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Author: Stacey Rourke
Title: Crane
Published On: May 24, 2014
Series: Legends Saga #1
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Self Published
Pages: 221
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The Horseman is unending,
his presence shan’t lessen.
If you break the curse,
you become the legend.

Washington Irving and Rip Van Winkle had no choice but to cover up the deadly truth behind Ichabod Crane’s disappearance. Centuries later, a Crane returns to Sleepy Hollow awakening macabre secrets once believed to be buried deep.

What if the monster that spawned the legend lived within you?

Now, Ireland Crane, reeling from a break-up and seeking a fresh start, must rely on the newly awakened Rip Van Winkle to discover the key to channeling the darkness swirling within her. Bodies are piling high and Ireland is the only one that can save Sleepy Hollow by embracing her own damning curse.

But is anyone truly safe when the Horseman rides?

“Tonight was meant to be the Harvest Ball,” Katrina said as she slid between the folds of her crimson and taupe gown. “Now the town is meeting, trying to concoct a plan to stop a being that death itself couldn’t tame.”

Ichabod sat on the edge of the bed with his back, respectfully, to Katrina while she changed. His loaded musket lay across his lap. In the reflection of the window in front of him he could see the soft curve of her hips as they tapered into her narrow waist. He cleared his throat and shifted his gaze to the floor. His chin tipped to the side, ever so slightly, to ask, “Are you secure in our plan?”

“I am to attend the summit on the arm of Brom Van Brunt,” she reaffirmed as she pulled her long, blonde locks out from the back of her gown and began tightening the laces of her bodice. “Then speak with as many people as I can, searching for anyone that may have motives leading to the Horseman.”

Ichabod nodded. Mostly to himself, he muttered the remaining details they were depending upon, “Rip will be inside as well. That man can finesse a crowd with a skill that truly baffles. If there are secrets to be found, he will uncover them. Irv will be outside with me, primarily because the Horseman isn’t the only one in this town that would like to see his head on a spike. We will be on horseback, patrolling the grounds with a few other men that have volunteered. You will have nothing to fear.”

Her elegant gown in place, Katrina turned to Ichabod wearing an expression equal parts timidity and fear. “What of Brom?”

The bed squeaked as Ichabod shifted his weight to face her. “Boorish as his ways may be, he cares for you. If you adopt the guise that you have interest in him, he will do all he can to protect you inside the gathering, while I provide you the same service outside.”

“And,” her long lashes brushed the tops of her cheeks as she cast her gaze to the floor, “you aren’t bothered by me being on his arm?”

In the midst of the plotting and planning, Ichabod had slipped into the role he knew well of military strategist. He had detached himself from the emotional aspects—until that very moment. The reality of his request sank in like a heavy stone. He had asked her to take another man’s arm, asserting her place beside him. The implications of that dug into his gut like a dull blade, churning and twisting deep.

“The mere idea of that makes me ache,” he stated, forcing the words through his suddenly parched throat. “Yet I would endure this hardship, and countless others, to keep you safe.”

She moistened her lips with a flick of her tongue, seemingly wrestling with words that gave her pause. “Ichabod, when this is over … w-would you call yourself mine?”

Ichabod closed his eyes. The euphoria of that question washed over him, cleansing him of all his sins with the promise of tomorrow. Rising to his feet, he took her velvet soft hand in his. A love he hadn’t known possible illuminated her striking face. “From the moment I saw you, my heart belonged to you alone. If by some miracle you were to give me your love in return, I would need nothing else to sustain me the rest of my days.”

Katrina’s palm tenderly brushed his cheek. “You have already claimed that.”

Allowing no further hesitation, Ichabod gathered her in his arms. Katrina tipped her head back, the soft curves of her body molding to his. Full lips parted in an alluring invitation it would take a stronger man than him to resist.

(4 / 5)

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

“Perhaps they know of your reputation,” the soft-spoken schoolmaster jabbed, “And have busied themselves locking away their daughter’s virtues.”

I’m a bit at odds with myself about how I feel about this book as it’s actually two different stories at once. We have the story set in the past of Ichabod Crane’s battle with the Headless horseman, which was actually my favorite parts of the story. The banter between Ichabod Crane, Washington Irving, and Rip Van Winkle is so fun I could easily read an entire book with them in it.

“In no way can a motion picture measure up to the mastery of storytelling in the book! No matter how ‘dreamy’ Mr. Depp might be!”

But in modern times the rest of our story plays out with Ireland Crane moving to Sleepy Hollow to get a fresh start after a bad relationship. She has no interest in stirring up trouble, but apparently fate or something else has a different plan in store.

This side of things took a while to warm up through a series of awkward encounters with the police and the workplace. Ireland’s got a sarcastic mouth on her, some great lines, and funny pop culture references.

I would have loved to have more room in the story to go into more depth with pretty much every aspect of the story. More inner turmoil as she tries to figure out what’s going on with her. More of the relationships between her and other characters. And more of Rip exploring the modern day would have been a laugh.

Once it got further along though, the story really took flight. I’m of course not going to tell you what happens, but the ending was a great setup for more books in the series. And leaves you with more questions than answers.