In 1652, Sara travels to Whisper where she meets the ruggedly handsome leader of the local werewolf pack. Nathaniel recognizes the curious young vampire as his mate and pursues her in a way only a werewolf can. After a brief but passionate courtship, she accepts his proposal, despite her family's dislike of his kind. Sara and Nathaniel's marriage is destroyed when her manipulative parents place them under a curse. Sara has no memory of Nathaniel, who has been turned into a statue in the town square. Every night he comes alive, but cannot leave the area in search of his love who has been taken back to England by her family.
Centuries later, after a life of intense study and travel, Sara is drawn back to the small New England town. Ignoring protests from her family, she returns to Whisper where she takes a job at the library. After hours, the statue in the lobby of a handsome man in colonial dress comes alive and claims that Sara belongs to him. In spite of her terror, she is aroused by the man and inexplicably drawn to him.
If Sara's love is true, she can break the curse. If it's not, Nathaniel will spend eternity imprisoned by magic, betrayed by the woman who stole his heart.
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Copyright ©2012 Kate Hill
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Nathaniel Pritchard was the first werewolf Sara had ever seen. She had accompanied her parents to the colony of Massachusetts. Her father had business with his brother, Edmond Chancellor, who along with four others had founded a town called Whisper.
Growing up, Sara had heard stories about werewolves -- uncouth beasts with whom no self-respecting vampire would associate. Werewolves were part of the reason her father had traveled from their native England to speak to Uncle Edmond. He'd heard werewolves were not only living in Whisper, but one sat on the town council.
On the first night they arrived, they sat drinking wine in Uncle Edmond's parlor. She recalled the underlying tension between her father and Uncle, and her mother's disapproval of everything related to the New World.
At twenty-four, Sara was a very young vampire. This rugged country fascinated her, as did the town of Whisper itself. Of course her parents wouldn't see the promise in a place such as this. Vampires, with their cloistered lives, didn't believe in sharing their territory with others. Here in Whisper, all otherworldly creatures were welcome.
"You still haven't told me why you've come." Uncle Edmond stared at her father with penetrating blue eyes. His hands rested on the arms of his high-backed wooden chair. Though not a tall man, he had a commanding presence.
"That's not much of a welcome," her father said with an icy smile.
"You know you're welcome, Robert. When we founded this town, we extended an invitation for you to --"
"As if we would accept," her father scoffed. "When we heard about your idea, the family thought you were joking. We thought that a few months in this dreadful place and you'd realize your mistake."
"I didn't make a mistake."
"You have spat on our family tradition. You have --"
"Tradition? I call it tragedy."
His gray eyes blazing, Robert stood abruptly and loomed over Edmond who merely lifted his gaze, his jaw visibly tense. "How dare you, Edmond! We are vampires."
"Yes. We are vampires, but we don't have to be monsters."
"You've gone too far! Hunters aren't monsters for consuming their prey. Speaking of hunters, you willingly accept savages, werewolves, violent killers, yet you condemn your own kind for civilized consumption of human blood?"
"I don't condemn blood drinking. I disagree with rape and murder."
"Oh, Edmond, please." Sara's mother placed a hand to her breast and looked almost faint. "What's happened to you? It's this place. This horrible, savage place."
Sara raised her eyes to the heavens. Her mother wasn't nearly as delicate as she pretended. She'd seen her leave powerful men helpless. Emily Chancellor could be ruthless one moment and kind the next. She had taught Sara how to bring pleasure or pain with a bite. Yet Sara hadn't inherited her parents' lust for killing. Despite having tasted the blood of many, Sara had yet to kill. Her parents told her when the time was right, she'd know.
"Emily, I'm freer here in this savage place, as you call it, than I've ever been before," Edmond said.
"We want you to come home," Robert told him.
"Impossible, not to mention undesirable. This is my home. Whisper is new. The residents need guidance and support. That's why we founded this town."
"You and the others." Robert's voice dripped contempt.
"Yes. The others who are due at my home for dinner tonight."
Emily drew a sharp breath. "We're to dine with a werewolf?"
"Unless you decide to leave," Edmond replied coolly.
A smile tugged a Sara's lips. Though she loved her parents, she'd always hated the barriers they upheld between vampires and everyone else in the world. Here in Whisper, her uncle and his friends had achieved something she'd never dreamed possible -- various magical creatures living together in harmony.
"We'll stay," Robert said with a curl of his lip. "I'm curious to meet these companions of yours."
So am I, thought Sara, but she knew better than to voice her opinion. Doing so might cause her father to ban her from dinner, and it was an event she didn't want to miss.
* * *
Sara wore her favorite blue dress with a lace-trimmed collar to dinner. Her parents dressed in their usual black. She noticed Uncle Edmond also wore blue.
Sara had always felt close to her uncle. Like her, his views differed from the rest of the family. When he'd gone to the New World, her parents had been relieved, as they believed him to be a bad influence on her. However, when word reached home about the town he'd founded, the family had agreed his eccentric behavior had gone too far. The family elders had instructed her father to pay Edmond a visit to make their concern plain. Sara knew that meant they were offering him an ultimatum. Unless Edmond abandoned Whisper and returned to the fold, he would be disowned.
Sara knew Uncle Edmond hoped this dinner with his companions would sway her parents regarding Whisper, but Sara feared it would only deepen their hatred of other magical races.
The first guests arrived at dusk. Tall with silver-gray eyes and long silver hair, Arn Archer was an elf from an old Norwegian bloodline. A dark-haired witch called Anne Brown accompanied him. Their appearance provided Sara with a shred of hope. Vampires, elves and witches enjoyed a healthy respect for each other. Sara's family had dealings with several witches, though none with whom Anne admitted familiarity.
While waiting for Edmond's servant, a widowed woman who lived in the town square, to serve dinner, they sat talking in the parlor. The polite conversation grew strained with the appearance of the next guest. When he stepped into the room, Sara's heart actually skipped a beat.
Unlike the other men present, he wore only breeches and a linen shirt, the ties open at his throat. He hadn't bothered with a jacket, shoes or socks. His wavy brown hair hung loose about his broad shoulders. Though of average height, he had a powerful body. Every movement reflected his animalistic strength and grace. He had ruggedly handsome features, but his large blue eyes captivated Sara most of all.
Her admiration was obviously returned as his gaze riveted to her. A faint smile tugged at his full lips and he nodded in her direction.
"Robert and Emily, may I present Nathaniel Pritchard, Leader of the Seaview Pack and Head of the town militia."
While Emily forced a smile, Robert turned away without a word.
A low growl rumbled in Nathaniel's chest. Robert glanced at him with a raised eyebrow, but Nathaniel's attention again focused on Sara.
"This is my niece, Sara."
Again Nathaniel smiled and took the hand Sara extended. He bowed over it and said, "A pleasure to meet you."
"The pleasure is mine, Mr. Pritchard."
"Sara!" Robert snapped.
"Yes, Father?" she asked, neither glancing at Robert nor removing her hand from Nathaniel's snug grip.
"Come here, girl."
She tried to tug away, but Nathaniel momentarily tightened his hold. The heated expression in his eyes and the sensual smile on his lips made her tingle all over. Desire almost overtook her as she imagined licking his strong neck, piercing it with her fangs and tasting his hot blood.