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Excerpt Thursday: THE WITCH FINDER by Blythe Gifford
This week, Unusual Historicals contributor Blythe Gifford shares an excerpt from her newly released book, THE WITCH FINDER, a dark historical romance set on the Scottish Borders.On Sunday, she’ll be chatting with us about
the book and offering a chance at a copy.Here’s the blurb:
He's a haunted man.
Alexander Kincaid watched his mother die, the victim, they
said, of a witch's curse. So he has dedicated his life to battling evil. But in
this small, Scottish village, he confronts a woman who challenges everything he
believes. She may be more dangerous than a witch, because she's a woman who
threatens his heart.
She's a hunted woman.
They called her mother a witch, but she was only a woman
made mad by witch hunters like Alexander Kincaid. Having escaped to the Border
hills, Margret Reid is seeking a safe haven and a place to hide. But when the
witch hunter arrives, not only is her heart in danger.
is her life.
An excerpt from Chapter One
nodded her thanks. Shielded by her scarf and plaide, she walked back out onto
the hard-packed dirt of the lane to see the witch finder looming before her,
blocking her path.
was just as menacing in daylight, cloak swirling above bucket top boots, all in
colors somber enough to please the Kirk. Yet if she had not known who he was,
she might have suspected him of
practicing dark arts.
deep-set eyes snagged hers. Even in daylight, she saw a haunted look there. As
if he were the one carrying the demons.
cast her gaze to the ground, hoping he would not notice her.
late. “Good day, Guidwife.”
tried to step around him, turning her face toward the hills.
hand touched her shoulder. "I said, 'Good day!'" His voice was firm
as his touch. “Will you not look at me and give a civil reply?”
her will, she turned, slowly, and watched his expression change, the same way
they all did when they saw her full for the first time.
God.” Startled into blasphemy, he drew his hand away from her shoulder. “I was
met his eyes, knowing he saw something very different when he looked at hers.
. . . ,” he stumbled over the words. “One is blue, the other . . .”
let him look. No reason to hide what he had already seen. One eye was blue,
clear and bright like her mother’s. The other was altogether different, with a
patch of brown filling part of the iris.
yours,” she began, when the silence stretched taut. Shadowed by his brows, his
eyes looked near black. “One is brown, the other, brown.” Calm words, when she
wanted to scratch his eyes out and cover her own so no one would ever see them
again and wonder.
the street, the two women from the alehouse had stopped at the edge of the
common green to watch. He looked at them, then to the alehouse and back to
Margret. “You know who I am.”
must know enough of village life to know that news of a stranger traveled
fast.“I do not know your name.” In her
dread, she must have missed it.
Kincaid. And yours?”
did not answer. “They say you find witches.” His boots were fine leather, the
fabric of his cloak a deep black not faded with time. Together, they must have
cost a woman’s life. Maybe two. “It seems you find a lot of them.”
he leaned away. She took a deeper breath. She should not have insulted him, but
now that he had seen her, the best she could do was resist. Sometimes it
worked. Sometimes the man would hesitate long enough for her to run.
don’t do it for money.”
raised her eyebrows. “But they do pay you.”
do God’s work. To stamp out evil, yes.”
that what haunted him? Had he seen too much evil and chosen to fight it? “How
many? How many witches have you found?”
looked toward the fields and made no ready answer. What lay behind his silence?
Days, weeks, months of confronting them in too many towns, killing too many
witches to remember?
enough,” he said, finally, facing her again. “They still surround us.”
she had seen them all, all the hunters. Some, with pursed lips and Bibles, were
convinced they were servants of God. Others, with lascivious eyes and slack
lips, had more earthly motives.
this man was different. He spoke of God, but the pain he carried was his own.
haven’t told me your name,” he said.
was a common enough name. It would mean nothing to him unless he was from
will see you again, Guidwife Reid.”
hurried away without answering, wishing it were not true.
many years in public relations, advertising and marketing, Blythe Gifford
started writing seriously after a corporate layoff. Ten years and one
layoff later, she became an overnight success when she sold her first book to
the Harlequin Historical line.Since
then, she has published eight romances set in England and on the Scottish
Borders in the medieval and early Tudor time periods.For more information, visit www.blythegifford.com or www.facebook.com/BlytheGifford