Sentenced to hang for a crime she didn’t commit, former slave Mary Hamilton was exonerated at literally the last gasp. She returns to Safe Haven, broken and resigned to live alone. She’s never been courted, cuddled or spooned, and now no man could want her, not when sexual satisfaction comes only with the thought of asphyxiation. But then the handsome stranger who saved her shows up, stealing her breath from across the room and promising so much more.
Wealthy, freeborn-Black, Eban Thurman followed Mary to Safe Haven, believing the mysteriously exotic woman was foretold by the stars. He must marry her to reclaim his family farm. But first he must help her heal, and to do that means revealing his own predilection for edgier sex.
Today we’re talking to Mary Hamilton from “One Breath Away,” an Erotic Historical Romance by Michal Scott. Let’s get started. I’m sure our readers are eager to learn more about you.
How old are you?
I don’t know for sure. I once saw in my former master’s slave book that I was purchased when I was eight years old, so maybe I’m twenty-eight. Maybe thirty.
What is your relationship status?
I’m a woman who ain’t been asked: not to court or to spoon or to be wed. I guess I’m a spinster and destined to remain one.
When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
I see how dark I am, how broad and wide I am physically. I especially see the keloid that marks me as a woman who hanged. I’ve learned to love the first two. Don’t know I’ll ever be able to accept the third.
Name three of your favorite things.
1. Sunrises. Since I was freed, I love watching the day wake up, knowing it’s mine to do with as I please. 2. Cooking. I feel alive when I’m able to combine ingredients and create something I know people will enjoy. 3. Conversing with Clemma Hawthorne. She’s the oldest person I know and is a walking book of Proverbs. I come away wiser every time I’ve been with her.
What is your best memory to date?
That’s easy. The moment the hangman’s sack was removed from my head and I could see again. The light was so blinding I thought I was in heaven. Then I could breathe again and people were helping me up, holding me up, shouting I was all right. Glory be. I was alive!
What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
“She was always kind.” I try to be, but don’t always succeed. Sometimes resentment gets the better of me. By the time I die, I hope the sayin’ will always will be true.
What was your first impression of Eban Thurman?
When I first caught sight of Eban Thurman, I thought he was the handsomest man I’d ever seen. I imagined God kneeling down and forming him out of ebony clay, sculpting him into perfection like God had Adam. Eban was a glimpse of Eden.
If we could only hear your voice (but not see you) what characteristic would identify you?
It’s husky, almost mannish timbre. If it were played on an instrument, it’d have the resonance of a cello.
What would you most like to forget?
The day Judge Denton sentenced me to hang. I knew I was innocent, yet God had abandoned me to an unjust fate. Everything died for me at that moment. I was living but dead. A dark emptiness filled me from head to toe. It haunts me every time I remember that day.
What would make you completely happy?
To have a family. I look at men and women on their way to church with a passel of children running in front of them or being chided to catch up. It’s then I realize how alone I am and shouldn’t be, but probably always will be.
If you could go back in time, what one thing would you change in your life?
Not having been born a slave. The weight of having been owned burdens my spirit now and again. It’s hard to throw off when I’m around Blacks who’ve always lived free.
What kinds of things do you always carry with you?
A spoon and a little bag of salt. Wherever I am I always want to be ready to help food taste its best, especially if I haven’t cooked it.
If you had a free day with no responsibilities and your only mission was to enjoy yourself, what would you do?
Just sit and watch the sun, feel the breeze on my face, listen to nature around me and enjoy I’m just as free.
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