Authors: Liz Gavin
Luck of the Irish
2014 by Liz Gavin
Published by Elessar Books
All rights reserved, including the right to publish this book or portions thereof (except for reviews, news media reports, brief quotes with attribution, and purposes of promotion of this book or other novels by Liz Gavin) in any form whatsoever
This book is a work of fiction. All characters in this novel are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
The material in this book is for mature audiences only and contains graphic sexual content and is intended for those over the age of 18 only.
All participants in sexual activities within this book are over the age of 18.
Thank you, my dearest alpha readers: Allison, Alyssa, Erin, Genna, Kimber, Leigh-Ann, Loralea, Miake, Maureen, Niki, Sam, and Tonya. This book wouldn’t have been half as good without your unrelenting commitment and impressive hard work. You’ve taken time out of your busy lives to read, comment and send me feedback, which is priceless nowadays. Also, you’ve nudged me on when I got stuck.
Not to mention the fact that through your eyes, I was able to see interesting and different aspects of Keira, Declan, and the other characters, which enriched the story and took it to whole new levels.
I’m very proud of what we have accomplished as a team.
As Rick merged into the heavy traffic heading towards Boston, he heard his wife’s soft sobbing and glanced her way. He knew Claire well enough to recognize the onset of a potential meltdown. He decided to do something, then, in order to prevent further problems.
“Claire, please, stop crying, sweetheart. Keira’ll be fine.”
“How can you be so sure, Rick? Call it a mother’s intuition or whatever you want to call it. I feel something bad is going to happen to her.”
“Nonsense. You used to say the same thing when she started going to school. Then, again, when she’d go to her friends’ houses for sleepovers. I don’t want to start on your reaction when she went to college. Remember?”
She sniffed and looked away before answering, “I know it sounds crazy, honey. I can’t explain it to you. I just feel it.”
“Nothing will happen to Keira. She’s a lot tougher than you give her credit for. In fact, I think she’s so insecure because
overprotect her, Claire. This trip will be a great opportunity for Keira to find out how strong she is. She’ll be on her own for the first time.”
“That’s exactly why I’m so worried, Rick. She won’t have anybody there to take care of her. Here, she’s always had Megan or me to look after her.”
“Come on, Claire. She’s twenty-two years old and hardly in need of a nanny,” he laughed when his wife scowled at him. “Don’t give me the dirty look. It’s true. And it’s not only you. Megan’s a great older sister. She’s always encouraged Keira but I feel her strong personality sometimes overshadows her younger sister.”
When it became obvious that his wife wouldn’t reply to him any time soon, Rick rubbed his palm on her left thigh gently, trying to calm her down, “I know you mean well, baby. It’s just that Keira needs to find out, by herself, that she’s a strong young woman.”
Reluctantly, Claire nodded before intertwining her fingers through her husband’s. Feeling confident he had restored peace to his marriage, Rick begged her, “Promise me you won’t call Keira every ten minutes.”
“Oh, you’re unbelievable!”
Claire let go of his hand with a shove and turned to the window, leaving her husband to wonder what he had said to offend her.
I grew up with four sisters. I’ve got a wife and two daughters. But I’ve never been able to understand what women want
* * * *
A few hours later, Keira got off the Aer Lingus plane at Dublin Airport, still feeling like she was walking on air. Her heart beat fast and she had a lump in her throat. She felt very stupid for having an anxiety attack instead of being happy she was finally in Ireland!
she told herself as she took deep breaths.
She looked around the hall, taking in the beautiful building. It was all made of glass and tubular structures, which meant it was amazingly modern. Not exactly what she had expected to see in ‘the old country’, as her grandfather used to call Ireland.
It was also surprisingly bright, at least, as bright as any Irish day could be.The sky was overcast but the large glass windows captured whatever little light was able to pass through the massive clouds.
The sight of those heavy clouds didn’t calm her down much, but she was going through a good kind of anxiety attack. It was understandable, too. She had been so excited about that trip that, for the past couple of weeks, she hadn’t been able to sleep or eat. The trip was a dream come true.
Since she was a toddler, her grandfather, who was almost eighty at the time, used to sit her on his lap and tell her the most fantastic stories about the Emerald Isle. Padraic had never set foot in Ireland but his parents had immigrated to Salem with little more than a bagful of hopes, dreams, and loving memories. As she grew older, Keira would sit by his wheelchair and listen to him talk about the Old Country for hours. He used that expression with pride, even though he had been born in American soil. She never got tired or bored. Her grandfather had passed away over ten years ago. Yet, he seemed more alive than ever in her mind and in her heart. That trip was also a tribute of sorts to Padraic.
As a little girl, when she played with her friends, they all talked about fairy tales or Harry Potter, pretending to be one of those characters. Keira would rather be a Celtic princess or a Druid priestess. She grew up feeling a strong connection to Ireland and the Irish people. She would read every book she could find about the island. Although she was only twenty-two, her favorite authors were Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, Beckett and Joyce.
Keira loved music, too. She listened to Maroon 5 and Linkin Park, like any normal person, but she was really into Irish music, both traditional and modern. She listened to many Irish singers and bands but, her first and biggest love was U2. Since she had turned sixteen, Keira had been to all the concerts U2 had played in the Boston area - and then some. However, it didn’t seem enough. Her most cherished dream was watching the band perform in Dublin. Every U2 fan knew their concerts in their hometown were magical. That was why, during college, Keira worked and saved all the money she could in order to pay her trip to Ireland.
She wanted to get to know her family’s country, experience the places that had inspired all those many awesome stories her grandfather had told her as well as watch U2 perform for their most loyal and most demanding crowd – the Dubliners.
That explained part of her anxiety. Lately, she had been feeling a strange sense of doom. She had just finished college and was at that point in life when a person has to face the future. She had to decide what she wanted to do with her life. Her parents owned a trendy and very successful restaurant in South Boston. They wanted her to take part in the family business but she wasn’t so sure about it. She had done her share of waiting tables to save money for the trip, but now they expected her to get a more active role in running the restaurant. Keira didn’t know if she wanted that for her life.
In fact, she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. At seventeen, she used to tell people she was going to be a famous singer. She took some guitar lessons but quit them after a month or two. Then, when she turned nineteen, she decided to be a fashion designer. After all, her friends told her she had an excellent sense of fashion. She had never gotten to study fashion, though. Later on, Keira considered becoming an actress. She looked up some acting classes in her neighborhood, but never worked up the courage to enroll in any. One day, feeling particularly lost and disappointed in herself, for being so indecisive, she asked her older sister for advice.
“Be true to yourself, sis, and you’ll be fine. That’s what I’ve always done. But you must
something. If you don’t try it you’ll never know how you feel about it, right?”
Megan, her only sibling, was a lawyer. She was ten years Keira’s senior and had established herself as an independent woman and a successful professional. When Megan was younger, their parents had asked her to join them in the restaurant business. She had never liked it and had declined the offer. Keira was their last hope for keeping the business in the family. Although they had never pressed her with that kind of argument, Keira had an acute sense of loyalty to her close-knit family. She knew they hoped she would help them. If on the one hand, she didn’t want to let them down, on the other hand, she didn’t want to choose a career she didn’t like out of duty to her family.
She knew her sister Megan was right. She needed to be more assertive. But knowing you must do something doesn’t make it any easier. At that moment, the only decision she cared about was choosing between a taxi and a shuttle bus to take her to downtown Dublin. She decided to take a taxi. Keira wanted to arrive in style at the Clarence Hotel.
“Good morning, sir,” she greeted the taxi driver as she stooped down to talk to him through the window. “Can you take me to the Clarence Hotel?”
“Oh, a U2 fan, are you?” he laughed and opened the door to get out of the car. “Here, let me help you with that bag.”
He sounded very friendly and didn’t wait for her reply before grabbing the bag from her hands and storing it in the trunk of the car.
“There you go. Climb on and I’ll take you there. I’m Seamus, by the way,” he told her, still smiling and holding the door open.
As soon as Keira settled in the back, the driver pulled away. In no time, they were moving sluggishly through the traffic towards her final destination.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Keira. How can you tell I’m a U2 fan?”
“Young people like yourself don’t stay at that kind of hotel - unless you’re a fan.”
She laughed at his reasoning, “I guess you’re right. I found it too fancy when I looked it up online. But, I wanted to know their hotel. I think I’ll feel a little uncomfortable there.”
“Don’t you worry your pretty head about that. I’m sure you’ll feel just fine. Everyone is very nice there.”
She was surprised at how talkative the driver was. She had heard about that particular Irish trait; but was surprised, nonetheless. She was also delighted to hear their beautiful accent. She could hear them talking for hours.
Even though she didn’t answer him, Seamus kept talking and driving, “You got lucky, too. The weather is nice today.”
“Really? It’s so cloudy.”
“But the rain has stopped. It rained for more than a week. Bloody weather, if you ask me. You wouldn’t be able to see much of our beautiful city in that kind of rain. Now, you can go around and be fascinated by our many wonderful attractions.”
There it was. The famous Irish modesty, “I’m sure I will,” she agreed without concealing her amusement.
“Did you come for the concert? U2’s, that is.”
“I hope you bought tickets because they are sold out, you know.”
“I did, actually. I’ve got to pick them up at the stadium. Is it too far from the hotel?”
“There’s no such thing as ‘too far’ in Dublin,” he laughed. “At least, for American standards. Where are you from?”
“South Boston,” she replied.
“What do you mean?”
“You look like a beautiful Irish rose but sound American. I figured you must have Irish blood running in your American veins. Where else would that combination be more popular than in Boston? Hence, a beautiful, Irish-looking girl like you should only come from Boston, right?”
She laughed wholeheartedly at his assessment and the way he expressed himself, “Oh, my! Do all Irish people speak like that?”
“We speak just like any other person; except, we are more eloquent than the others. Blame it on Blarney Stone.”
Keira wasn’t embarrassed by his compliments as she would normally be. Maybe there was some truth to the legends around that stone.
“You sound like my grandfather. His parents were Irish.”
“Where in Ireland were they from?”
“See? Blarney Stone, again. It must be fate,” he winked at her through the rearview mirror and she actually blushed. “My family is also from Cork. I’ve moved to Dublin a few years ago.”
She studied his profile. Seamus looked young and handsome. Her cheeks burned a stronger shade of red as she realized he was very attractive. She wasn’t very apt to deal with attractive guys.
“Hey, have I said something wrong? I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s fine. It’s just that I’m not used to compliments. That’s all.”
“Why is that? Are American guys blind?”
She felt like telling him her American friends were just more private but, not wanting to offend him, weighed her words carefully before replying, “I guess I look like any other cute American girl. You know - blonde hair, blue eyes, and all. Plus, I’m too short and slender.”
“If you say so,” he grinned and winked again at her reflection in the mirror.
Keira didn’t have time to say anything else because he pulled over in front of a gorgeous building. As he got her bag from the trunk, she stood on the sidewalk admiring the river, which divided the city in two and flowed serenely by the hotel.
“That’s the Liffey, right?”
“Indeed, it is. You should take a walk along it whenever you can.”
“I’ll do that. Thank you, sir,” she paid the fare and added a five-Euro tip.
“Thank you, miss. I hope you have a pleasant stay and come back many times.”
She waited for Seamus to drive away before turning and looking up at the white-and-red brick, six-story building. It reminded her of those beautiful buildings on Beacon Hill. It wasn’t tall and impressive but rather welcoming and friendly. Just like Dublin city had been, so far.
“Good morning, miss,” the front desk clerk greeted her as she opened the heavy double door made of golden metal and glass. “Welcome to Clarence.”
Overcoming her initial shyness Keira gave the lady a quick smile, “Hello, I have a reservation. I’ve asked for early check-in. The name’s Keira Ashe.”
“Just give me a moment, Ms. Ashe. I’ll search for your reservation and check you in.”