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Authors: Angela Verdenius

The Wells Brothers: Luke

BOOK: The Wells Brothers: Luke
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Wells Brothers bk 1)






Angela Verdenius









2016 Angela Verdenius

Rights Reserved



Cover image courtesy
of ©

by Angela Verdenius



ebook Edition
License Notes

part of this book may be reproduced, resold, copied or given away in any form
without prior consent of the author & publisher.

characters and towns are figments of the author’s imagination and bear no
resemblance to any person living or deceased.





I found that some overseas readers
were having difficulty with the Australian slang, so I thought a list of the
slang I’ve used will help while reading the following story.  If I’ve forgotten
any, I do apologise!  Also, you’ll find some of our Aussie words have different
spelling to the US.   Interestingly enough, as I’ve grown (gracefully) older, I
find a lot of our slang is bypassing the younger generation, so if a young
Aussie says they have never heard a certain word, don’t be surprised!  But
trust me, I’ve used these words all my life growing up, and so have a lot of my
family and friends.  Does that make me an older Aussie?  Heck yes!  LOL







Ambos -
ambulance officers

- afternoon


-  beautiful,
awesome, great, wonderful

- berserk

- as in ‘awesome,

- biscuits.  The
same as cookies

- biker, person who
rides motorcycles.

- man/men

- a swear word ‘no
bloody good’, in place of ‘no damned good’

- idiot,
simpleton, etc.  It’s an insult, though sometimes we use it as a term of
affection.  It depends on how it is said and meant.

Boot (of a car)
- trunk

Brown nose
- currying
favour, sucking up.  Has a cruder description, but let’s not go into that
here.  Means the same thing!

Budgie smugglers
- men’s
bathers, small, brief and tight-fitting

- many Aussie use
it as a slang word for ‘broken’ (it’s buggered), ‘tired (I’m buggered), and ‘no
way’ (I’m buggered if I’m going to do that).  Just some examples

- as in ‘bunging
onto something’, putting on something (bung veggies on a plate, putting veggies
on a plate), usually in a careless or ‘easy’ manner.

Bush rangers

- die, died.

- in Australia we have cold crunchy chips from a packet, or hot chips known in some countries as
French Fries

- carpenter

Crash cart
- resuscitation
trolley in a hospital or medical setting - used for life threatening situations
such as cardiac arrest

– temper

- face

- silly, idiot

- (as in attached to a
truck) - trailers, enclosed or not, that carry goods or are empty.

- like a padded quilt
that fits inside a cover and lies on the bed.  Can have the warmth of two,
three or four blankets, etc.

- penis.  Also another
meaning is a place people sometimes sleep in, such as ‘dongers’ on mine sites.

- toilet.  When used
in the terms ‘built like a brick dunny’, it refers to something built solid,

Fire bug
- arsonist

- fire fighters

- the person/s who
drive and/or load garbage onto the garbage truck.

- horses

- TV, television

- mouth

Got his/her/their goat

annoyed him/her/them

- person/people who
indulge in antisocial behaviour.  Great explanation in Wikipedia

Iced Coffee/chocolate
- a
milk drink flavoured with chocolate or coffee

- sweater

Kick up a stink
- make a
fuss, get angry

Local rag
- local newspaper

- sweetie, candy

- toilet

- face

- chocolate malt
drink.  Can have it hot or cold. Yummy!

- slang for

Mobile phone
- cell phone

- mosquito

- No Abnormalities

- idiot

- sex

Paddy wagon
- four wheel
drive police vehicle carries four police in the double cab and has a filled-in
imprisonment section in the back to place prisoners.

- paracetamol,
similar to Tylenol in the US

- Pavlova/Pavlovas -
best dessert ever!

- Police and Citizens
Youth Club

Pedal Pushers
- three
quarter pants/knickerbockers

- having sex

- sticky patch
with a pad in it, a medical dressing

– hotel

– derogatory term for
a doctor

- Royal Automobile
Club of Western Australia.  Covers insurance, holidays, loans, etc

Red backs -
spider, black in colour with a red stripe on its back.

- sex

– Rottweiler breed of

– condoms

- bed - as ‘in the
sack’ meaning ‘in bed’

- service station

- sex

– female

– carton of beer.

- morning tea and
afternoon tea break

- sausages

Soft drink
- soda, fizzy

- electrician

- erection, boner

- sub contractors

- some people call the
evening meal dinner.  In my family, we’ve always called it tea, as in breaky,
dinner and tea, or breaky, lunch and tea.

- worn on the feet,
same as ‘flip flops’

Tickled pink
- delighted

Tim Tams
- a brand of
Arnott’s Biscuits.  Yummy!

- Tender Loving Care

- bathers, swim suit

- flashlight

- toilet

- tradesmen

– food

– a brand of
cheese-flavoured snack food.  Yummy!

Ute -
small truck

- most Aussies
find this spread yummy, many non-Aussies find it too salty.  Here’s the hint -
if you ever have Vegemite, use it spread thinly, never thickly!

- volunteers

Wacky baccy

- penis

- crying

- a lie

Yamaha & Suzuki
‘brands’ of motorcycles.

You wally
- silly



Chapter 1


The road leading to the old
mansion was in poor repair, the ute bouncing along the rutted surface, Luke’s
head almost hitting the roof.  Gripping the vibrating steering wheel, he stared
out through the windscreen at the huge, old behemoth that towered ahead.

“Hells bells, Dog, would you look
at that?”

Dog was having a hard time just
staying in the passenger seat, his jowls shaking along with every bone-rattling
jar from the road.  If he’d been a cat, he’d have sunk his claws into the seat
for traction.  As it was, all he could do was sit and vibrate.

Hitting a particularly interesting
corrugated part of the road, Luke felt the flesh on his arms judder as the ute
rumbled over it.

It didn’t, however, detract from
the sight before him as he finally passed over the corrugated road and into the
less rough area of what still held the last remnants of a large, circular
driveway.  Pulling up in front of the mansion, Luke turned off the engine and
got out to gaze up at the monstrosity.

Really.  Monstrosity.  It was old,
decrepit, and downright spooky.  Dying.  A decaying house, the brickwork needing
a lot of work, several broken windows boarded up, and shit, look at that - an
open window at the top of the house where a ragged curtain billowed out.

Friggin’ haunted house material or

Dog jumped out of the ute and
sniffed, looking around eagerly.

Pushing his sunglasses up onto the
top of his head, Luke braced both hands on his hips and studied the mansion.

An honest-to-goodness mansion four
hours drive from the city, a half hour from the nearest town.  It was massive,
two story with a smaller third story up top and a tower.  A real tower. 
Tilting his head back, Luke looked up at it.  He’d go up there first chance he
had to get a good view of the grounds.

He wouldn’t have gone up there if
his father hadn’t come out here with Jason and one of the crew three weeks ago
to do a full assessment on the place.  Fortunately for the new owner the
building was stable, but it needed a shit-load of repairs and reworking.  Considering
the plans Elspeth Arkwell had for the place, it was going to take a lot of
work.  A hell of a lot of work.  It would be a long time before it was ready to
become a working hotel with all the charm of the Victorian era in which it was
built, and with all the workings and comforts of twenty first century

Meanwhile, it was a hulking,
towering mansion of decaying proportions.

Taking a deep breath, he rubbed
one hand through his hair.  Okay, first impressions aside, he eyed it more
critically.  Two stories, smaller third story.  Tower.  Big, wide, four stepped
staircase leading up to the veranda which swept away each side of the frontage. 
Rusted, wrought iron rails.  Big windows covered with dirt and grime, two big
wooden doors firmly shut.  It was majestic, really, but old, worn and undeniably

This mansion needed a major

His father, Harris, had gotten
that contract, and Well’s Handyman and Building Services was due to start
renovating and repairing in a month’s time.  That was a huge contract. 
Counting the fact that the workers when they came out would have to stay in the
nearby town during the week nights, the equipment had to be brought out, the
research into the materials and historical details, the sparkies, tradies,
chippies, plumbers, plasterers, brickies and consultants - everything combined
was going to cost a fortune.

Mrs Arkwell hadn’t blinked an eye
when Harris had handed her the final quote.  Luke doubted he’d ever see that
much money in his whole lifetime, but she’d simply looked at it, smiled, and
said, “Done.”

Contract drawn up, signed, sealed,
and delivered.  Work would start in a month’s time, giving Harris time to
finish the last house his company was working on.  Meanwhile orders had been
put in for materials needed.  He’d bet his boots it was the biggest damned
order that had ever been put in by Well’s Handyman and Building Services.

“Never dreamed, Dog, that I’d get
the contract to do the grounds.”  Grinning, he looked across to where the big,
ugly, brindle mutt was cocking its leg against a stump.  “Guess dreams do come

If anyone else had been around,
he’d never have admitted such a girly thing, but Dog was the only witness and
he couldn’t speak human, so all was good.  And it
a dream come
true.  Shit, what landscaper wouldn’t give his eye-teeth to be the one to restore
the grounds to their former beauty?  To research the style and type of plants,
bring life back to the place?

The only stipulation Elspeth
Arkwell had given was that Luke had to come and stay for a week, live in the
liveable part of the mansion and get a feel for the place, for the exterior.  The
woman was eccentric, not doubt about it, but she was paying well for it and he
had no qualms.  At the end of a week she expected some rudimentary plans for
her to check out, and then once the plans were finalised she wanted the quote
for the materials needed.  The weirdest thing was she’d actually signed the
contract with him before he gave her the quote.  In all fairness, he’d wanted
her to wait for the quote and plans but she’d insisted it was him or no-one. 
He wasn’t about to argue.  His business was doing well but landing a contract
this big would cement his reputation, no doubt about it.

Besides, it suited his artistic
nature - as far as landscaping and plants, anyway.  He knew shit about the art

With a sigh of satisfaction, Luke turned
and surveyed the view.  A lot of wilderness had taken over the once grand
gardens, paths choked out with weeds, broken pieces sticking up and even some
scattered around.  But the bare bones were there, his practiced eye could make
them out, and if he heard correctly there was supposed to be ponds as well. 
Dried up now, obviously, but the prospects were amazing.

Clapping his hands together, he
rubbed them briskly.  “Dog, a week of living in this place, soaking up the atmosphere,
checking out the local library and online, exploring the grounds and drawing up
plans is bloody awesome.”  Dropping his sunglasses back onto his nose, he
grinned widely.  “Being paid to do this is icing on the cake.”

Retrieving the mobile from the handless
holder on the dashboard, he slid it into his pocket before slamming the door
shut and reaching into the tray of the ute for the small bag and duffle bag. 
The duffle bag contained clothes, the small bag his laptop, several sketch
books and a couple of books on landscaping ideas. Anything else he needed he
could buy in town.

“Hey, Dog!  Fall in line.”  He started
crossing the ground towards the steps.

Dog looked at him.

“Yeah.  You.”

Dog’s tail stopped wagging.


The tail drooped.

“Heel,” Luke said sternly, going
up the steps.

Moping, Dog wandered up behind
Luke to drop into a sulking squat at his feet.

“Don’t be such a wuss.  You’re
embarrassing me.”  Pulling a big, old fashioned key from his pocket, Luke
started to fit it into the rusty the lock only to frown as the door swung
creakily open under his hand.

Placing the small bag and duffle
bag down, he glanced around but nothing stirred on the veranda except for some
material ripped half off a rotting cushion on a mouldering chair.

“Hello?”  One hand on the door, he
pushed it further open, listening intently.

No answer.

He looked down at Dog.  “This
would be where you go in first.”

Dog looked from him to the door
and back up at him.

“Now is not the time to hold a
grudge.  Move your arse, we’re going in.”

Tail wagging, Dog ambled past Luke
to disappear into the gloom beyond.

Following, Luke stepped into a
wide entry, only to blink in amazement as he saw through the opening to the big
room beyond.  Slowly, he took off his sunglasses.

“Holy cow.”  Eyes wide, he walked
through into the room and looked around.

Man, at first glance the place
might be crappy with the wall paper peeling off the walls and the bits of
furniture shabby and falling apart, but there was still a faded majesticness in
the soaring ceiling and the wide staircase that went up the middle to the
second floor to branch out either side.  He caught glimpses of open doors on
the second floor, old furniture on the landing, his gaze dropping as he walked
into the centre of the massive room and turned around slowly, just taking it
all in.

Several huge old paintings on the
walls, what appeared to be red velvet curtains now faded and rotting against the
windows, some old wooden furniture that had to be worth a small fortune if they
were as old as they looked.

He was no antique expert, but some
of this had to be authentic.  He just hoped Mrs Arkwell had the brains to get
it all checked out by a bonafide antique dealer.  Maybe he’d mention it to her. 
If she wanted this place to regain its former glory and attract clients, then
she should restore as much of the original furnishings as possible.

Dog was happily sniffing
everything, tail wagging, going from one item to another, sneezing several

As much as he wanted to check out
the grounds, Luke also wanted to check out the rooms.  So much history, so much
to see.  Not that he knew anything much about historical houses, but it was
intriguing nevertheless.  When would he ever again get the chance to roam
around an old mansion?  Probably never. 

Glancing around, he debated where
to start.  On either side of the huge room were several doors leading further
into the house.  Dog decided the direction for him when he suddenly lifted his
head and trotted to one of the doors on the left.

Following him, Luke noted that
oddly enough there wasn’t a huge amount of dust in the air.  He’d expected
cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and dust layering everything, but there were
only a few cobwebs in a corner, and the dust…  Frowning, he stopped to run a
finger over an old table.  A light dusting, not the heavy coverage one would
expect of a derelict house.

Suddenly alert, he glanced
around.  Nothing seemed to be disturbed but now he had a sudden gut feeling he
wasn’t alone, only to give himself a mental slap.  Geez, his father had been
here, and Mrs Arkwell had several times, she’d probably had someone come in and
do a quick clean before he arrived.  Obviously he was her guest in this place
regardless of the fact it needed extensive work.  The door lock was a prime
example of deterioration.

Frown disappearing, he walked
slowly along behind Dog while looking around.  From the majestic hall he’d come
out into a wide corridor that went for a fair distance into the depths of the
house.  The runner under his boots was falling apart, he’d have to roll it up
and stow it safely away before he tripped on it one night and broke his neck. 
Having a modern ghost in a hundred and forty year old mansion just wouldn’t fit
the atmosphere.

Grinning, he gave the old paintings
on the wall and the figurines on the side tables a cursory glance, knowing he’d
come back later for a more thorough look if the interest kept prodding at him. 
He wasn’t a historian, had no interest in antique values.  It was plain old

Another side door led to a surprisingly
bleak hallway.  The walls were a faded, dull cream, the floor plain wood.  No
paintings on the walls, it was as bland as sand.  Speaking of walls, it didn’t
have the nice finish of the main house, indeed, nothing had been done to make
it nice.  Serviceable, yes, and at that thought Luke realised he must be in the
servants’ work areas, so the kitchen must be near.  It seemed like servants
back in the day weren’t considered to need comforts or nice work places.

Yay for modernisation.  That, in
turn, had him wondering just when the last owner had actually lived here, which
gave him another pause.

Shit, the kitchen didn’t have just
a wood burning stove, did it?  Apart from BBQs, he didn’t do well with fire.  Having
to cook on a wood burner would result in no dinner or the mansion burned down.

A little perturbed, he caught
sight of what appeared to be a kitchen and turned through the doorway to walk
into the room.

It was large, a big table with
chairs around it in the middle, cupboards and sink along one wall, an old ‘fridge,
and a big stove he didn’t bother to check out - mainly because his mouth fell
open as his attention was snagged by the figure leaning against the far wall
sipping at a mug she held in her hands.

Dark red hair was pulled back in a
ponytail, wild red curls spilling over her shoulders, dark green eyes surveying
him a touch sardonically, one dark brow arched.  The small, slightly tip-tilted
nose had a sprinkling of freckles dusted across it, and the lush lips curved in
a half smile.

There was no mistaking that
generously curved figure poured into jeans.  There was no mistaking the
generous bosoms that pressed against the pale pink checked shirt with the
sleeves rolled up shapely arms to below the elbows.  There was no mistaking the
bright pink sneakers on her feet which were crossed at the ankles.  There was
no mistaking the identity of the woman who shouldn’t have been leaning against
the kitchen wall.

  What the hell…? 
Luke stared.

Lifting one finger off the mug,
she gave him a little finger wave.  “Luke.”

“What are you doing here?”

“Recruited by Aunt Elspeth.”

“Recruited?  For what?”

She glanced around the room then
back at him.  “To help out here.”

“To help
?”  Horror shot
through him.  “Are you
?  What do you know about-”

“Settle down before you stroke
out.”  Mikki gestured to the room, mug still in hand, managing not to spill the
drink.  “I’m here to help her with the house.”

BOOK: The Wells Brothers: Luke
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