Title: Soul Reckoning
Author: Nancy E. Polin
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Rowan O’Herley figures the old tavern bequeathed to her by her uncle is a chance at a fresh start. When otherworldly presences begin to make themselves known, she soon realizes she inherited much more than just a 200 year old building. Luke Meunier holds a tragic past close to his chest. When he sees Rowan O’Herley for the first time, he’s drawn to her but can’t bear the thought of getting close. He’s determined to erect a wall between them, but when he realizes she may be in the very same danger that killed her uncle, he can’t help but get involved. For some vengeance is powerful beyond the grave and can only be satiated when it is steeped in blood…
The sound of breaking glass downstairs made her jump,
spilling her tea. She hissed at the hot liquid against her skin, but
forgot about it the next instant.
Rising to her feet, she stared at the door leading out onto the
landing, for the briefest moment wondering if she imagined it.
A second crash had her reaching for her cell phone, staring at
it in dismay.
Hadn’t she recently charged it? She could have sworn she had.
The house phone was downstairs. It didn’t seem like Jimmy
had ever bothered to put an extension or private line in the apartment.
Rowan made a hasty mental note to remedy that first thing in the
She hurried into the bedroom, removing the large flashlight
from the bottom drawer of the dresser. The thing held about 157
batteries and had the heft of a baseball bat. Her father had gifted it to
her before she’d headed east, citing dual purpose. At the time she’d
thought he was crazy. Now she wasn’t so sure.
The wimp in her jabbered about staying upstairs and barring
the door, but the pigheaded side promised hell to pay. This was her
place now and no one was going to screw it up for her.
She considered turning on the flashlight but didn’t want to
expose herself. Holding it tight enough to cramp her fingers, she
crossed to the door, throwing back all three locks, and stepped out
onto the landing. She waited, listening, wincing when another
Pulling in a breath, Rowan descended the stairs, careful to
stick to the edges to avoid the inevitable loud creaks from the middle.
Darkness wasn’t complete, but it was close. Using one hand to glide
over the bannister, she clutched the flashlight with the other, fingers
Listening at the door for footsteps, she judged her distance to
the phone in the office. Not far, just the second door on the left, right
after—Luke. Where the hell was he? There’s no way he could sleep
through that racket. But then again, maybe he could. Her ex-fiancé
could sleep through the apocalypse.
Heart racing to the tune of a hummingbird’s, she pushed open
the stairwell door, pausing for a moment to see if she could make out
light from another flashlight. When she saw nothing, she crept
forward, clutching the Maglite like a club. There were only a few
more steps to the office, phone, and 911.
Movement to her right had her swinging around as the hall
lights flashed on to blind her.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Luke caught the end of the flashlight in
his hand before she could club him. “What the hell are you doing?”
“What the hell are you doing?” Rowan hissed back, panic and
anger congealing in a nauseating mess in the pit of her belly. “Didn’t
you hear that?”
He stood before her in a long-sleeved crewneck and sweats,
gazing at her, brow furrowing. “What are you talking about?”
“Someone’s breaking in, you idiot. Didn’t you hear the glass?”
Blinking, she darted glances around her and beyond him.
The ghost of a smile pulled at his lips. “No one’s breaking in,
“I know what I heard.” She stepped around him toward the
office door, but he caught her by the arm with a brief shake of his
head. Rowan pulled free and stumbled back a step. “Are you crazy?”
He pulled in a deep breath and let it out in a slow leak. “Go
check if you’d like. There won’t be any broken glass.”
Narrowing her eyes at him, she hefted the flashlight back into
a batting position and crept up the hallway. It occurred to her she was
wearing the same long t-shirt she’d slept in, and when she glanced
back at Luke, his gaze was, sure enough, affixed to her legs. She
bared her teeth and he raised a brow.
Dismissing him, she pushed through the double doors, expecting
to see the block glass flanking the front entry shattered.
No, that couldn’t be right. The sound she heard was higher,
like thin glass breaking. It had to be the small windows off the kitchen.
Rowan backtracked past the bar and turned left into the small
kitchen. She stepped carefully, unwilling to shred her bare feet on
shattered glass but still prepared to concuss a prowler.
Not only were the two windows intact, but she’d forgotten
how long and narrow they were, maybe large enough to admit a kid or
very determined squirrel, but not the average adult.
Confused, she let the flashlight swing down next to her leg.
Luke stepped up beside her and she briefly considered
braining him with the Maglite, but knew she was too tired for
bloodshed. Even his.
“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than
are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
Rowan narrowed her eyes. “Is there a reason you’re quoting
Shakespeare at me?”
“Look, I’m not sure how open-minded you are, but you’re
going to hear, see, and smell lots of oddness in this old building.”
Rowan turned to look up into his face, expecting a smirk, but
not finding one. “What? You’re saying this place is haunted or
When he just looked at her, she chuckled. “Are you kidding
“A lot of history here. Leaves a mark…”
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