My newest E-book release, RIONA'S LUCK, is now available!
Riona Watkins, a sociologist from New York, always had bad luck with love. When her work takes her to Ireland, the birthplace of her mother, she thinks her luck might finally change. But the bad luck continues when she meets Emrys Kane, a mysterious man with piercing green eyes who comes to her rescue when she is harrassed by a male colleague in a local pub. He tells her the meaning of her Celtic name and seems to be very interested in her, but disappears before she can really get to know him! Will she find him again before she leaves Ireland or will her bad luck continue?
The Midsummer festival was among the three largest that the Daione Sidhe celebrated. There would be bonfires on every hill, feasting and dancing in honor of St. John, (John the Baptist). A great time for the young males to choose their brides. Throughout history, many chose beautiful mortals, stealing them away, though it had not been so for over a hundred years. Emrys knew his bride would be mortal and she would possess dark eyes and dark hair. Other than that, he didn’t know what exactly she would look like.
“I’m going into the city of Dublin tonight father, a change of pace is in order I think,” he chuckled. Alphonsus grimaced a bit, “Among the mortals? Whatever will ya find there? Nothing but trouble, I tell ya!” He hoped his son would chose among the females in their clan. Perhaps even Bevis, a lovely fae with long golden hair and large eyes, blue as sapphires, she’d grown up with Emrys and the two had once been inseparable. Mortals were bothersome, most of the old ones believed and still honored the fae, but the young ones showed no interest or respect toward their kind.
“Oh let him go husband,” his mother, Avaline, chided, knowing of her son’s true intentions. She too, had seen a vision of her future daughter-in-law. As usual, when his mother interjected, his father conceded. He was a softie at heart when it came to Avaline, his lovely wife, with fiery red hair that matched her temperament.
“Very well then, go with my blessing, but be careful!” His father warned. Emrys smiled at his father with a nod to his mother. Their home was high in the hills, but it would take him no time to reach the city of Dublin.
Riona nursed her pint of Guinness as she finished off the last of her shrimp when she felt a cool wind at her back. She slowly turned around to see where it was coming from. Maybe the door of the pub’s entrance had been opened. But when she looked at the door, it was closed and no one stood at the entrance.
“What’s wrong darlin?” Jackson asked, noting her turn to the door. Riona rolled her eyes again, “first off, I’m not your darlin, ok? Secondly, I just felt a draft, I thought maybe it was from the door.”
“Well e-x-c-u-s-e me, didn’t mean to offend. What? You think there might be a ghost or maybe a little leprechaun lurkin’ about the place?” Jackson teased.
“Shove it Jackson!” She’d had enough of his school boy teasing.
“Well now, that’s the most tempting offer I’ve had all night darlin!” He laughed.
“Jackson, you son of a…” she began, glaring at him.
“Is this person bothering you milady?” A smooth voice said from behind her as she felt once more the cool wind. She turned slowly to see the most beautiful green eyes she’d ever seen gazing quizzically at her. They seemed to pierce right through her. She took a moment to gather her thoughts as she swallowed hard. “Ah…, no, it’s nothing I can’t handle,” she finally managed.
“Aye, by the looks of him, I tend to agree with ya,” he laughed softly.
“Look here, you mind your own business, she’s with me, ok?” Jackson warned.
“And are yer with him, miss…?” he replied, ignoring Jackson, his eyes still focused on Riona.
“Watkins, Riona Watkins. He’s my colleague, nothing more,” she smiled, beginning to blushing under his steady gaze. Riona looked him over; he was gorgeous with his lightly freckled face and his lean build. Wearing a slightly worn green t-shirt and dark blue jeans with a thick, heavily studded black belt, he was a fine figure of a man. But his eyes are what drew her in most. Riona felt they were the most unusual shade of green.
“Riona, what a beautiful name milady. It means royal. I am Emrys, Emrys Kane. Pleased to meet yer acquaintance, milady,” he took her right hand and kissed it, causing Riona to blush. She liked the sound of that as she hadn’t known the meaning of her name; she never bothered to ask her parents either.
Jackson became furious. There was no way this Irishman was going to get into her pants. Not after he’d been trying to get her drunk so he could do just that!
“Like I said, the lady is with me, so back off!” Jackson warned, stepping in front of Riona.
In a flash, Emrys twisted Jackson’s right arm behind his back. Jackson had no time to move.
“I beg to differ, seems the lady speaks the truth, ya best quiet down before I really get rough, aye?”
“Yeah, sure, whatever you say man,” Jackson winced, the pain in his arm throbbing so much, he thought for sure it was broken, his pride and ego bruised. As Emrys released him, the pain in his arm quickly subsided. He sat back on the bar stool embarrassed and angry. He looked around to see if anyone was staring, but to his surprise, it was if nothing had happened. Everyone seemed to be involved their own conversations.
Riona just stood in amazement; it was like time stood still. When Emrys extended his hand, asking her to join him at his table, she nodded yes, curious about this man, grateful he’d done what she wanted to do to the annoying Jackson.
“I’ll just be…here…at the bar, when you’re ready to go back to the hotel,” Jackson called behind them. Riona turned briefly to him and nodded before walking away with Emrys.
Once seated at his table in the dimly lit corner, Emrys smiled warmly at Riona. “I do apologize milady; I’m really not a brute.” Riona laughed as she began to relax a bit. “It’s ok, he was workin my last nerves anyway and besides, I think you only hurt his pride.”
“He did not have the best intention; he was planning to take yer virtue, milady,” Emrys beamed and his eyes seemed to glow. Riona laughed again, she loved his accent and being called “milady”, it made her feel as regal as her name meant. He didn’t have to worry about her “virtue”; she’d lost that during her freshman year at NYU.
“I’m not a virgin, but I had no intention of “giving it up” to him tonight or any night,” she laughed. Her laughter warmed Emrys and stirred something deep inside him. He knew instinctively this was his bride. He wanted to steal her away right this instant but decided against it. She must come to him willingly. He would never force her affections.
“Yer American are ya?” He gave her a genuine smile. He found her to be amusing, beautiful, and very charming.
“Yes, but my mother was born here in Ireland. Kinvara, I think, in…”
“A village in Galway Bay, aye, I know of it. That is very interesting.” He excitedly interjected, but stopped when he noticed the look on her face change and he quickly apologized for cutting her off. He was just glad to know that she was at least part Irish.
“It’s alright, just don’t do that again, I hate being interrupted,” she said, half serious. Just because he was handsome, it didn’t mean she was going to let him completely charm her into anything.
“Duly noted milady,” he nodded. She seemed to possess the feistiness of his mother, a fact that endeared her to him even more. They continued conversing with Riona telling him about her job in New York, her family and why she was here in Ireland. In fact, he let her do most of the talking as he listened intently hanging on her every word, but soon she began to yawn.
“Oh goodness, I’m sorry, but I’m a bit jetlagged, I just flew in late this afternoon. I have a long day tomorrow, so I’m gonna head back to the hotel.”
“May I accompany ya? I will leave straightaway once yer safely inside.” He hated for their time to end, but he planned on staying close. Riona thought for a moment, “No, I need to go back with Jackson, he did escort me and we are at the same hotel, the O’Callaghan. I enjoyed meeting you Emrys and I hope to see you again.”
“Aye milady, that you will,” he smiled eagerly, not bothering to ask which O’Callaghan hotel as there were three of them in town, the closest being the Alexander. He stood up when she did, taking her hand and kissing it once more before he watched her walk back to Jackson. When she turned around to see him once more, he was gone.
Just as well, she thought to herself. Maybe she should have let him walk her back. She had been vague about where she was staying, but she had a feeling even in this large city, he would undoubtedly find her. There was something very mysterious and scary about Emrys, but she wanted to see him again anyway. She wouldn’t make it too easy though, after all, her home was in New York and she had no intention of having a long distance relationship. She shrugged and guided Jackson out of the pub. They walked quietly back to the hotel and Riona was grateful for the silence.
The days passed quickly as she and the team made their way about Dublin concentrating on Parnell and O’Connell streets. Parnell being a working class area where an influx of new cultures emerged. There were several African owned shops and she interviewed many who told her of the racial tensions there, beginning in the early 1990’s. Many of the native Irish resented the migration of other cultures who now claimed Irish citizenship. Many stores were vandalized, but still, the shops remained. Suspicion, fear, jealousy and ignorance prevailed as the area transformed in a multicultural space. Although there were other areas of multicultural influence, Parnell Street has by far the largest African population in Dublin.
Riona visited Conway’s daily in hopes of seeing Emrys again, but she didn’t see him there. After a week passed with no sight of him, she decided to stop looking altogether. She kicked herself for playing too hard to get. Even if it would have just been a fling she had while in Ireland, it was more than she had at home. But what did she do? Drive the poor man away. She had always been unlucky where men were concerned. He wasn’t the first man to show interest, but he was the first to actually hold her attention for longer than five minutes. Emrys struck something deep inside her and she couldn’t shake it or him. She dreamed of him, his voice; his eyes. Every part of her longed for him.