Title: Raven’s Glen
Author: Nancy E. Polin
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Skylar Donaghue has no memory of the night her parents died. When the perfect career opportunity arises, she ignores her brother’s superstitious warnings, choosing to leave the Choctaw reservation where she grew up and return to the place of her birth. Widowed and caring for his young daughter, relationships are the last thing on Jack Langham’s mind. A chance encounter finds him intrigued, then captivated by a beautiful, but mysterious, violet-eyed woman and before he realizes it, he’s falling faster than fate may ever allow. Stephen Donaghue holds the key to that long ago night, but never speaks of it. Now that Skylar is being pulled into the past, he fears its ghosts will darken their future and claim his sister forever…
“I apologize, but my kid has a habit of getting me into these
“Situations?” Skylar tilted her head slightly to the right, a half-smile
forming on her full lips.
“Invading someone’s space and pretending she doesn’t have
ulterior motives.” He glanced down at his daughter, narrowing his
“I don’t do that!” The girl giggled even as she denied the
“What about your friend Jennifer’s mom at the grocery store?”
“I just said she was nice.” Avery giggled again.
“And the cashier at the gas station.”
“She had cool hair. It was orange and spiked.”
“The UPS lady?”
“She had a tattoo on her wrist.”
Jack shook his head, exasperated, amused, and a little
disconcerted. It had been a very long time since he’d had such an
attraction to a stranger. “Well, I’m sorry we disturbed your peace.
C’mon kiddo. We’ve got some errands to do before it gets too hot.”
“I don’t wanna go to the hardware store,” the girl grumbled,
pinching her face into a theatrical frown.
The woman looked from father to child and back again. “How
old is she?”
“Usually eight, sometimes fifteen, very occasionally, forty-two.”
Skylar gave him a brilliant smile, a throaty laugh bubbling
over. “Fairly certain my brother said the same about me when I was
around her age.”
Staring at her for longer than he should, he pulled his gaze
away with effort and refocused on Avery. “Okay, munchkin, let’s go.
I’m sure the nice lady has things to do to.”
“I guess.” The girl mumbled, staring down at the toes of her
Jack managed to meet Skylar’s eyes one more time. “It was
nice meeting you.”
Without another word, he wrapped an arm around his
daughter’s shoulders and guided her toward the bridge and the
parking lot beyond. He tried not to pay attention when Avery twisted
around more than once to wave goodbye to the woman.
Amused, Sky waved back to the little girl. Cute guy, cute kid.
Oddly enough, the guy seemed familiar. She just couldn’t
She allowed her gaze to slide down the man’s lean form, how
he now held his daughter’s hand before dropping it and looping an
arm around the child’s shoulders again. He pulled her close and
kissed the top of her head, smiling.
The girl smiled back at him.
He puzzled her a little, but the interplay between father and
daughter touched her. She vaguely wondered about the girl’s mother,
but batted it aside. It wasn’t her business.
Sky sighed, looked away from Avery and “her dad, Jack,” and
glanced around her surroundings, considering her choices.
Without overthinking, she left the park behind at a moderate
run and chose to head farther south to complete the circle back to the
hotel. She passed by the main entrance of the university, small
independent businesses, and chain restaurants, before beginning to
make random turns, concentrating on her pace and listening to her
Her brain filled with white noise and she found rare peace
within. All her tenacious worries loosened and drifted, lost in the
euphoric rush of heart and breath.
The neighborhood she entered closed around her in the lush
shade of mature trees. She passed impressive stately homes, tiny
bungalows, modest ranch style houses, Victorians, and cute
craftsman. People of all ages were watering their lawns, weeding
gardens, washing cars, or just relaxing on their front porches.
She made another turn, finding herself heading into a deadend
street. She followed the curve as it guided her around and down
the other side. Her pace slowed and she came to a stop before a home
built within the cute craftsman style she’d admired on previous
Hedges lined a path leading to a wide, covered front porch
bracketed by pillars anchored in stone. A dormer with a small single
paned window jutted from above low eaves, centered over a front
door accented with beveled glass. The long driveway adjacent to the
home led back to a one-car detached garage with a dense greenbelt
beyond. A huge elm tree took up residence in the front yard, shielding
the home and shadowing the adjacent street.
It was a pretty little house, painted turquoise with white trim,
more reminiscent of a seaside abode than something smack in the
middle of Texas hill country.
Unsure why she stopped, she continued to stare at it.
Maybe it was because of the color. Most every other home
opted for more earthy tones. This house seemed to sparkle. Capiz
shell wind chimes hung just to the side of the front door and a
seagrass mat welcomed dirty shoes.
A guttural call from above made Sky tilt her head upward. The
shadows of several ravens passed above her and unease slid over her,
skin tight and cloying. Swallowing, she looked back at the house just
as all the color bled away, revealing a bone white structure and dark,
gaping windows. Weeds grew in tufts against the base of the house,
some stretching out tendrils to creep over the open shutters of the first
floor. The lawn had been mowed, but in haste. Wheat colored grass
congealed in dry patches. Near the base of the tree with its skeletal
limbs hanging in mock threat, a stuffed dog had been deserted. One of
its plastic eyes dangled over its nappy cheek.
Just beyond one window of the house, movement shifted,
fluttered, somehow darker against the blackness, oily, waiting.
Sky felt as if she were falling, deep inside her mind, chest, and