Two Hearts and a Crow
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by Jane Toombs
Description: Ravens are common in Alaska--crows are rare. Especially a disabled talking crow like Iago. Women who hold out for marriage are rare in Alaska, but the heroine persists. Men who want no part of marriage are common in Alaska, and the hero is one. What happens when these three form a triangle?
eBook Publisher: eXtasy eBooks/Devine Destinies, 2011 2011
eBookwise Release Date: June 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [145 KB]
Reading time: 88-124 min.
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The July sun hot on her bare arms, Isabel Beech tried to hold onto her temper as she stared at Lola Armitage's angry face over the backyard fence.
"I didn't invite your son into my yard," Isabel said as calmly as she could. "He was trespassing. If Iago startled him, that's hardly my fault. Fortunately no one got hurt." Which was either just plain luck or faulty aim because Billy boy had been throwing rocks at Iago. Again.
"Billy was not trespassing!" Lola cried. "You're always blaming him. Since you refuse to do anything, I fully intend to call the police." She stalked away.
Isabel bit her lip as she headed for the house. She couldn't afford another complaint about Iago, yet short of tying charming Billy to a post, she couldn't prevent the boy sneaking into her fenced yard. She'd already tried reasoning with the eight-year-old to no avail. He either couldn't or wouldn't understand what she told him.
She could keep Iago inside, but since Alaska had such short summers, it wasn't fair to coop him up in the apartment all the time. She had to come up with some alternative.
Isabel settled to work again in the kitchen, glancing wistfully out the window. She tilted her head to catch a between-buildings-glimpse of the Chugach Mountains, gray-brown against the July blue of the sky. She turned her attention back to the sink and the mound of cherries still to be pitted and brushed a wisp of dark hair from her forehead, careful not to use her red-stained fingers. It would have been a perfect day to hike in the mountains, maybe with a picnic lunch to eat by a stream.
Unfortunately, by the time she finished making and baking the cobbler, it'd be too late to go. Besides, a picnic needed to be shared. There was always Iago. He might not be the ideal picnic companion, but his company was preferable to none.
The back gate creaked and Isabel groaned, thinking it was Billy from across the alley again, looking for trouble. She liked kids--she wouldn't work in a nursery school otherwise--but his mother's permissive attitude made Billy impossible to reason with no matter how hard Isabel tried. Since his mother always approved of whatever he did, Billy hadn't yet learned to respect other people's property. It was doubtful he ever would.
Tearing off a sheet of paper toweling to wipe her hands, she started for the door, Iago called out, "Hello, lover," the greeting she'd taught him, as she flung open the screen.
The man standing under the large cottonwood tree that shaded the yard stared from Isabel up into the heart-shaped leaves and back to her, as if unsure where the greeting came from. He was a total stranger.