The Crow And The Bear
The Crow Series, Novella 2
Bounty hunter Callum Boggs—sometimes called Crow—arrives in the mining town of Silverton on a cold October day in search of a man who has committed unspeakable crimes. Skilled in the technique of dream scouting, Crow has narrowed the location of the criminal to Silas Ravine. No normal man would dare to venture into this region, where so many gruesome and unexplained murders have taken place—a piece of land forever haunted where Death still walks. But Crow is no normal man…
Jennie Livingstone knows her papa is in trouble. When none of the local men will come to her aid, she must accept a newly-arrived stranger—a half-Comanche bounty hunter—as her only ally. As they head into the mountains to track Jennie’s father, she can hear more than the whispers of man. The mines carry spirits, and her only hope in navigating the living and the dead lies with the Crow.
But is Jennie prepared for the consequences of where her fate with Callum Boggs may lead? And is she the woman who can hold fast to the Crow’s heart after all his years alone? Bewitched by the beautiful young woman, Callum must do everything he can to stay one step ahead of the spirits that can’t rest—just to keep Jennie and himself alive.
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“You’re not listening to me.” Jennie Livingstone scanned the gentlemen gathered in the common room at the Silverton Hotel. “This absence isn’t normal for Papa.”
“We know you’re worried, Jennie,” an older man named Sharply said. “But Ben knows these hills. He’s not missing. He’s just late.”
“No.” She shook her head. “Something’s wrong.”
She looked in turn at each one of them—strong men who had spent their lives mining and prospecting. She trusted them, knowing they were her papa’s friends. “Won’t any of you help me search for him?” In desperation, she added, “I’ll pay you.”
Silence engulfed the room.
“I’ll help you, miss.”
Jennie spun around at the deep timber of a man’s voice. With her back to the entryway, she hadn’t noticed his arrival.
Dark eyes greeted her from beneath a well-worn Stetson. Black hair cascaded to his shoulders. Tall, he filled the space he occupied, drowning out the presence of every other man in the room. His nose was reddened from the biting wind that had descended into the valley during the night, but while he had the look of an Indian, Jennie was put in mind of the crows that congregated around the home she shared with her father on the edge of town.
“Who’re you?” one of the miners asked.
“Name’s Callum Boggs. I’m a bounty hunter from Missouri. There’s talk Ben Livingstone went to Silas Ravine.”
Jennie gasped as agitation overtook the room. “How do you know that?” she asked.
“I have my sources.” Mister Boggs removed his hat. “Is that why none of these gentlemen will help you?” His eyes swept the room.
Stunned, Jennie turned back to Sharply, his grizzled features matched by the dirt-stained clothing he wore. “Did Ben go to Silas Ravine?”
The old man exhaled deeply. “He might’ve said that’s where he was headed.”
“Is that why he didn’t take me with him?”
“I expect so.”
Anger filled her. And fear. Her papa knew the stories about the ravine, knew the tragedy that could befall anyone who dared to go there. She always travelled with him into the hills when he scouted ore veins, but this time, he’d insisted that she stay back because she’d not been feeling well.
I shouldn’t have let him go.
Tears threatened, but she shored up her courage. Crying over spilled milk wasn’t going to find Papa. As she searched the room full of men, all avoided her gaze.
Bounty hunter Callum Boggs.
“Aren’t you afraid of Silas Ravine, as all these men are?” Her hand swept the room.
Narrowing his eyes, the barest hint of a smile played across his mouth. “No, miss, I’m not.”
“Then, you’re hired.”
He acknowledged his new employment status with a slight nod while planting the Stetson atop his head. “We best get started.”
Jennie wondered how this man had come from nowhere to help her, but she kept her curiosity in check. Perhaps heading into the hills with a stranger was lunacy, but Silas Ravine—the site of numerous missing men and reputed to be haunted—left her with few options. She could go alone. She certainly knew these mountains, the hills and valleys and streams, but a frisson of unease shivered down her spine. She was as afraid of Silas Ravine as any of the men here. If she must go—and for her papa she would—then making a bargain with a warrior of Hades was the best course of action.
Possibly the only course of action.
Copyright © 2015 Kristy McCaffrey
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