The Sins of a Few
by Sarah Ballance
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.
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“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.”
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.) When not buried under piles of laundry, she may be found adrift in the Atlantic (preferably on a boat) or in search of that ever-elusive perfect writing spot where not even the kids can find her. To learn more about her work in contemporary, historical, and supernatural romance and romantic suspense, please stalk accordingly.
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