From the Author
Q: Is this book part of a series?
Q: Is the Black Raven Inn based on a real motel?
Q: Is "Parker Brown" a real person?
Q: What kind of research did you do for the book?
Q: Did you use a professional editor and/or cover designer?
Q: Do readers have to be fans of country music to enjoy Black Raven Inn?
From the Back Cover
With the motel room's door open, Taryn could already feel the warmth seeping back into the room, washing away the bitterness. She stood in the doorway and opened her cardigan, relishing the fresh air and sunlight and allowing them to wash over her.
The room's frosty air nipped at her back, reminding her of what lay in wait. There was something else waiting, too, something she couldn't put her finger on. It chilled her as well, but in a different way. This other thing that prodded the back of her legs and skulked around her shoulders was hostile and moist; it left a vile dampness on the places it caressed her, as though leaving its foul mark behind.
Taryn shivered and, feeling violated, quickly turned around.
The room was empty.
She returned to her chair and straightened the towel she'd been sitting on but remained standing. "I'm not afraid of you," she declared to the room, trying to gather whatever courage she could muster. "So if there's anything you want to do, you'd best be getting it out of your system right now."
The front door slammed closed with a "bang", the booming sound exploding in the tiny, confined space. Taryn covered her ears and cringed as a framed picture of Parker Brown fell from the nightstand, shattered glass scattering across the grimy floor. His radiant smile looked up at her through the cracks. He looked almost angelic.
Taryn wrapped her arms tightly around her waist and closed her eyes, willing her heart rate to slow down. Her instinct was to run screaming for Aker and make him check under the bed and in the closet, like any frightened child might have their parents do.
She envisioned herself sprinting, or limping in her case, to him shouting, "Daddy! Daddy! There's a monster under my bed!"
She saw him rising from his folding chair, patiently placing his book down (after carefully marking it with the "Friends of Police" bookmark), and striding with purpose to the room- his dark sunglasses and impassive expression hiding any urgency on his part. And then she saw him on all fours, lifting the soiled bed skirt and searching for her monsters.
The idea did the trick; Taryn's fear slowly subsided and the beating of her heart steadied under her trembling hand. She even felt the tickle of a smile.
"That wasn't very nice," she said as she opened her eyes and tried ignoring the tremor in her voice.
Marching back to the door, she opened it once again, flinging it wide until it hit the wall behind it. Once again, the room filled with clean air and brightness.
Taryn then turned and painfully crouched down to pick up the shards of glass that littered the floor. These she put in a little pile in the corner, out of the way so that nobody would step on them. She placed Parker's picture back in the cheap wooden frame, sans glass, and returned it to the nightstand. She kept her fingers on it, however, and studied the image. Once again his beatific smile radiated outwards, the demons he possessed unrecognizable in the 1960's publicity shot. Taryn paused to admire the Nudie Suit he wore, the sparkle of the rhinestones nearly as brilliant as the gleam in his eyes. The piercingly white color of the suit stood out from the stark, beige desert setting in stunning contrast. His long hair fell softly to his shoulders. His smile was serene and gentle and full of hope, with no premonition of what fate was to befall him in just a few short months.
She hoped he wasn't trapped in the room, hoped he'd somehow made it out.
The door banged closed again, this time with a force so strong that her easel tumbled to the ground, sending her canvas with it.
Parker's picture flew from her fingertips and soared across the room, hitting the wall on the other side of the bed before it dropped to the floor with a thud.
Trembling, Taryn closed her eyes and took long, ragged breaths. There was nothing she wanted more, at that moment, then to pack it all up and leave. She wasn't even sure she could make herself move, however; fear was a crippling thing.
"Ghosts can't hurt you, ghosts can't hurt," she chanted softly.
If there was one thing Taryn had learned through her adventures, it was that she had more to fear from the living than the dead.
She hoped that was still true.