Kiss Me, I'm Irish by Bella Street
In 1813, Emily Musgrave is heading to a convent for misbehavior. But it's due to loneliness, not rebellion. In modern-day Tennessee, Liam Jackson is playing his Dobro in seedy bars and it's doing nothing for his music career--and even less for the dark places in his soul.Pixie mischief can not only change timelines, it can change hearts. Because every girl needs a little magic in her life.
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Emily Musgrave had plenty of time to think over her banishment.
Plenty of time to see her miserable expression reflected in the greasy glass windows of the carriage and four which bore her to an even more miserable future in a nunnery. Rain buffeted the carriage, causing the lantern light to flicker, which only added to the gloom of the stormy Cornish night.
A memory of Lady Tremaine's wizened little face rose before her. Emily's ears still rang with her great-aunt's glacial announcement. Our family has always been Church of England, but never say the Catholic church is not convenient when one needs to tuck a wayward girl away in a convent. And that's what you are Emily. Wayward.
How easily the older woman had said the words, as if her niece's world was not being pulled down around her head. Emily rubbed the locket at her throat, warming the gold, wondering what her beloved mother would've said about the proceedings had she been alive.
Of course, mama had rather I not been smoking a cheeroot with Jem the Irish stable boy. And then there was the gin. 'Blue Ruin' as Jem had called it. If that weren't enough, her indiscretions were discovered by her cousin. By then, Emily had also been succumbing to Jem's amorous embraces.
Emily frowned in the lowering darkness. It had just started to get interesting when they'd been interrupted. Warmed by the spirits, she'd allowed Jem's hands to roam a bit. When he'd planted a wet kiss on her lips, she'd succumbed to a fit of the giggles. Jem had taken that as acquiescence and had become more animated in his affections. By the time she'd stopped snickering, she'd actually found herself enjoying the activities. Alas, there was not to be a repeat.
Her maiden cousin—poor relations always did have an out-sized morality—had written a hasty missive to the strict Lady Tremaine, Dowager Baroness of Barham. Emily had soon been parceled off to that lady's fashionable Berkley Square address for etiquette training and a Season wherewith a suitable husband would be found, forever stamping out Emily's apparent predilection for falling Off The Path.
Lady Tremaine had often hinted darkly about a family Flaw which must be eradicated. Emily wasn't sure if the Flaw referred to the smoking, the drinking, or the Irish. My lady had a particular prejudice against the Irish. Charming they may be, she'd said in sepulcher tones, their great sin was in being poor. Even the Irish peerage apparently had pockets to let. Only a rich suitor—a duke even—would do for her grandniece.
I didn't want to marry an Irishman; I just wanted to kiss one. Emily bit her lip. Don't want much to marry a duke either, or anyone for that matter. She'd rather spend her days reading adventures in novels, since adventure wasn't likely to occur in the quiet rooms of the manse she shared with her cousin and a small army of servants.
But according to Lady Tremaine, marriage was her duty. To remain a spinster was to fly in the face of Providence. So for the next year, Emily had worn a backboard, entertained dancing tutors, endured modiste fittings, suffered comportment sessions...all sprinkled with French, Italian, and watercolor lessons. An entire year was spent never allowing her spine to touch the back of a chair, of pouring tea with a swanlike arm, of listening with absorption to the gentlemen while keeping her thoughts to herself. She'd persevered and even managed to please her high-stickler hostess.
Until Lord St. Wiggan.
The aging Scotsman suitor had a brogue so broad his words sounded like the barking of an asthmatic pug. How could she bear his wine and snuff-stained stock, false calves and lack of teeth? But he was of the peerage and rich, vastly so. Apparently the Scottish had fared better than the Irish. Lady Tremaine heartily approved the match, accepted his permission to pay his addresses, and expected her now-biddable granddaughter to repay the horrid expense of the season by marrying well.
Emily rebelled in the only way she knew how. She seduced Donnelly, my lady's Irish footman.