To Find Him and Love Him Again

Tyack & Frayne Book 10 (3)

TFH 3 cover REDO.jpg

This book is the final volume in the To Find Him trilogy.

The reading order for the Tyack & Frayne series is as follows.

1     Once Upon a Haunted Moor

2     Tinsel Fish

3     Don't Let Go

4     Kitto

5     Guardians of the Haunted Moor

6     Third Solstice

7     Preacher, Prophet, Beast

8     Underhill

9     Once Upon a Western Shore

10   To Find Him and Love Him Again, books 1, 2 and 3 

To Find Him and Love Him Again, Book 3

 

In a nightmare city, against all the odds, Gideon and Lee have found each other again. In this place and time they are strangers to each other, and their meeting has astounded them both with the shock of recognition and shared memories.

 

But Alice Rawle’s curse is in full play, and this reunion is the last thing she wants. When Lee vanishes, it’s up to Gideon to rescue him from Alice’s twisted timeline and help him return to their own beloved world.

 

Old friends and strange new enemies, mysterious figures from the wild landscapes of ancient Cornwall – all have come to accompany Gideon and Lee on their journey. Only by trust and love can each one of them escape from the web of Alice’s dream, and only by the renewal of a passion as ancient as the rocks and moorlands of Dark can Lee and Gideon find their way home.

Excerpt

“You idiot,” Lee told him lovingly. “You’ll do this one day, you know—just go running off into the unknown. That’s when you get stabbed.”

Gideon sat up. He’d landed on concrete. Concrete walls surrounded him on four sides. He’d have panicked, but the box had an open top, and over its rim, anxious faces peered, like flowers around the edge of a well. Cadan Tyack, Ravi Ragtree, Jenny. Christine Lawrence, though her expression was savagely vacant, as if he couldn’t fall too far or land hard enough for her.

He’d landed pretty hard. There was no sign of Daz Prowse: just Lee, who was kneeling by a beautiful fair-haired young man. The lad’s head was cradled in his lap, rich curls spilling across his jeans. A little girl was cowering by his side. “It’s all right,” Lee said to her. “This is Gideon, our policeman. He always comes to get everyone out of the holes, the places they don’t want to be. He got you out of the cave under the Cheesewring, and he got Kitto—this poor boy here—out of the cellar in a little village far, far away.”

 

The girl nodded. Something in the shift and fall of her hair pulled Gideon back to Dark, and sitting in the parish house all alone, putting missing-person sheets into plastic wallets one after another, because that’s what he’d been reduced to: getting them waterproofed and ready to tie onto lamp posts and gateways in Bodmin Town and Liskeard. Dark itself was already thick with them. “Oh Christ,” he said, and again, in a prayer to something he couldn’t have defined in his Pagan Cornish heart, some spirit of comfort, some essence of sacred life. “Christ. Christ. That’s Lorna Kemp.”

“Yes. We saved her. You’re starting to remember, Gideon, and so am I. So we have to hold on to this timeline and find our way home.”

 

Lee couldn’t come to Gideon. He couldn’t move, because the boy on the ground was so fragile. But Gideon could go to him. He pushed upright. He’d knocked the wind out of his lungs and a rib or two felt cracked. That was fine. He took a step and then another, and Lee looked up at him in the dusty neon from the lights far overhead and said, “This is really Lorna. And you...” Tears spilled down. “You’re really you.”

 

Gideon fell to his knees. He was careful not to touch the skeletal body with its faintly, faintly moving chest. He put a hand to the side of Lee’s face. “Don’t cry.”

 

“I don’t want to. I want to laugh and run around, and I will just as soon as I work out a way to bring poor Kitto here back to life. Oh, Gideon, what have you done?”

 

“I’ve found you.” Nothing else mattered. Why did it mean so much to him? He barely knew this man, but the warmth of his skin meant home, and his tears meant salty beaches and fresh moorland rain. “That’s what I’ve done. That’s all.”

 

“You’ve trapped yourself down here with me.” There was that note of pure frustrated love again. “You didn’t even look to see how far you were going to jump. She must have known that you’d do it.”

 

“Who? Lorna?”

 

“No. Alice Rawle. She keeps choosing places and scenes where you’ll come rushing in for me—fires, floods, the edges of cliffs. I always get to have Lorna Kemp with me, and sometimes Kitto’s there too, so I can never just run away. She keeps setting traps and baiting them, over and over.”

 

God, how long for? But Gideon didn’t dare ask. If he thought about Lee alone here and tormented, he would lose the bright thread of the simple, worldly things he had to do. “I’ll give you a leg-up. Boost you out that way.”

 

“Oh, brilliant. And then what happens to you?”

 

“You can reach down to pull me up.”

 

Lee shuddered. He pushed his face against Gideon’s hand, and Gideon’s sense of moorland homecoming increased. “It’s too high. For God’s sake, it’s too high. Don’t you think I’ve looked?”

 

“In that case...” Gideon considered. “In that case, it’s easy. We’ve got friends up there. Your dad’s here, Lee, and you know he’d move heaven and earth for you.”

 

“My dad? Cadan?”

 

“Yes, right up there looking down at us. I think he’s shouting, but I can’t hear him.”

 

“I can’t see him. Alice doesn’t like me to see him because he makes me too strong. And you make me strongest of all. That’s why I’ve been so hard for you to find.”

 

“But it’s only been a day or so since I lost you. How can all this have happened? Why did I get to find you now?”

 

“I don’t understand it all yet, but I think there are currents and streams of time. Alice can control them. But she can’t control the people she sweeps up in them, and you must have done something over the last couple of days to make you stronger, more powerfully and absolutely yourself.”

 

Gideon chuckled painfully. “I feel as if I’ve just followed people around. And in the end I got a lift here from Daz Prowse, of all people. Do you remember Daz?”

 

“Oh, God, how could I forget?”

 

“Well, little Daz has made good. I thought he’d jumped down here with us, but... he’s gone. There’s something strange about him, love—aside from the fact that he put military-grade tracking software on your phone so we could find you. So much for my detective skills.”

 

“My phone?” Lee’s eyes became hollow with fear. “I don’t have my phone anymore. Alice Rawle took it off me. If you followed it here...”

 

“Listen. Don’t be scared anymore. I did do something to make me stronger and more myself.”

 

“You went to your DI about Joe Kemp?”

 

“I was on my way, and then you never turned up for our date, and I went to your flat and met your dad. And I found myself telling him that I’d... Oh, God, I’m afraid of you hating me. That I’d been covering for Christine Lawrence, that copper you met at Brighouse. She carried on shooting after the end of the canalside siege, and a boy died—Kat Ragtree, he was called. His brother’s here with us today.”

 

“His brother? Ravi Ragtree?”

 

“Yeah. You know him?”

 

“He’s my local newsagent, for God’s sake. His brother is involved with GBT... Oh, no, Gid. Not poor Kat.”

 

 “Yes. I’m so sorry. And I think I could spend my whole life saying that, being that, and it won’t make any difference unless I make things right now, or better at least. So this is what I want to do.” He waited until Lee’s attention had settled upon him, with all the sweet gravity that had used to make him feel like his plans and his actions could matter in a chaos-fuelled world. “Lay this poor lad down carefully. Then grab Lorna, and I’ll give the two of you a boost. I bet you can hold her high enough for someone up top to reach down for her hands. We’ll get her out at the least, and your dad will take care of her. Take her back home to her mum.”

 

The little girl suddenly uncurled from her terrified crouch beside Lee. Her face brightened with recognition, became the living reality behind all those black-and-white portrait shots. “You’re Mr Constable! Mr Policeman Gid!”

 

“That’s right, my girl.” Oh, yes—that was what Gideon had been. He’d never make CID. Never set Dark afire with his detective brilliance, but every kid in the village knew when and where and how to find him. And he had known where to find them, until this one treasure had tumbled through his net.

“That’s right, Lorna. We’ll get you home.”

 

“That’s what you do—you and Mr Tiger. You take me back home to my mum.”

 

Gideon chuckled. “Mr Tiger, eh? That’s a good name for him. But Mr Tiger’s dad is gonna take you home this time, sweetheart, and you don’t have to worry about a thing. He’s lovely.” He thought about it, trying to find words that would make the poor scrap trust the hands he was about to pass her into. “I wish he was my dad too.”

 

Lee blinked, and seemed to come out of a half-waking trance. “Do you?”

“Oh, hell, yes. I’d marry you just to get him.”

 

Lee gave a snort of laughter. “All right, then. I’m happy to share.” Then all the new lights faded. “But we can’t. The timeline we have to hold on to, the one where you find me and we get to take Lorna home... Cadan’s not there in it. He’s gone.”

 

“Oh, darlin’, don’t think about that.” The endearment fell from Gideon as easily as a kind word for the little girl. “I know you can’t see him, but I promise you he’s right up there. Things are different this time round.”

 

“Great. This is the world where Lorna gets out, and Cadan lives, and you and I die in a hole.”

 

“You and I. The two of us. And the kid goes free.”

 

Lee took hold of his hand and bore it down. “I’m so sad for Kitto,” he said. “He tried so hard to get back through the worlds, and he’s just a kid too. We can’t lift him up, Gid—he’d never survive.”

 

“We’ll be here. He’ll die before we do. He’ll never have to be alone again.”

“And that’s... that’s enough for you?”

 

“Of course not. I want to go back to Dark with you, to the house I keep seeing in my mind, with an orchard and a little girl running around. I want this poor lad to get out too. He looks like a surfer. I’d like to see him riding the big wave at Newlyn, the Cribbar. But if that’s the price—you, me and him...”

 

“You’d pay it?”

 

Gideon lifted Lee’s hand to his mouth. Tenderly, deliberately, he kissed the knuckles. “Yes.”

 

“Oh, Gid!” Lee tore his hand away, but only so that he could throw both arms around Gideon’s neck and hold on. “Me, too. I would, too!”