And now, here’s Meredith:
In honor of Halloween, I wanted to share an excerpt from Her Dear & Loving Husband where that autumn holiday (truthfully, my favorite holiday) plays a prominent role. The story takes place in Salem, Massachusetts both in the present day and during the Salem Witch Trials in 1692. Turns out that Halloween is a big deal in Salem these days, and people travel there from all over the country to take part in the festivities. Here is a piece of the Halloween scene, complete with vampires and witches. Please enjoy.
Two weeks later it was Halloween, the most important holiday in Salem, a month-long celebration. The streets were closed to motor traffic, and James had to walk around the barriers to find his way to Pickering Wharf and the Witches Lair. When he passed The House of the Seven Gables he saw an audience watching a reenactment of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story. He passed a pumpkin festival where small children held their oddly carved treasures over their heads, and he shook his head in amusement when he saw a walking tour, a class on how to hunt for ghosts and vampires. He passed that group quickly, not wishing to be bagged as a prized game that night. The smell of sweet and salt—candied apples, sugar-spun cotton candy, popcorn, and the sea—filled the air. He enjoyed being outside in the crisp autumn night, watching the children point and laugh and eat and run while a parade of witches, ghouls, and superheroes roamed the roads. He knew the Witches Lair would be open late. It was a good time for sales, Jennifer had told him, since the tourists get bored when everything else around town closes at five. But James didn’t care anything about the tourists or the costumes or the sales at the Witches Lair. He knew Sarah would be there. He was going to see Sarah.
Once at the shop he walked inside, glanced around for Jennifer, then sat behind the counter. He watched the people stream in and out, smiled at the happy children, flipped through some books on casting spells. He spotted Olivia, dressed as Raggedy Ann and moving around helping customers. Then he saw the silver crosses displayed in a basket by the cash register. He picked one up and held it close to his face. He was still studying it when Jennifer tip-tapped behind him.
“You mean the crosses don’t work? I thought I could finally do away with you.”
“You’re thinking about werewolves. Or maybe that’s silver bullets with werewolves. Most of it is such nonsense.” He shook his head as he looked at Jennifer. “You’re dressed as Glinda the Good Witch? I’m not sure you picked the right costume. I was thinking more like the Wicked Witch of the West for you.”
Jennifer curtseyed, touching her star wand to her gold crown. Her iridescent pink dress was so wide at the waist she hardly fit behind the counter.
“Oh no, Professor. There are only good witches in Salem. And I’m at your service. I’ll grant you three wishes.”
“I don’t think you could grant my wishes. They’re beyond even your magical capacity to help.”
“I wouldn’t bet on that.”
“Who do you think I am, Dorothy from Kansas?”
Jennifer pointed her wand at the door. “I guess that makes Timothy Toto.”
James watched Timothy walk into the store. The boy looked pleased with himself as he stopped in front of the counter and threw his black cape behind his shoulders. From his tuxedo shirt to his black shoes, his brown hair run through with black dye, red streaks dripping from his lips, there was no mistaking his costume.
“You’re dressed as Dracula?” James asked.
Timothy flashed his fake fangs. “What do you think?”
“I think you’ve lost your mind.”
“It’s not very original,” said Jennifer.
“Not any less original than your costume,” Timothy said. “Come on you two—it’s the one night a year I can be proud of what I am and show the whole world. I’m a vampire, everyone! A real live vampire!”
The customers walking by, an older couple wearing orange ‘This is My Costume’ t-shirts, probably tourists, their cameras giving them away, looked nervously at Timothy and stepped aside to study the prayer beads. They only looked back once to see what the vampire boy was doing.
“Where’s your costume, James?” Timothy gestured at James’s street clothes, his gray argyle sweater, blue jeans, black Converse shoes. “It’s Halloween. You’re supposed to dress up.”
“I’m a little old for dressing up.”
Suddenly James smelled it, the fresh human blood, and he sniffed the air to center in on the source. He was afraid the temptation of oozing human blood would be too much for Timothy, who was still new to that life. Then he leaned close to the boy’s face and barked in frustration. The blood was dripping from the sides of Timothy’s mouth as part of his costume.
“You have human blood on your face?” James whispered.
Timothy shrugged. “It was all I had.”
James grabbed the collar of Timothy’s shiny black cape and pulled him close. “Go wash that off before someone sees it’s human blood. Are you trying to get caught?”
“Relax, James. I’m having some fun. You should try it some time.”
Timothy wiped the blood from the sides of his mouth with his hand and licked his fingers. He laughed as he left the store.
James turned to Jennifer. “You said you’d grant me three wishes. Can you make Timothy disappear?”
“Sorry. I’m only allowed to use my spells for good.”
Thanks so much for stopping by today and for the great excerpt! Make sure you stop by tomorrow for my 5 Star review of Her Dear and Loving Husband!
Here’s more info on the book and Meredith:
Her Dear and Loving Husband
By Meredith Allard
Published by Copperfield Press
Release Date: April 11, 2011
Genre: Vampire Romance
How long would you wait for the one you loved?
James Wentworth has a secret. He lives quietly in Salem, Massachusetts, making few ties anywhere. One night his private world is turned upside down when he meets Sarah Alexander, a dead ringer for his wife Elizabeth. Though it has been years since Elizabeth's death, James cannot move on.
Sarah also has a secret. She is haunted by nightmares about the Salem Witch Trials, and every night she is awakened by visions of hangings, being arrested, and dying in jail. Despite the obstacles of their secrets, James and Sarah fall in love. As James comes to terms with his feelings for Sarah, he must dodge accusations from a reporter desperate to prove that James is not who, or what, he seems to be. Soon James and Sarah piece their stories together and discover a mystery that may bind them in ways they never imagined. Will James make the ultimate sacrifice to protect Sarah and prevent a new hunt from bringing hysteria to Salem again?
Her Dear & Loving Husband is part historical fiction, part romance, and part paranormal fantasy. With elements of Twilight and The Crucible, Her Dear & Loving Husband is a story for anyone who believes that true love never dies.
Meredith Allard is the author of Her Dear & Loving Husband and the executive editor of The Copperfield Review, a journal for readers and writers of historical fiction. Her short fiction and articles have appeared in journals such as The Paumanok Review, Muse Apprentice Guild, Wild Mind, Moondance, and Writer's Weekly. She has taught writing to students aged 10 to 60, and she has taught creative writing and writing historical fiction at Learning Tree University and UNLV. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And now the Giveaway!
Up for grabs: One eBook of Her Dear and Loving Husband.
- There will be one winner.
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- Giveaway will run from October 6, 2011 to October 20, 2011
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Good luck everyone!