The moment he steps off the boat and into his hometown of Salem, Nathanial Abbot knows the rumors about Salem are indeed true. For in the two years since he’s left Salem—disowned by his family and seeking a fortune of his own—the town has changed. It is dark with discord and suspicion… and accusations of witchcraft. Now all that remains for him is the woman he’s never forgotten.
But Faith Downing isn’t happy to see Nathanial. In his absence, his younger sisters have ignited the chain of hysteria that resulted in twenty deaths—including Faith’s aunt, to whom Nathanial owed his life. Yet through her acrimony, Faith can’t prevent herself from responding to the man Nathanial has become, handsome and kind. A man who kindles something in her that speaks of sin.
He stood a head taller than her, but otherwise their bodies were closely aligned, their only separation the difference in height. She was close enough to smell the hint of salt air that clung to his clothing. At such a distance his eyes shone a brilliant blue, and though they drove her to distraction she could not help but realize how very big he was. Tall and broad and thick with the kind of muscle born of hard labor, muscle evident even through the fabric of his shirt. Muscle that had no business on a barrister.
She was still staring at that muscle when he cleared his throat, dragging her attention at once to his face.
A corner of his mouth tipped upward. “May I presume you now prefer I remain?”
She swallowed her embarrassment. “With that ego, Goodman, you do not travel light.”
“We can hardly blame your attention on my ego, now can we?”
“Forgive me,” she said, “but it is not every day I find a brute within the walls of my home.”
“A brute? I suppose I have been called worse.”
“And by my tongue, as you well know.”
“I remember…rather fondly, in fact.” His gaze touched her mouth and lingered.
Instinctively she wet her lips, then pressed them tightly together when his curved into a responding smile. “My tongue is none of your concern,” she snapped. She should take a step back before those eyes rendered her a blathering fool, but she was powerless to do so. Something about this infinitely handsome man held her, and she liked it.
He leaned close, and his nearness flowed through her with a force unmatched by the fiercest storm. They were too close for the heat from the fire to penetrate the space between them, but she was in no need of warmth. She could not imagine she would ever be cold again.
And the slant of his mouth suggested he knew it.
If he came any closer she would know the taste of his lips, and when he spoke she wondered if she did not feel the slightest brush.
“Perhaps not now, little one,” he whispered, “but be assured I am most concerned with yours.”
“Your concerns are wasted,” she shot back, but the words lacked bite. And she lacked resolve, though thoughts of the parade of London patricians he had likely entertained with that tongue straightened her spine. “You can keep all of your well-oiled parts to yourself. I want nothing of you, and you certainly need not worry for my tongue.”
“To the contrary,” he said. “I find your entire mouth delightful. And be assured, before the night ends you will find yourself equally concerned with mine.”
Want more? Read the entire first chapter for free at Entangled Publishing.
The Sins of Salem Series
About Sarah Ballance
Sarah Ballance is a multi-published author of contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense. She’s been married to her own romantic hero for what he calls a “long, long time” (and no, he’ll never hear the end of saying that). Together they have six children … and clearly too much time on their hands. She currently writes for Entangled and has upcoming releases from both Entangled and Samhain Publishing.