Do you enjoy historical fiction? Here's an excerpt of a book about a circuit rider (preacher) with a tormented soul and the innocent who loves him despite his many flaws.
Book Excerpt: Rigeline
On the ridgeline, Jeremiah shifted in the saddle and breathed deep the smell of wood smoke floating up from the chimney of the cabin below, drank in the sight of Maggie, his woman, leaning in the open door of the cabin from which he had ridden away seven months earlier. He indulged his vanity and fed his hope by believing this woman had stood right there through all the long days he'd been gone serving the Lord, through every star-filled night while he curled, dog-like, around an open fire and watched the stars turn in the sky and imagined her just like this, watching the horizon for his return, patient even as he tarried.
As if, in his absence, she'd not gone about her daily life, tended her ragged garden, tolerated the touch of her brutish husband as he ran a rough hand up and over the birthmark that stained the inside of her left thigh, the reddish mark the near exact size and shape of a mouse, the curlicue of the tail disappearing into her dark warmth. As if, in place of what had become of her life, through all these days and nights, the woman had simply waited, her longing quietly drawing him to her as a ripe moon calls the rising tide.
The bay tossed her head, a quiver running from withers to nose. Jeremiah gathered the reins and spoke low, his words a silvery fog that hung in the motionless air for a moment before floating wraith-like to join a cloud of cooling sweat rising from the horse. Winter-robbed of all but palest gold, dawn's fingers crept over the eastern rise and glinted cold light from the woman's hand—a deep, lethal-blue flash the preacher knew all too well as the gemlike color of a tiny, killing bottle, no bigger surely than the seed of sin born in David's heart when first he looked upon Bathsheba.
The snarling voice of the woman's husband split the morning air, destroyed all hope. The sound floated up the hill ominous as the first notes of a bugle on a misty morn with men lined on either side of some godforsaken hill or blood-thirsty meadowland. Jeremiah spurred his horse down into the hollow even as Maggie raised the blue bottle to her mouth, her head thrown back, her tender, white throat exposed as she swallowed his dreams drop by drop, condemned him to hell for all eternity.
"Nooooo!" His plea pierced the heavens.