Thursday, March 7, 2013

Get Your Irish On: Part Two! Meet Kieran O'Flaherty from Bright Scoundrel

Take a little jaunt to Old Ireland with me, a land of myth, mystery, legend and magic!
As a writer, I enjoy researching the past. Often it's so intriguing that I find it hard to write a straight up historical romance without adding a little magic and mystery to the mix. With three historical romances out, two that take place in Ireland, and all three featuring Irish characters, I wanted to celebrate the season, the season of the Irish, by featuring some excerpts this month from my Irish romances. 

Weekend special!  Bright Scoundrel is .99 cents on Nook only! 
Barnes and Noble Nook link to Bright Scoundrel 

Bright Scoundrel, Copyright Lily Silver, 2013

Chapter One

Greystowe Hall, Kent, England, 1802

      “Lock up your daughters and even their maids!” James Wentworth, Ninth Earl of Greystowe thundered as he waved the latest newspaper before him. “Neither are safe from that Bright Haired Scoundrel from abroad, Lord Greystowe’s uncivilized heir.”
      Once more, Kieran O’Flaherty was the talk of the ton. He’d been lampooned in the London newspaper as it illustrated his latest ‘exploit’ for the amusement of his peers and as a way of publicly shaming him.
      “Look at this, young man.” The old earl fumed, waving the obnoxious drawing before him, hindering Kieran’s attempt to study it.  “And look at me when I speak to you.”
       Kieran pulled his gaze from the elaborate dentils in the crown molding above them to regard his grandparent with a resentful eye. He wished he’d never left the West Indies, where at least a man could frolic with a wench and not bring the wrath of the universe upon his head; his present universe being London Society and his maternal grandfather, Lord Greystowe. 
Kieran O'Flaherty
       He took the newspaper from his aged grandparent and studied the drawing on the front page. His caricature grinned back at him. This time, he’d been depicted with wild, untamed hair, a prodigious mound straining the front of his breeches and a lecherous grin. Kieran was astonished by the acrobatic pose the artist had drawn him in. It was a pose no man could sustain in reality, but such was the empty world he’d been transported to; an elite world hungry for scandal to liven up the tedium of the idle rich. He was drawn dancing a lively romp with a debutante and appeared to be pinching her arse. Meanwhile, an older woman, presumably the chit’s chaperone, was galloping alongside them. She was placed behind the dancing couple and between their profiles and offered up an exposed breast for Kieran to nibble on. The debutante had a shocked expression on her face, while the matron gave the viewer a sly wink and a smile, implying that they were having a good time. Kieran looked at the name on the print
      It wasn’t Gillray’s work. That was disappointing. Gillray would do a much better job.
      “This behavior will cease. Do you understand?” Grandfather continued to shriek.
      Was the old man so deaf that he had to scream just to hear his own words?
Nicholas Barnaby gazed at Kieran with sympathy from across the large room. Barnaby was an apothecary. He had been treating Grandfather’s heart condition for three years with an obscure bark from South America. To wit, poor Barnaby had become Grandfather’s nursemaid.
     “Yes, the earl is behaving worse than usual.” Kieran could almost hear Barnaby’s thoughts aloud.       He’s overly agitated. It’s an unfortunate side effect.  With prolonged use the Peruvian bark seems to cause an extreme belligerence, but it’s also keeping him alive.”
Kieran and Barnaby had had this conversation many times before. He had only to look at his mentor to discern the man’s thoughts.
      “You’ve shamed me a thousand times over with your callow behavior, but this--this is reprehensible.” Grandfather went on. “You are a jacknape, a barbarian. That’s what comes from my daughter running off to Ireland to marry a godless heathen. Your father was hanged as a traitor and now you’ve made me look like a doddering old fool for merely being related to you--for unleashing you upon polite society to pollute and terrorize womankind with your shameless exploits . . . Good God, man! Can you not behave with decorum and quietly take on a mistress like any proper Englishman would do? Must you humiliate me at every turn?”
      Kieran’s lips pressed into a hard line. He tossed the offending caricature aside and squeezed the arms of the chair with his fingers. So, he flirted carelessly with a debutante at a ball and then tupped her chaperone in a back room? The widowed chaperone had thanked him for a good frolic that enlivened an otherwise dull evening, or so she confessed. They were just adjusting their appearances and were about to part ways when they were discovered--by the debutante he’d absentmindedly danced with twice with when only one was allowed--and by the girl’s Mama.
       The mother, had she possessed the slightest grain of intelligence, would have simply steered her wide-eyed daughter from that particular room. Instead, there had been shrieking on the mother’s part and then melodramatic gasping and fainting on the daughter’s, which brought forth a slew of first servants and then gentlemen to see who might be getting themselves murdered in the middle of Lord Angesworth’s annual Spring Ball.
       Kieran and the widow were fully dressed by the time the entire guest roster intruded. They were both a bit rumpled, but decent. Nothing would have been amiss if the gathered gawkers would have simply ignored the incident and resumed the festivities.
       It had gone rather badly, he had to admit. The next day the outraged mama and her faint hearted daughter were claiming Kieran had ruined the girl’s chances on the marriage mart--a strange paradox in his mind as the innocent girl could hardly have been ruined by merely seeing him with his jacket removed and his shirt covering his gaping breeches for the space of sixty seconds--and with her mother standing right beside her, no less.
      It didn’t matter. He was Lord Wentworth’s heir, the honorable Baron Grey; the future Earl of Greystowe and thus the conniving matron was demanding he come up to scratch and propose to her daughter.  Ah, the cruel maneuverings of desperate society matrons!
      The more he thought about it, the more Kieran was convinced the mother deliberately intruded upon Mrs. Weston and himself, timing their entrance to be precise knowing it could garner publicity and mayhap net them a future earl for a husband.
      Oh, but they underestimated Lord Greystowe, hadn’t they, those conniving females?
Kieran was nearly engaged--if only in his grandfather’s mind--to Miss Georgiana Pennington, the daughter of Viscount Rothbury. Rothbury was an acquaintance of Lord Greystowe’s. There were murmurings of a marriage contract being signed between them. Kieran, however, made certain he was unavailable whenever Rothbury requested to meet to discuss the particulars with him.  
       Kieran had been staying at the Wentworth London house for the season as directed by his grandparent. He was dutifully attending the balls and fetes in an effort to gain some ‘town polish’, as the old man had put it. He wasn’t about to flee London only to take up residence here, with the belligerent and domineering earl at Greystowe Hall.
       He was tired of being insulted and dressed down at every opportunity. He was tired of this wretched business of being an heir. He wished, and not for the first time, he was back on the island of St. Kitts, running the apothecary shop with Barnaby. Granted, it wasn’t a luxurious life as this was, but at least Barnaby didn’t treat him like an overgrown child and dictate an endless litany of rules and expectations for him to keep. In the Indies, when he lived as a simple apothecary’s apprentice, he earned the respect of his master and the local populace. Kieran used his magical gifts of second sight and sorcery to help others. He inherited the gifts from his Irish grandmother, a powerful druid priestess. Here, he was just Lord Greystowe’s whipping boy.
      “What have you to say for yourself, young man?” Grandfather’s ranting, mere background noise to Kieran’s musings, had finally distilled down to a direct question.
Kieran glanced at Barnaby before answering. The man was wilting in the mighty Lord Greystowe’s employ, reduced to a cringing servant of the old goat when he himself was elderly and should be enjoying the sunset of his own life. This was not how they envisioned it when they agreed to accompany Grandfather from St. Kitts to England three years earlier. Grandfather had been dying. He was not expected to last more than a few months. Little did they know the earl would rally under Barnaby’s expert care and live on to make both their lives a perpetual hell.
      “Speak up, boy. What do you intend to do to rectify the situation?”
      Anger suffused Kieran’s being. He stood. “I’m leaving England.”
     The old man bristled at his words. If Kieran thought his grandfather’s countenance couldn’t get any darker, he was wrong. “How dare you trifle with me?” The old man was shaking with fury. “This is serious, young man. You can’t just laugh it off and make ill mannered jests. Not this time.”
      “I’m not making a jest. If I’m such a disappointment then make Michael your heir. I’m off to Ireland. I don’t care if I must live in a cave or a humble cottage. I’m not listening to any more of your venom and I’m through being treated worse than one of your hired servants due to the unfortunate circumstance of our shared blood.”
      The earl stared at Kieran with his jaw sagging. The old man was beyond words for the first time in their short association.
      He had a feeling the earl’s side of the conversation was far from over.
Kieran was mortified by his outburst. He hadn’t planned it. Now that he said it, he was relieved and resolved to follow through. Ireland was his birthplace. It was a week away at most. A ship leaving England could arrive in Dublin within a day or on the western coast of Ireland within a week. 
     “Ireland.” The old man said the word without his usual contempt for the place. This time, he’d said it with a sense of awe and wonder. “Ireland. Yes . . . it’s the perfect excuse.”

Copyright Lily Silver, 2013

Rose de Lacy
Once Kieran arrives at his family estate in Ireland, he finds the place is haunted, and not just by ghosts but also by a malicious elemental being that thirsts for innocent blood. He meets an old druid hermit, and the Banshee of Roisin Dubh Castle. And that's not all, he also meets the lovely estate manager, Miss Rose de Lacy, a woman who seems completely immune to his charms.

Bright Scoundrel is book two in the Reluctant Heroes Series, and it is available through March 9th for 50% off on   along with some of my other historical romance titles.  It's read an e-book week, so pick  up an ebook today on Smashwords. Many authors are participating in this event with books at discount prices.

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