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Authors: Allie Standifer

GettingLuckyinGalway

BOOK: GettingLuckyinGalway
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Getting Lucky in Galway

Allie
Standifer

 

Erotic Escapes, Book Five

 

Calder loves Galway, but one local
seems determined to drive her crazy. Every female cat shifter worth her
whiskers knows it’s the chase that leads to the best mates. But Calder’s not
certain she wants to be caught.

Roark’s been told love is grand,
love is all a man needs to find happiness. Personally he’d rather live his
immortal life as a pleasure-seeking, trouble-stirring leprechaun. He’s doing
just that until fate steps in and everything changes.

Calder and Roark are helpless to
the desires of their hearts and the passionate needs of their bodies. Because
once a male fae and a female lion shifter sense their mates, they can’t keep
their hands, or paws, off each other. Now neither can wait to get lucky in
Galway.

A
Romantica®
paranormal erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

Getting Lucky in Galway

Allie Standifer

 

Prologue

 

“Calder, dear, please stop pacing and listen to me.” A soft,
ageless hand reached up to tug the agitated woman off her feet.

“I don’t understand, Aunt Dora. Why should I travel halfway
around the world to meet someone? I can easily meet men here in Louisiana.
Baton Rouge isn’t exactly a one-horse town. Not to mention Texas is just a few
hours away so there’s always Beaumont or Houston to meet men. Not fricking
Ireland, land of gifted liars and wee people obsessed with fixing shoes and
hoarding gold.”

“Calder Douget, you close your mouth right now. That is no
way for a lady to speak and especially in front of her godmother.” Dora patted
her perfectly pinned up silver hair while smoothing down her unwrinkled pleated
linen pants. “Besides, that tale of leprechauns is absolutely asinine.”

“Sorry,” Calder mumbled before throwing herself down on the
antique fainting couch. She hated this piece of furniture. What woman in her
right mind would choose to pass out on such an uncomfortable couch? “Dora, what
the hel—heck are you thinking sending me to Ireland? I’m a Southern girl, my
blood’s too thin to survive the cold over there.”

“Quit fussing, dear, it’ll give you wrinkles.” Dora poured a
perfect cup of tea, adding two lumps of brown sugar and a dollop of real cream
before handing the cup over.

Years of etiquette lessons had Calder’s back straightening,
her legs unfolding only to tuck one ankle behind the other. “Thank you,” she
responded automatically, waiting for the other woman to sip her beverage before
taking a drink of her own.

A delicate clink of china signaled her brief reprieve was
over. “Now, Calder, you know I wouldn’t do anything not in your best interest,
don’t you?”

Well, shit, when put that way she didn’t have a choice but
to agree with the older woman. “Yes ma’am.”

“Ireland is not the end of the world, dear. It’s simply
where you need to be to find what you’re looking for. In fact, you might find
some of the local history very colorful. You love spooky and haunted places.”
Dora dangled the bait and Calder swallowed it hook, line and sinker. “There are
several castles near Limerick including Leap Castle. It’s reportedly the most
haunted castle in Ireland. Though I hear it’s privately owned now, the new
owners offer tours and storytelling on some nights with a real tale-teller.”

Tale-teller was her godmother’s old-fashioned term for
minstrel or storyteller. Sometimes the older woman seemed to be caught up in a
middle-aged time warp. But still, her interest was piqued and, despite her
internal alarms shrieking, Calder found herself moving forward. “Why? What
happened to make it so haunted?”

Dora sat back in her perfect condition Louis XIV chair, set
her cup down and folded her hands in her lap. “Let me see…” She tapped a
perfectly manicured finger against her elegantly smooth chin. “I do know once
upon a time it was the stronghold of the vicious O’Carroll family. Nasty group
of people who should never have been given so much power with so little
knowledge or common sense. They didn’t have a clue of what to do with it or
themselves. Tragic, really. Around the sixteenth century the head of the family
invited his extended family, including the poorer relations from rural areas,
to a huge banquet. However, when the guests sat down to dinner, the
bloodthirsty O’Carroll slaughtered every one of them. Though slaughtering
innocents and guilty alike was pretty common back then, this family pretty much
made it into an art form. Just accepting a dinner invitation was risking your
own life.”

“Pretty much like coming to my daddy’s crawfish boil and not
bringing dessert or beer?” Calder’s lips quirked up at the analogy because even
though times changed her Southern born and bred father never would. He’d been
raised to believe proper guests brought gifts to show their gratitude and
friendship. To show up empty-handed was an insult and the height of disrespect,
according to her daddy.

“Your father may not be my favorite person, but comparing
him to the lawless and power-hungry O’Carroll clan is a bit much. Especially
considering Revyn Douget never slaughtered his family.”

Nausea rose in Calder’s stomach at the thought. “Oh wow.”
She swallowed before trying to speak again. “Yeah, I guess Daddy does coming
out smelling like a rose.”

“More than, considering sometime after the 1530s the Laird
died, no one knows from what or how, and a bloodthirsty inter-clan war broke
out. Every brother wanted to rule so they fought each other for leadership.
It’s even said one Teige O’Carroll killed his own priestly brother as he said
Mass in the chapel.”

“Yikes.” Calder might fight with them and occasionally smack
her brothers on the head, but through all their fights she never doubted their
love or loyalty.

Lips the color of coral pursed in thought before Dora spoke
again. “Then there’s the matter of the oubliette hidden behind a wall of the
castle chapel. The room was filled wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with bodies.
They say the spirits of those trapped in that hideous room continue to haunt
the castle looking for justice that will never come.”

“Oh that’s horrible, Aunt Dora.” A shiver worked its way
down Calder’s spine at the image her godmother painted. The story might pain
her heart and make her stomach twist, but she couldn’t help the sick
fascination growing inside her. “But I’ll be sure to book a tour.”

“That’s what I thought, dear. You have your father’s lack of
common sense when it comes to things that should scare you. And too much fear
with the things you should embrace,” Dora gently admonished her even as she
patted Calder’s hand.

“Okay, Limerick, Ireland,” Calder turned the conversation
away from topics neither one of them could win. “What, when and for how long?”

“Of course 501 will pay for your travel arrangements and put
you up in a nice cottage.”

Calder’s head already shook in denial. “Thanks, Aunt Dora,
but I have my own money and my own job. I can pay my own way.” Being a green
architect didn’t make her rich, but it kept her more than comfortable. Plus,
she got the bonus of working for herself and making her own hours.

“Calder, don’t argue with your elder. It’s rude. Besides,
Fanny, Flo and I already discussed this and we simply must insist. We have no
idea how long you’ll be there and why should you be out funds when this is
truly is a favor for the three of us?”

Suspicion reared its ugly head. “Where are the other two
aunts? It’s not like them to keep their tiny but busy noses out of my
business.”

For the first time since Calder stepped foot in her
godmother’s home, Dora looked uneasy. She even unbent enough to nibble on her
bottom lip before remembering her impeccable manners. “They are attending to
another important matter. Now, Calder, I have all your information in a packet
downstairs. Follow me and we’ll make sure everything is in order before you
leave in two days.”

“Two days?” Her favorite aunt had finally lost her mind.
“Dora, there is no way I can possibly leave the country right now. I’ve—”

“Later, dear,” Dora interrupted her before wrapping a slim
hand around Calder’s wrist and pulling the younger woman after her. “You’ve got
all the time in the world to come up with excuses neither myself nor my sisters
will buy. For now we’ve got details we need to work out. Let’s get busy.”

Chapter One

 

“Thanks for the ride, Pat.” Calder slipped out of the truck
and closed the door. She waited until the truck passed out of sight before
leaning over and tossing up the `contents of her stomach.

“Never, never, never,” she swore once her stomach settled.
“Never again! Haunted castles can go hang themselves. Along with all the
fucking ghosts who think it’s fun to tug a lion’s tail.”

As she’d promised her aunt, Calder made time to see the
local sights, which included a number of castles and ruins. What she hadn’t
counted on was the effect haunted historical sights had on her. Or more
specifically on her cat. Her poor lion paced inside her body, growing more and
more uncomfortable the longer they spent in these places.

Finally pleading a headache to her host, Calder managed to
catch a ride out of Leap Castle and away from the gracious owners and their
menagerie of spirits. The only good part to the trip so far was the boisterous,
generous locals who dug deeper into her heart every day.

The twisted acid feeling in her stomach subsided enough to
contemplate popping into the pub for a quick drink and dose of local gossip. She’d
argue with Liam over the difference between an American and a damn Yankee,
something her Southern roots demanded she correct every chance she got.

She’d taken two steps to the pub when the cheery ring of her
cell phone had her reaching into the pockets of her old and comfortable jeans.
A quick look at the screen almost had her rolling her eyes.

“Hello, Aunt Dora.”

“Going into the local pub tonight, dear?”

Her aunt never settled for polite social chitchat, instead
driving straight to the point. Lovely habit most of the time, but at others it
would be nice to ease into whatever fresh plot the older woman had devised.

“I’m doing great, Auntie D, though it’s chilly here and
seems to rain more than it doesn’t, but thanks so much for asking.”

A huff of irritation slid through the international line. “I
know you’re fine, Calder. You know you’re fine, so why waste time asking things
both of us know? Now are you going to the pub tonight or not?”

“It was the plan, but now…” Deliberately she let the
sentence trail off, knowing how much it would irritate Dora. Her new goal in
life was to irritate her dead mother’s best friend.

“Don’t be difficult, Calder, it’s beneath you.”

“Not much is beneath me these days, Aunt Dora,” she
responded, thinking how true the statement was. She hadn’t been naked with a
male in more time than she cared to admit. The only blessing of the mate bond
was females didn’t go into heat until after they met the man who would take
care of all their needs.

“Then a nice drink and some warm stew will fix you up
right,” her aunt trilled on, oblivious to Calder’s snarky remark. “Be sure to
tell Liam I said hello and watch out for the rake, dear.”

Without missing a beat, Calder stepped around the short
garden rake left in the mud. The small handle would have tripped her and landed
Calder right on her face in a rather large, watery puddle. “Thanks, Aunt D.”

She didn’t question the tidy lady’s queer talents. To do so
would open a can of worms Calder doubted she’d ever understand or accept.
Better to leave sleeping dogs, or in her case cats, lie.

“Not a problem, go enjoy your evening and call me with an
update in a few days. Also Fanny is very much looking forward to reading your
report on the local color, especially the ghost sightings. She’s a closet
spirit junkie.”

A chilled laugh spilled out of Calder’s chapped lips. “Yeah,
okay. Tell her I’ll send the report sometime tomorrow along with the pictures
and local flavor you asked for.”

Air kisses exchanged, Calder stuffed the phone in her pocket
then yanked the heavy, dark wood door open. And almost stopped in her booted
tracks at the sight that met her.

Hooded eyes met her gaze as she watched the stranger sitting
comfortably at her accustomed spot. The leather, after six weeks, had molded to
her unique ass shape

“Tried to warn the foreigner away, Calder, but like any damn
stubborn Yankee, this one don’t listen worth a darn.”

Seamus, the old pub owner, lifted a bright red brow in her
direction. Anticipation glittered in his clever green eyes as he waited for her
response. The man seriously loved his drama.

“Right shame to throw a perfectly good stranger out in the
rain,” she said, rolling her shoulders as she slipped her thick jacket off.
“But if we don’t preserve tradition then what’s the point?”

“Ah, you’ve the right of it, Calder, me darlin’. Tradition
must be respected no matter who or what you are.”

“Yep,” old Liam broke in with his thoughts from his
permanent perch to the right of the peat fire. Thick white whiskers covered his
wrinkled, pale face and wind-reddened cheeks. “Ya think the foreign fellow will
show some manners or not?”

Calder grinned, unable to stop herself. Everyone in Seamus’
pub knew the stranger was listening to every word they spoke and still they
didn’t care and continued as if he were not. She loved the shameless, sneaky
conniving Irishmen and women. People truly after her feline heart.

“Tell me, Liam, was I so obvious when I arrived?” she asked
even though she knew what his answer would be.

Vivid, intelligent green eyes twinkled below bushy gray
eyebrows that looked like two caterpillars mating. “Of course not, darlin’, ya
were the picture of all that is good and proper. Nary a problem with ya since
then either.”

Swallowing her laughter, Calder wondered when the old coot
changed his selective memory to put her in such a flattering light. “If I
recall correctly,” she drawled, letting the flavor and heat of the Louisiana
bayou roll off her tongue. “You about had a heart attack at the thought of some
Rebel gal staying near you and yours.”

Never one to back down from a fight, imaginary or real,
Liam’s stooped shoulders straightened in a fighter’s stance. A long draw from
the pint in front of him and her one-time nemesis was ready for their frequent
battle of wits.

Before either one of them could volley their first strike, a
new, low voice broke in. “Wouldn’t it be simpler if you asked me to move?”

Calder blinked, shocked at the simple question while her
mouth opened and closed for several seconds as her brain tried to form a
coherent thought.

“Could be both of you are too stubborn and easy to rile,
which is why I’m vacating said seat and any middle position in your wee
skirmish.”

“Now see here—”

“But we weren’t—”

Calder and Liam protested jointly, but none of their words
had any effect on the handsome stranger.

“By all means,” he swept a hand out to indicate the
time-worn leather barstool in a gallant gesture, “the seat is yours, as is the
company.” Fluid movements saw his jacket tugged on and a few bills tossed
carelessly on the shiny bar before the stranger headed out the door.

Calder had to make one last attempt. A not so steady hand
gently pulled him to a stop as he passed by her. “Look, I’m sorry and so is
Liam. We’re both a little ornery. We shouldn’t have pulled you into our game.
Please say you’ll forgive us, then stay and have a pint on us.”

He turned to her, this stranger causing her trouble, at
least trouble to her hormones, and Calder’s knees almost buckled in shock as
lust and a profound sense of completion slammed into her. Eyes the most intense
shade of green she’d ever seen or even imagined looked back at her with only a
faint trace of amusement.

Oh please
, Calder prayed silently,
don’t let him
be the one,
even though she knew it was already too late. Power, confidence
and a cloak of don’t-fuck-with-me settled around this man like an old friend.
The fragrance of fresh night air teased her senses along with a touch of mint
and the smell of clean male skin. But out of everything she did smell on him,
the only thing she didn’t was the only one she wanted.

The rich smell of earth and mint teased her sensitive nose.
Unfortunately, Calder didn’t have to turn her head to know exactly where the
scent came from. The damn sneaky Irishman who wasn’t an Irishman. Why hadn’t
she paid more attention to what the sisters told her? Because the cat in her
simply refused to accept help with any situation. To say cats were independent…
Well, they had been worshiped as gods. Was it any wonder as a species cats had
an overinflated sense of superiority? Not like they didn’t deserve the worship,
but still it had a tendency to lead to a few problems here and there.

When she got her hands on her godmother and those sisters of
hers… Not too many ideas came to mind when confronting such powerful women.
Until then she’d keep her eyes on wily, sweet-talking, handsome
human/shifter/male.

He smelled like many things, but not a single one of them
was feline. Flo would never send Calder halfway across the world to find her
mate and not tell her the mate wasn’t a cat shifter.

A flash of Flo’s face crossed her mind, bringing everything
in Calder to a halt. “Oh shit, Sherlock.” Of course Dora would do exactly that.
Her godmother would do anything and say anything she wanted.

“I should stay for the opportunity to be insulted and
ignored some more. Oh joy, what fun I shall have tonight.” He smirked, those
sensual lips curving in a downward tilt. “Forgive me if I don’t fall over
myself accepting your invitation.”

“So you’ll not accept our sorries and walk away angry even
though we’ve given ya our sincerest?” Liam spoke up as he pushed his scrawny
frame away from the deep cushioned chair. “My girl here offered ya the words,
the sentiment were honest. Better men than you have accepted far less.”

“The guilt card normally work for ya, old man?”

The twinkle was back in Liam’s eyes as he stared at the
younger man, his smile curved in victory. “Can’t make a body feel guilt iff’n
there’s nothing there to start with. Must have a mighty heavy conscience on ya,
boy.”

“The name is Roark, not boy. I’ll accept both the apology
and the pint providing you let me buy the next round.” Roark’s big masculine
palm stretched out to clasp her friend’s. Before she could so much as blink
both men bellied up to the bar, sharing slaps on the back and stories of the
good old days.

Her Nana had been right all those years ago. Men really were
crazy!

 

Driving an American crazy hadn’t been in his plans this
evening, but a smidge of extra luck never hurt anyone. Roark grinned at his
pun, quickly bringing the ale-filled mug up to hide his reaction. Not that any
person in the pub would get the joke, but still, no reason to take chances.

The strange energy filling the pub rocked through him and he
needed a few more minutes to deal with the effect on his body and magic. Too
damn bad he sensed the root of his otherworldly troubles lay directly at the
feet of one plump, curvy, maddening woman.

Not here
, he silently pleaded to whatever gods chose
to listen,
not now, and certainly not a mouthy American female
.

“What brings you to our tiny corner of heaven, Roark?” the
older man asked as he settled his scrawny frame onto the high dark wood
barstool. His thick glass of Guinness was empty and his wrinkled fingers
impatiently tapped the old oak bar.

“Some of this and that, but you’ve the right of it. A
prettier town I’ve yet to see.” He sipped from his own mug, enjoying the thick,
rich taste of the brew and concentrating on anything but the blood rushing from
his head to his cock.

Liam’s caterpillar-thick eyebrows rose. “Seems ya got a
touch of Irish in your blood, lad.”

“Maybe a drop or two,” was all he admitted to the older man
while keeping his eye out for the sexy Southerner. Right after she’d paid for
the beers, the mouthy stranger had excused herself.

Something about her twitched his ears in all the right ways.
Did it mean she’d lead him to the ultimate treasure? That was the goal the
three sisters had given him before shoving Roark none too gently out their
door.

What leprechaun in his right mind would refuse such a quest?
Not to mention such a bored leprechaun? The task the sisters set out for him
gave him something else to do with his time besides gaze into his well and wish
for his
Liaria
, the greatest and most prized treasure in any collection.

Fanny, with a dangerous twinkle in her all too knowing green
eyes, had informed him a trip to his homeland would put Roark on the trail of
the greatest treasure of all time. The older woman would have said if the
treasure was his mate, wouldn’t she? Thinking of Fanny with her elegant and
classy silks and linens, pure silver hair always worn in a proper French twist,
he realized she would definitely twist her words to ensure she said one thing
while he heard another.

501 Travel Agency, owned by the three sisters, specialized
in exotic and foreign travel. Trips to lands not often seen nor heard about.
How they did what they did, no one in the mortal world knew, and immortals were
kept in constant confusion with the three women’s strange ways.

“She’s a bit more than most men can handle,” Liam broke into
Roark’s thoughts.

Keeping his expression bland, Roark turned halfway to look
at the other man, but kept her in his peripheral vision. “She have a name?”

“Calder, Calder Douget,” her silky voice broke into their
conversation. He watched in amused silence as the sassy woman with no fear drew
in a deep breath, her nostrils flaring at whatever scent caught her attention.

Smoothly turning his barstool, Roark faced her, a smile
designed to weaken her knees lifting his lips. “Ahh, beautiful lady, it is
truly a pleasure to meet you.”

“I think this one’s been spending all his time with his lips
locked to the Blarney Stone,” she said in a mock whisper to Liam.

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