Her Wicked Sin (Sins of Salem #1)
by Sarah Ballance (Goodreads Author)
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
Lydia Colson’s nightmare lived and breathed on these moonless nights. When the world was at its darkest, remnants of her haunted past seemed to lurk in every shadow, denying her again and again
the chance to start anew. No matter how justified the actions of her past, the peace she had hoped to find in Salem Village escaped her. It was her burden to bear.
The cruelly twisted body in her path was not.
Though stationary, the sight had crept upon her with silent ease, an aberration on a cold, lonely stretch of road with nothing but the woods to keep company. Lydia purposefully avoided night travels here, but babies did not keep time, and Goody Louder’s child had chosen to make entry in the witching hour. As a physician and midwife, it was Lydia’s purpose to see to the birth, and what a child he was. Healthy and rowdy, the stout babe named John had a roar not to be ignored. The first instance of life never failed to
bring joy, to make Lydia forget. But now an unsavory reminder of her past misdeed rested in the dirt, nearly buried in forest litter.
And he was not alone. A stallion, the same pitch as the night, danced and pawed the earth. Its capsized rider jerked, his long frame shuddering when the hooves clipped his torso. Might he be alive?
“Easy,” Lydia said, fighting for her own control as she edged closer. She placed her hand on the animal’s rump, her fingers tingling alongside the quivering flesh. The contact revealed tightly bunched muscles alongside a tension made visible in the rolling whites of the beast’s eyes. “Easy, boy.”
At the more intimate distance, she could see the man’s leg caught in the stirrup and bent unnaturally to his position on the ground. He’d fallen from his mount. Had he been dragged? What bit of the path visible in the night showed little sign of disturbance, though the wind might easily have stirred the leaves to hide
remnants of a struggle.
A smell of sweat mingled with a distant trace of smoke, hinting danger. The horse snorted and hopped, the strain on the stirrup eliciting a groan from the prone man. Would he lash out from his pain?
Lydia bundled her nerves against the perceived threat and scoffed at her insecurities. This stranger was in no position to cause her harm, but should he try, the mistake would be his.
She had killed before, and she would gather within herself to do it again.