Glinhaven by Deborah O'Toole is a traditional gothic fiction novel similar in style to classic 1970s paperbacks written by Dorothy Daniels, Marilyn Harris, Victoria Holt, Marilyn Ross (aka Dan Curtis), and Phyllis Whitney.


Piper Hunt leaves Boston to take over her grandfather's unique curio shop in Glinhaven. While adjusting to life in the quaint seaside village, she uncovers dark secrets hidden at the forbidding Glinhaven Monastery which may unlock mysteries from her past.

From Chapter Three

PIPER FELT AS IF SHE had only been asleep for a few minutes when she awoke with a start. She glanced to the bed-stand digital clock and saw that it was half-past three in the morning. Rubbing her eyes with a yawn, she sat up and leaned against the pillows. The room was inky dark and deathly quiet. Why had she awakened suddenly? Annoyed, she closed her eyes and slid back into a prone position. Sith was curled up beside her, sleeping.

Then she heard a muffled crash. The sound came from downstairs, as if something in the curio shop had been knocked over. Piper sat upright again, her eyes wide in the dark. She pulled the bedcovers up to her chin, listening for more. She heard Sith give a sleepy, weak meow next to her, but he did not move. The silence stretched on for several minutes, almost deafening in its mockery. She had just about convinced herself nothing was amiss when she heard light footfalls on the staircase leading from the shop to the apartment. In that same instant, Moggy Malone came running into the bedroom, a low growl emanating from her chest, to be followed by a long, threatening hiss. She ran under the bed, as if to hide herself.

Piper swung her legs over, resting her feet on the floor. She had begun using her own bedroom the second night back in Glinhaven, eschewing her grandfather's quarters because they made her melancholy. She knew her own bedroom like the back of her hand, having grown up within its four walls. Nothing much had changed since she was a teenager. The chintz draperies were as old as she was, and the four-poster double bed had once been her mother's.

She ran her hand along the mattress, stopping at the foot of the bed where she'd left her thick, blue terrycloth robe the night before. She shrugged into the robe quickly, standing to secure the sash. She paused briefly, her ears alert. The footfalls on the staircase were closer now. Whoever was coming her way didn't have much further to go. She had no escape, unless she wanted to meet the intruder on the steps. Meanwhile, Moggy Malone was still growling and hissing from under the bed, which further alarmed Piper.

She walked on her tiptoes across the floor, halting when she reached the doorway to her bedroom. She stepped into the hallway, using the soft fuzziness of her winter booties to slide-walk on the hardwood floor in the direction of the bathroom. Once inside, she left the door ajar and hurried to the tub-shower arrangement on the far side of the room. She got into the long tub, slowly drawing the shower curtain closed. She leaned against the tiles, taking short breaths to steady her nerves.

Piper still felt exposed and helpless. As her eyes adjusted to the dark, she used her hand to feel for the heavy wooden back-brush she knew rested on a peg by the shower nozzle. Once she held it secure, she stood motionless, waiting expectantly. If someone found her in the shower, she'd give them a good head wallop with the brush. She was determined not to go down without a fight, outraged that someone was trespassing into her home.

"My cell phone," she thought with a sense of panic. "Where did I leave my cell phone?" Then it came to her. The cell phone was in her purse, which she'd left in the living room the night before. Fat lot of good it did her now. She could not call out for help, and even if she screamed, who could hear her? Cam was surely sound asleep on his boat by now, and none of the establishments along Main Street were open at this hour.

The footfalls were in the hallway now, their pace slow and measured. Piper held her breath, gripping the back-brush tighter. Then it went quiet. She strained to hear encroaching steps, but there was nothing. The minutes seem to stretch on interminably, broadening her already raw nerves in the process. Was the intruder out in the hall, waiting for her to make a move? Or had they left the building, unable to find her in her bed?

As if in answer to her questions, Piper heard the distant jingle coming from the front door bell of the curio shop. Someone had just entered or left the premises. Had another intruder arrived, or was she now alone in the dark? She decided to wait another five minutes. If there were no more sounds of movement, she'd take a chance and leave her hiding place. If the intruder was still present, flipping on all the lights might scare him or her away.

After the self-allotted time had passed, Piper drew aside the shower curtain and stepped out of the tub slowly. She held the back-brush firmly, making her way to the bathroom door. Reaching her free hand around the frame, she found the hallway light switch and flipped it to the ON position.

A soft glow flooded the hallway, revealing the empty space as it always appeared. She left the bathroom, back-brush upraised in readiness, and made her way down the hallway to the living room. Her skin tingled with fear of the unknown. Her intruder could still be in the flat, waiting in the dark to attack her. She forced herself forward, reaching down to turn on the tiffany lamp in the living room. She spied her purse resting on her grandfather's glider rocking chair. Darting across the room, she dug inside until she found her cell phone. She immediately dialed 911, her hand shaking as she looked around the room. Her eyes wide with fright, she fully expected to find someone watching her, but she was blessedly alone.

"Glinhaven Police," her call was answered. "Deputy Ross speaking. What is the state of your emergency?"

"My name is Piper Hunt," she hissed into her cell phone. "I live above The Thistle curio shop on Main Street. Someone broke in just a short while ago. I'm here alone. Please help me."

"Is the intruder still present, Ma'am?"

"No, I think they left but I'm not sure. Please, send help."

"Hold tight, we're on our way."

Piper flung the cell phone back into the rocking chair, a slight sob escaping her lips. The adrenalin of fear drained from her body, leaving her weak and clammy. Her muscles felt like jelly as she sagged against the back of the rocking chair for support, her mouth agape. She heard a siren in the distance, which seemed to give her little reassurance.

Gripping the back-brush with both hands, Piper retreated to a corner of the living room, her eyes wild. She raised the brush over her head again, waiting for an attack she was certain was still to come and for which she was fully prepared to defend herself against.

That was how Deputy Ross found her five minutes later.


GLINHAVEN ©Deborah O'Toole. All rights reserved.

"Glinhaven" may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the author. "Glinhaven" is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental.