Salem, MA 1692
On a moonless night, he rides into the winter forest on his beast as black as midnight...
Dashing stranger, Henry Dunham, comes to Salem on a mysterious errand, but is thrown from his horse in the dead of night and rescued by the local Puritan midwife, Lydia Colson.
Haunted by her past, Lydia is running from her own dark secrets, avoiding intrusive questions by pretending her dead husband is simply... away. But when she and Henry are caught in a compromising situation, one punishable by Puritan law, he saves her from scandal by claiming to be her errant spouse... and claiming her bed.
Forced to fake a marriage, Lydia and Henry find their passion overwhelming and their vows a little too real. As their lies become truths, a witch hunt closes in on Lydia, threatening not only their burgeoning love, but her life.
“Willard, you beast.” A round of profanity followed the utterance. Though the stranger’s words were foul, they offered for his equine companion both comfort and reassurance. Their soothing cadence eased the alarm from the horse’s eyes, leading his ears to relax from their pinned state.
Lydia found herself enchanted by the man’s tones and by his obvious affection for the horse.
He shifted in the leaves, still facing away, and he had yet to acknowledge her. She should flee. She had freed him from his quandary, and his voice tinged itself not with pain, but with humor. She would feel no remorse for moving past, yet her feet did not budge.
If she remained silent, would he not know her there? No, eventually he would wonder what held the reins aloft. She watched, waiting for that moment. Through the profound darkness, she noticed his hair was a nutty brown and longer than that of a Puritan man, though its richness showed no trace of the powder
worn by many wealthy travelers. He was a study of contrasts, this man. For all of his finery, he seemed to shun the ways of society, and his roguish nature appealed to those innermost desires she had thought long lost. Her husband, as he were, had ruined her womanhood.
This stranger, in the most insignificant ways, had roused it.
Sarah and her husband of what he calls “many long, long years” live on the mid-Atlantic coast with their six young children, all of whom are perfectly adorable when they’re asleep. She never dreamed of becoming an author, but as a homeschooling mom, she often jokes she writes fiction because if she wants anyone to listen to her, she has to make them up. (As it turns out, her characters aren’t much better than the kids). Though she adores romantic suspense, she writes in many genres. Her ever-growing roster of releases may be found at http://sarahballance.com.
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