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They say Thomas Hillyer, a wizard, is in league with the Devil and that the white buck roaming his estate hypnotizes people and steals their souls. Molly is a fugitive, wanted for a crime she did not commit. Seeing a want ad for a secretary in a sleepy town, she sets off for White Buck Hall but ignores the warning about the albino stag who lurks in the woods. When she meets him on the forest path, her life is forever changed.

Except from The Fiend of White Buck Hall
by Penelope Marzec
Published by New Concepts Publishing

Still trembling, she walked back to the desk and picked up the candlestick. She hated the taste of fear in her mouth. If only she could be rid of it!

The fire in the hearth had burned down to embers, but she used the poker and found a coal hot enough to relight the candle. When the wick caught, she took in an unsteady breath and stared at the soft, white-yellow glow. The gentle and comforting flame reminded her of the color of Thomas’s hair and eased away the memory of the buck’s hypnotic red eyes.

She returned to the desk and gazed fearfully at the letter opener. Gritting her teeth, she reached for it but her fingers hovered above the small implement and she could not force herself to take another chance. Irritated by her own fear, she kicked the locked desk drawer with her foot.

She let out a squeal of anger and pain. Immediately, the door to the office opened. She went numb with terror when Thomas stood in the doorway glowering at her. With her blurry vision, it seemed his eyes had an evil glow in the shadows cast by the candle.

“What the hell are you doing here?”

She felt as if her breath had been cut off. She couldn’t say anything and her mind was in such a jumble that any coherent thoughts had fled.

He stepped further into the room and closed the door behind him. His powerful presence dominated the office. “If you’re looking for money, you won’t find any. I’m not a fool.”

He wore a rough hunting coat and carried a rifle in one hand. The scents of the woods clung to him—the same mossy earth odors that had enveloped her during that odd spell when she had touched the letter opener. She glanced at it again. Was she losing her mind? Had the stress of the past month been too much for her?

She swallowed hard. “I—I was looking for my letters.”

“You won’t find them here.”

“I—I didn’t know if you burned them or not. You handed me the ribbon without saying anything.”

He moved with the stealth of an animal to the side of the window and peered out from the edge of the drape. “I did not burn them.”

She held her head as a wave of wooziness threatened her. “Then may I have them back, please?”

“They are missing.” He put the drape back in place and took the corduroy cap off his head.

“Did … someone take them?”

“I thought the doctor had taken them, but when I stopped at his house tonight, he was unable to answer any questions.”

“Why not?”

“Because I found him with a knife in his back.”

She stifled a gasp with her hand.

He came up close to her, so close she could see the hard lines chiseled into his face. “What was in those letters?”

Though tormented by a tumble of confusion and fear, she struggled to retain her pride. “Nothing … important.” She hoped he did not catch the faint edge of hysteria in her tone. She must get away from him. She stood up, holding onto the edge of the desk.

“Was Filmont your lover?”

“No!” Heat burned on her cheeks.

“Then what happened between you and him?” His voice rumbled low and deep furrows appeared in his brow.

She rushed toward the door, grabbed the knob, and tried to turn it this way and that—but it was locked! Breathing hard, she whirled to face him. With her back to the door, she found him but a foot away from her. Much too close.

He had shed his rough hunting coat. “Tell me the truth.”

She shook her head. She could feel the heat of his body and despite her fear, her senses leapt to life.

“What did you do?” He lifted her chin with his index finger and she inhaled sharply. Drugged by the primitive scent of him, she knew she should do all she could to escape, but her body refused to budge.

“I … I … haven’t done anything.”

He leaned closer and she felt his warm breath against her neck. “Did you intend to use that letter opener on me?”

The emotions raging inside her took away her power to speak.

He shifted closer. His thigh brushed against her hip. Her legs trembled and she feared she would not be able to stand.

As if he guessed her need, his hands moved to pull her firmly against him. She splayed her hands against his chest but she discovered she did not want to push away. Her fingers quivered as she slid them across the width of his shirt. She could feel the racing of his powerful heart beneath his corded muscles.

“You are tempting me and that is a dangerous thing to do.”

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