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Wednesday, October 14, 2020

It takes more than a hanging to end a 200-year-old curse... by Kaye Spencer #westernromance #novelette #paranormalromance #prairierosepubs

Happy October Everyone!

My paranormal western romance novelette, For Love of a Brystile Witch, is a spooky-lite quick read.

I played ‘what if’ to come up with the plot. Here’s how it went:

What if a woman hanged as a witch in 1692 New England put a death curse on the hanging judge and a curse of sorrow on the women of the Brystile line in the moments before she was hanged?

What if, 200 years after the hanging, fate brought together the last living woman from the accused witch’s family and the last man from the judge’s family in order to break the curse?

What if love and forgiveness between the last man and last woman is the only way to end the curse, but the two families have ancestral hate for each other?

What if a critical time factor is added so the man and woman have only a month to right this 200-year-old wrong before time runs out for both families and people die?


What if only one of them knows this?

The story…

Mercy Pontiere is the last ‘daughter’ in a long line of heredity witches. Two hundred years ago, Reid Corvane’s ancestor condemned the “Brystile witch” to hang. On the gallows, she placed a curse of short life and great suffering on the men of the Corvane line.

As the years passed, unintended consequences developed that impacted both families.

If Mercy overcomes two centuries of generational hatred to find love and forgiveness for Reid, and if he returns her love, the curse will be broken. Mercy thinks time is her ally; Reid’s time is running out.

Love must find them by midnight All Hallows’ Eve, or the Brystile witch will claim the life of another Corvane man. Reid has thirty-one days and counting…

The excerpt…

Reid needed no urging to mount the steps and, in spite of herself, Mercy kept watching. He ascended with an easy gait, the ball of each polished boot touching lightly upon the next plank. Once on the platform, he turned toward the crowd, head bowed and hat brim throwing a shadow over his features. Sheriff Samuel Dunne and Axel Moser, the valley’s minister of twenty some years stood on either side of the condemned man, and the deputies took watchful positions behind them and off the trap door...

The sheriff’s voice rose above the crowd’s murmurings. “If you have any last words, speak them now.”

For the longest time, Reid didn’t move. The quiet in the street became quieter. A baby cried; a woman shushed it. The autumn breeze ceased blowing. Mercy held her breath, entranced by the scene playing out before her. When he lifted his chin, she sucked in a little gasp of pity. His eyes—such sadness—maybe it was regret. Whatever his pain, it was deeper than the prospect of leaving this life in a few minutes. Did he deserve to die like this? Alone? With no one here to mourn his passing? Certainly, she didn’t know, but she blinked away tears for him nonetheless.

His deep voice resonated through the silent streets. “I hold the world, but as the world…a stage where every man must play a part. And mine is a sad one.”

A gasp of sorrow at his utter hopelessness left Mercy’s lips and, as if he’d heard, he caught her gaze with his, holding it in a way that made her feel he was memorizing her face as the last tender sight he’d take with him to the grave.

Sheriff Dunne waited a few seconds for the man to say more. When nothing came, he addressed the crowd. “As the duly appointed legal authority in Dulcet Valley, I hereby declare this hanging to proceed this first day of October 1892. The condemned will hang by the neck until dead, and his body will be interred in the local cemetery with a gravestone bearing his name, birth, and death dates. As per his signed and witnessed last requests, his epitaph will read, Teach me to feel another’s woe. Reverend Moser will settle his debts and notify next of kin.”

Those words—

She knew the poem and went on in her head with the next lines…to hide the fault I see / that mercy I to others show / that mercy show to me. It was strange that the word mercy, her given name, would show up in duplicate at this moment. Two of any one thing meant balance, partnership or opposites, either way it meant a pairing of something. Since coincidences didn’t exist in her world, Fate was at work here. She swept a hurried glance around the area, searching for other signs she’d overlooked.

“Let it be known the Honorable Judge J. A. Swanson has authorized me to accept a plea of innocent and commute the death sentence.” He leveled a hard gaze on the condemned man. “Reid Leighton Corvane, this is your last chance to save your own life.”

What? A Corvane? Here?” The words burst forth, loud and unbidden. Jolted, stunned to her bones, Mercy grabbed a better hold on the branch to keep her seat. So her months of conjuring had proven fruitful after all.


Available on Amazon – $0.99 and/or Kindle Unlimited

I’ll leave you with a Halloween chuckle.

Why do ghosts read so many books?






They go through them so quickly.


Until next time,
Kaye Spencer


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  1. Kaye, I really loved this story. It's always neat to make those paranormal elements work just write to come out with a great ending. In this story, timing is everything! LOL Loved it. So glad you decided to blog about it in time for Halloween!

    1. Thank, Cheryl. It's a Halloween-ish quick-read diversion that's not too sweet, not too spicy, and just the right length to read while enjoying a hot cup of something deliciously seasonal--pumpkin spice latte, coffee, hot toddy... *wink*

  2. A great concept for a romance, and perfectly timed for Halloween. Just spooky enough to catch the season, and romantic enough to hook us.

    1. C.A. - Thank you! and thanks for stopping in to comment.

  3. After reading your blog and excerpt, I went to Amazon, ordered it and promptly read it....even though I didn't have a cup of tea at hand . Absolutely love this story and wanted....more! I'm going to write a review now while everything's still fresh in my mind. Congratulations, Kaye, on writing such a lovely, magical story.

    1. Elizabeth,

      Ahh... thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the story.

  4. I couldn't post it to because I guess I haven't spent enough money there but I could at Go figure.

    1. Elizabeth,

      Well, pooh. Who knows about Amazon's rules and regs. *shrug* Thanks for the try, though. I appreciate it.