Meet Michelle Giles from A Summer of Secrets


Michelle Giles is thirty-three years old and has been Sophia Nelson’s best friend since they were at school together. Michelle is married to Tony and they have one daughter, Cathy, who is six. Now Cathy is at school, Michelle works part-time in the town’s tourist office.

When Sophia split up with her boyfriend and returned to Yorkshire from London to be near to her ageing parents, she slept for a while on her father’s uncomfortable sofa and worked at the town’s mining museum before a suspicious fire burned it to the ground. Michelle then took pity on her and offered her the bed in the loft conversion. Sophia lives with the Giles’ for the next few months but eventually finds a job as tour guide at Heaton Abbey House, a stately home and former Cistercian Abbey, which comes with accommodation.

Michelle has mixed feelings about Sophia’s new job and the fact that Sophia will be living at Heaton Abbey – a place people from the town have little or no connection with. Michelle doesn’t want her friend ‘bowing and scraping’ at the abbey but, at the same time, she does want to see Sophia employed and happy again. But what if Sophia’s employment and happiness includes Lord Heaton – dismissed as a recluse by everyone in the town? Will Michelle simply see the lord – the title – and not the man underneath like everyone else?


Sophia Nelson returns to her hometown in Yorkshire, England to begin a new job as tour guide at Heaton Abbey House. There, she meets the reclusive Thomas, Baron Heaton, a lonely workaholic.

Despite having a rule never to become involved with her boss, Sophia can’t deny how she finds him incredibly attractive.

When she overhears the secret surrounding his parentage, she is torn. But is it her attraction to him or the fear of opening a Pandora’s box that makes her keep quiet about it?

How long can Sophia stay at Heaton Abbey knowing what she does?

Read an excerpt…

Letting herself into the flat, she blew out her cheeks before going to the cupboard and retrieving a small tin of baked beans. She emptied the contents into a saucepan, turned the gas hob on, then heard her mobile phone ringing. Picking it up and glancing at the screen her heart sank. It was Michelle.

“You’ll never guess who we had an email from at work?” Michelle laughed.


“Your boss.”

“You expected him to be still writing on parchment with a quill, or something?” Sophia asked, pressing the speakerphone button and carrying on with preparing her lunch.

“No. Well, maybe not a quill. Did you give him the office email address?”

“Yes, why?” Sophia put two slices of whole grain brown bread in the toaster and pushed the lever down.

“I just wondered what he was like. It’s just that we’re bringing out a glossy brochure. It might be the only brochure, glossy or otherwise. We’ll see how it goes, but I was wondering if Lord Heaton would mind being interviewed? It would be a big plug for the place and a big scoop for us. Is he a bit…fierce?”

“No, not really,” Sophia lied, opening the fridge and taking out a tub of low fat spread.

“Well, not all the time. Actually, underneath it all, I think he’s a bit shy.”

“Shy? Great. He probably won’t do it, then?”

“There’s no harm in asking. Would you be doing the interview?”

Michelle laughed. “God, no. It’ll be Vincent Graves, probably. The brochure was his idea. Pity, though. Is he good-looking?”

Sophia felt herself flush and stirred the baked beans. “Yes, I suppose he is.”

“Excellent. Might even get him on the cover. I’ll tell Vincent. So, how’s it going up there?”

Don’t ask. “Very well. The flat’s lovely and the tours are no problem.” Provided he doesn’t come on them. “I’ve even got the use of the wireless internet connection.”

“Blimey, very hi-tech. Have you tried it out yet?”

“No, I’m still unpacking.”

“And Lady Heaton? What’s she like?”

Where could she start? Best not to even try. Sophia’s mind then went back to Lady Heaton’s peculiar behaviour as she left the drawing room. And where had all that money come from? She shrugged. No, best not even try.

“She’s been pleasant so far.”

“You haven’t got lost at all, then?”

She just laughed and said goodbye to Michelle as the toast popped up and the beans came to the boil.

Explore A Summer of Secrets on my blog for more excerpts, character profiles, and background information



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