Haunted Sanctuary (Green Pines Sanctuary - By Rogers, Moira
This is for our editor, Anne Scott. Four years ago, she bought a book called Cry Sanctuary, and we’ve never looked back. Thank you for believing in us, even when we make that almost impossible to do, and for continuing to support us, even when we go a little nuts.
Practically the whole damn town was asleep already.
Here and there, tiny pockets of activity caught Jay Ancheta’s eye as he maneuvered his SUV through the darkened streets. A handful of high school kids drifted out of the athletics building behind the football field, undoubtedly players leaving a late practice. A few storefronts still glowed with faint light, owners sticking around to handle inventory or bookkeeping, and he made a mental note to check again on his way back into town.
For now, he had a destination in mind, and he could only wish the adrenaline pumping through his veins had more to do with the job at hand…and less to do with seeing Eden Green.
He pulled into the parking lot on the east side of the library. The windows upstairs were dark, but before he could wonder where Eden might be, he spotted her coming out the back exit. She wore no sweater or jacket, only slacks and a lightweight white shirt, though the breeze tossed her blonde hair as she paused to lock the door.
As soon as Jay stepped out of his vehicle, he caught the sweet citrus scent of her shampoo. “Eden.”
She whirled with a sharp, in-drawn breath, but the tension in her face vanished when she squinted through the darkness and caught sight of him. “Jay, thank God. You startled me.”
“Sorry about that.” He leaned against the front fender of his SUV, adopting the least threatening pose he could manage. “I was hoping to catch you before you locked up for the night.”
Blushing, she turned back to the door and turned the key with a click. “If no one’s here, sometimes I lock up a little early. There’s a television show I like to watch…” Her voice trailed off as she reached the parking lot, her gaze taking in his uniform. “Is this official business? Nothing’s happened, has it? My father—”
“Hale and hardy when I saw him this afternoon,” Jay cut in. “It’s nothing like that. I had a question, that’s all, about Green Pines.”
“About the farm?” She stopped a few paces shy of him and tilted her head. “What do you need to know?”
Her heart was beating fast, and Jay drew in another breath, grateful for the shift in the wind that carried her scent away this time. “I’d have asked your dad when I was at the diner today, but you’re listed as the property owner of record. The Wilsons called me, said they heard car engines and commotion out there a couple nights ago. Do you know anything about that?”
“A commotion?” She frowned. “No, there shouldn’t be anyone out there. Unless the teenagers you ran off last summer decided it was safe again…”
“No, I doubt that.” Damn it. “Just to be safe, I’ll ride out tonight and take a look around.”
She lifted her keys. “I’ll follow you.”
Eden Green might look every inch the bashful small-town librarian, but she’d reportedly inherited her mother’s legendary stubborn streak, and forbidding her from joining him would only get her back up. “I’d rather you didn’t. An abandoned farm’s mighty attractive to someone looking for a place to conduct all kinds of illegal business. It could be dangerous.”
For a moment she considered him, her teeth working at her lower lip. “I’d like to come,” she said finally. “I can ride with you, if you prefer, and stay in the SUV until you’re sure there aren’t any criminals.”
Her blue eyes were clouded, but with something more complex than mere curiosity or even outrage that someone might be trespassing on her property. She had reasons for asking, reasons that left anxiety and a strange sort of expectation hanging in the air, and Jay found himself nodding. “It’s your place. Ride with me and I’ll make sure you stay safe.”
“I know you will.” She smiled and tucked her keys into her purse. “Thank you, Jay. It means a lot to know you’re keeping an eye on things. I keep hoping my father will let me at least try to sell the farm, but…well. Family is complicated.”
“So I hear.” Family, he knew little about. Pack, on the other hand, could be both simple and tragically convoluted. “And looking out for you is my job. Now