Thursday, 23 September 2010

Excerpt Day - Hunter's Moon Magic © Sandra Sookoo

October 29, 1692

Ipswich, Massachusetts

Brilliant light from the moon streamed through the window, competing with the weak glow from the candle on the worktable. Judith Goode snipped off the last thread and placed the scissors into a basket near her elbow.




Standing, she shook out the length of black velvet, pleased with how the dress had turned out. Round, full skirt that fell to the floor in elegant waves, faint glimmers of silver thread gleamed in the folds. The bodice was a masterpiece of scooped neck trimmed with runic symbols in the same silver thread, designed to catch an admiring gaze.


Needlework perfection.


Black satin ribbons crisscrossed under the neckline would lend the dress structure and matched the tiny stain bows on the tops of the fluttered, capped sleeves.


The ideal gown to wear for a romantic tryst, especially since the fabric had been given to her from her lover when he returned to port from his last trip.


Unfortunately, she would never be allowed to wear the dress--unless they hung her in it.


Hearing an angry assortment of voices just outside her modest cottage, Judith folded the gown and placed it into a reed basket. The tinkle of breaking glass sounded, followed by a scuffle and several loud shouts for the 'Devil's Follower.' They'd branded her a witch, and she didn't correct them.


It wouldn't have mattered.


She was different from the others in the village. A healer, and not disposed to spending hours on her knees in the church, Judith was automatically dubbed a follower of the occult.


The gray streak down the middle of her black hair didn't help matters. Nor did her affinity for naked bathing at the shore on the nights of the full moon for no other reason than she admired the silvery light.


To these people, if you looked and talked differently from them, you must be evil--bad--not worthy of redemption and no amount of explanation would change their narrow minds. She'd tried twice before to plead her case. Now luck had abandoned her.


Judith wanted no part of the religious bigotry, their interpretation of salvation for the sake of public cleansing and a way to gain land and property.


Their way was not the only way to live a life.


Outside, shouts from me and women alike drew closer. Her breath quickening, Judith opened a carved trinket box on her worktable and withdrew a small sachet of cloth. A secret smile curved her lips. If she couldn't wear the gown, at least she could ensure the woman who did would have a happy life. Tucking the sachet between the folds of the dress, Judith nodded.


A few sprigs of basil for love, a couple dried fruits of the cayenne pepper plant for the fire of the sprit, chamomile flower heads for relaxation and protection, and cinnamon sticks to lure a male, Judith knew the basic ingredients for a love spell would have far reaching implications as much as the words she muttered over the fabric.


“May the women who wear this dress find their true love. May desire overcome them in such a way they cannot deny its call. May the women whose lives touch this dress be happy throughout all eternity with the men of their dreams, the mates of their hearts, and the keeper of their souls.”


After she recited her spell, Judith's attention wandered to her absent lover. He'd been away on a fishing ship for months and this time when he returned, they planned to be married. After three years of courtship and clandestine meetings, Percy offhandedly asked for her hand one evening over dinner. Judith agreed and the small, private ceremony was planned. Now, a few days shy of their reunion, the elders of the village were hell bent of ferreting out witches.
Not that they would even know a real witch if they bumped into one at the market.


Above everything else, Judith vowed never to reveal Percy's name to the elders for fear an appointment with the gallows would await him, too. The only reason she could embrace her destiny with calm was knowing Percy would live to tell her tale. A twinge of regret tickled her stomach. They'd talked at length of this very occurrence. It was always a risk, but she wished she could see him one last time.


With a sigh, she gave the plush velvet one last loving stroke then scattered a few red clover flowers for good luck and two dried hibiscus flowers for attracting love on the top. A folded quilt completed the contents of the basket and hid the gown from view.


It was all she could do.


Read extended excerpt HERE

© Sandra Sookoo

Hunter's Moon Magic

Author: Sandra Sookoo

Publisher: Liquid Silver

Buy Link

Judith Goode, wrongly accused of witchcraft during the trials in 1600 Massachusetts, casts a spell on the black velvet dress she intended to wear for her lover’s return. If she can’t realize true love then she wants to ensure that any woman who wears the dress will, but fate has other plans.

Even though Judith is now in ghost form, her quest to unite her soul with her lover’s burns strong. The enchanted dress has survived for two hundred years and is now in the hands of Carolina Cox who wears it to a masquerade where she meets Paul Brown. Love blooms and is realized, yet life’s problems prevent a perfect match.

Disheartened through the years, Judith gives the attempt one last time in modern day Indianapolis by putting the dress in the hands of Jacob Howson, one of her last living ancestors. He’s a computer programmer looking for love and finds it by literally running into Lexy Brown at a dry cleaner.

Sometimes your destiny can be found under the light of a Hunter’s Moon.

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