-money family and a distant relative of the original owner lovingly restored the estate to its former glory. Lady Beatrice was renowned for her social events flowing with floral displays and crisp, bubbly champagne.”

“Cut!” George called. “Time to go inside and film, starting with the ‘lights on’ part of the investigation. Then we’ll turn the lights off and use the night-vision cameras.”

In the growing darkness, a nighthawk’s screech cut through the air and Cassandra shivered. “Must we go in? That’s a lot of death.”

Val silently agreed. She wiped her damp palms on her pants and gazed up at the mansion. Three stories of vacant, vacuous windows dared the team to enter and meddle in the history, sorrow, and secrets.

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