I hope you don't think it's too late to talk about werewolves since it's after Halloween. Were they in England? I’m not talking about the movie “An American Werewolf in London”, although the topic of this blog is very close to that movie. When I first decided to write a werewolf story, I wanted it to take place in historic England. I love writing Regency and Victorian era romances, so naturally, I’d want my paranormal romance to take place in England. However, I had a few critique partners tell me that I couldn’t. Wolves did not reside in England. Yet…this was a paranormal story, was it not? This was FICTION!
So I dove into research, which I love. I couldn’t believe how many stories have been written about wolves—or werewolves to be precise—in England. But I didn’t stop there in my research. I found many more legends about haunted castles. My story takes place in Thornton Manor an imaginary estate located in North Devon.
The "Devil's Footprints" goes like this... on the night of February 7th, there was a heavy snowfall. In the morning, a series of hoof-like marks were found, which measured four-inches long, three-inches across, between eight and sixteen-inches apart and mostly in single file. Apparently, the hoof-prints were found by houses, rivers, haystacks…and even more eerie, the prints were found on rooftops, high walls, and drain pipes. Not too long after this spotting, sightings were rumored of a ‘devil-like figure’ in Devon during this time. Townspeople armed themselves, and some were prepare to track down this beast.
Believe it or not, there was evidence. Reverend H. T. Ellacombe, the vicar of Clyst St. George in the 1850’s had a collection of papers about the incidents, and even a tracings of the hoof-prints. Yet, it wasn’t really known if the Reverend saw this first-hand or not.
Fact? Or Fiction?
When I read this, my creative mind couldn’t help but wonder if this really happened. If so, how and by whom? Perhaps my historical paranormal, “Secrets After Dark” isn’t so unbelievable after all…
Here’s an unedited excerpt from the prologue of my soon-to-be-released story:
A place between heaven and hell really did exist.
Morgan Thornton knew this beyond a shadow of a doubt. Hidden amongst the trees outside Thornton manor—a place no longer his home but his prison—he gazed upon the smiling, carefree visage of his brother, Jonathan. No doubt courting yet another comely lass. A stab of longing sliced through Morgan, and wistfully he stared down at his hands. Five fingers, five fingernails, all very human in appearance . . . but he knew better.
Was he in Purgatory?
Perhaps. But this Purgatory was not so much a place as an altered state of being . . . a curse with no hope of redemption.
Morgan’s thoughts often drifted to the moment he’d been cast into this Devil’s existence—lost his humanity and become a beast to be loathed—a moment he simply called the lighting. It was a space in time when all of life’s purposes and regrets swirled to a single point of clarity. All that could have been no longer wavering in indecision, but perfectly clear, like the sky after a blistering rainstorm. To suddenly realize all that he wanted from life, and know it would never again be within his grasp was a fate worse than death. In truth, death would be a blessing.
Instead, his destiny was to wander the earth not quite a man, nor amongst the living. Trapped for eternity as an entity to be feared.
Morgan Thornton is determined to protect Hannah from his family secrets, but he can’t stop wanting to hold her and become a man again, instead of the beast the witch’s curse turned him into. Now the witch wants Hannah because of what she knows, and Morgan will do anything to save her, even if it means destroying the witch and condemning himself to live with the curse forever.**
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Marie Higgins is a multi-published author of sweet and inspirational romance; from refined bad-boy heroes who makes your heart melt to the feisty heroines who somehow manage to love them regardless of their faults. Visit her website / blog to discover more about her – http://mariehiggins84302.blogspot.com/