I wanted to write an Irish romance almost from the moment I knew I wanted to write. Below, please enjoy the beginning...
The large glass sign cast a green glow to the empty sidewalk that she stood upon. “Dublin’s” was written in beautiful script inside shamrock and punctuated by a colorful pot of gold medallion. Apprehension slithered through me as I asked myself if I should have let them know in advance that I was coming home.
The word itself chased away some of the chill remaining from the rain that still peppered the rooftops and I pulled the silk scarf I wore a little tighter. It had been far too long since I’d been home.
The flat in Manhattan had more amenities than I could use along with a panoramic view of Central Park. It was everything I’d thought I wanted.
After my third book shot to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List and dominated it for sixteen weeks; my publisher convinced me to move to America where I would have better access to publicize the fourth novel. I jumped at the chance to leave the small town in Ireland that I’d grown up in and see more of the world I’d only seen on television, and the healthy bonus my publisher dangled in front of me cemented the deal. In less than a month I had packed my favorite belongings and settled into the Manhattan apartment my publisher had rented on my behalf.
The energy of her new city had excited me almost immediately; the quiet streets of Dunhar were replaced by the noise of traffic, sirens and the constant hum of people moving about New York. People I passed no longer lifted a hand in greeting with a friendly smile, but brushed past me as if I didn’t exist. I’d known everyone in Dunhar and even the tourist’s that flocked to our town for it’s old world charm and legendary Dublin’s Irish Pub, gave a friendly greeting to all they passed.
In New York, I found complete anonymity. I no longer had to worry about the Delaney sisters spreading gossip at lightening speed each time I had slipped up. I could walk through the local shops and browse to my hearts content and not be told how much I resembled Ma. And in the afternoons, I could wrap myself up in my work before heading to the clubs with my newfound friends.
It was what I’d dreamed of.
I was wrong.
I’d quickly grown tired of buildings that blocked the view of the sun and sky, pavement that covered the silky green grass that begged me to take off my shoes as I walked upon it. It’s been eighteen months since I’d dared walk anywhere without shoes.
What good was a gourmet kitchen if you had no one to cook a decent Irish stew for? I had no use for a lavish guest bedroom when there would be no one to visit me. My father had a pub to run and while he’d given me his blessing when I left, I knew that I took part of his heart along with me. I was his only family, my mother having died too many years ago, leaving a scar on both our hearts.
My thumb found the fingernail I’d nervously chewed on during the ride over from the airport. It wasn’t my father that I was nervous about seeing. Aidan Dailey still worked side by side with Da.
Aidan who had tugged on my pony tails as a wee lass and taught me to ride a bike in the street in front my father’s pub. Aidan who had saved me from the ocean when Bradley Mahoney dared me to swim a lap during a storm and my stubborn nature would not permit me to back down. Bradley had suffered a broken nose for that stunt.
I had earned my first kiss. Aidan had plucked me from the ocean and wrapped me in his own shirt. He was so relieved that I was okay that the kiss had caught us both by surprise.
It was the first of many kisses and more delicious things to follow that we had shared. Aidan had been my first for many things. Aidan had been my only.
I closed my eyes, sucked in a breath and pulled open the door to Dublin’s. The scent of fresh baked bread, and beer mixed with the heady smell of the fire that roared in the fireplace stationed in the center of the room. Music surrounded me like a warm blanket. A mixture of traditional tunes and modern rock flowed throughout the room like a fine whiskey and I smiled to myself knowing that Aidan had finally gotten my father to agree updating the music.
Opening my eyes, I let them wander around the room taking in the familiarity of it all. George and Al sat in their usual corner of the bar, whiskey splaying out of their glasses and they motioned with their hands in probably another good-hearted disagreement. Molly Flanagan expertly carried a tray full of food and green beer through the bustling crowd toward a table full of tourist. “Why is it green?” a young woman squealed as she took her first sip of the local brew Dublin’s was famous for. The other patrons at her table ignored her as they watched the throngs of dancers sway to the tune being played by this week’s band, The Blarney Stones. I cringed when I read their name. While my Da had always strived to make his customer’s happy, he believed that Dublin’s had a responsibility to remain authentic. I shook my head knowing that Aidan had not only argued for the type of music but the name of the band. I’m sure my father had a few choice words about The Blarney Stones. Being an Irishman to the bones he had no trouble speaking his mind, whether you wanted to hear it or not. Apparently a trait I shared with him.
Da stood at the bar, towel in hand as he joined the conversation with George and Al. At the other side of the bar stood Aidan, his back to me and bending over to heft a fresh keg off the floor. My heart stuttered as the muscles of his back and arms strained against the tight shirt he wore, reminding me of just how much I missed the feel of those muscles bunching under my touch as Aidan hovered most of his weight above me, one stray dark wave of hair falling over his eyes. Heat shot down to my center igniting a flame I thought had long since been extinguished
Aidan turned then, brushing that same strand of dark hair out of his eyes. Those eyes widened, allowing the blue to make them shine like the midnight sky. His smile lit his face and he hopped over the bar in once graceful movement, his leather boots barely skimming the top of the bar.
“Sweet Mary!” He called as he weaved around the throng of people. A dozen heads turned toward me then and my Da rushed over, shock and pleasure fighting for space on his face. He beat Aidan to me, tears of joy glistened in his eyelashes. “My baby has finally come home.” He placed a kiss on each cheek before leaving one on my lips.
Aidan pulled me from Da and spun me to face him. He lifted me off my feet and swirled me around as I looked down into his smiling eyes. He slid me back down toward the floor and the friction between our bodies fueled that passionate fire even further. Before I could let out the breath I’d been holding, Aidan stole it straight from my lips in a mind numbing kiss. “Don’t look so surprised Lassie. Can’t a man kiss his own wife?” Aidan grinned.
I shook my head slowly, swallowing the growing lump in my throat. “We’re not married, Aidan. Not anymore.”
He arched one eyebrow in challenge. “And did your fancy high-priced lawyer send you the final papers?”
My jaw dropped as I racked my brain for the answer. I sent the paperwork back to my attorney’s office. I never expected a reply from them. “I-I signed the papers.” I stammered.
“I didn’t.” And with that Aidan turned on his heel and walked back behind the bar.
I hope you enjoyed this. I'll keep you posted on the completion of this book and others on this blog and my webpage, www.RhondaLPrint.com
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Happy St. Paddy's Day!
Anyone want a drink? How 'bout a toast to the Irish!