Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wednesday Wonder: OH DANNY BOY by Josie Riviera

Today's Wednesday Wonder features 
Oh Danny Boy
by Josie Riviera

About Oh Danny Boy:

This pot of gold could hold more than they bargained for…

Grand. Just grand. Clara Donovan’s failure to keep her brother from going off the rails—again—is a public spectacle. Including a handsome stranger who puts down his guitar case to help her talk Seamus down from Farthing’s tallest bridge.

Everything about Danny Brady reminds Clara how many times she swore she’ll never again be that pathetic, weak woman who got taken in by a good-looking man. Especially when, the next day, she walks into a new coffee shop in her little Irish town and discovers Danny’s secret.

Danny didn’t lie—technically—about his coffee shop chain. He’s just tired of women going after him for his wealth. Clara is a graceful, fiercely loyal, non-Irish Irish damsel in distress, a combination that tugs at his heart. A heart that’s spent its share of time in pieces.

Danny has never hesitated to go after what he wants, but melting Clara’s defenses will take more than hot tea and charm. He’ll have to prove he’s made of stronger stuff—even when her past threatens to tear her carefully reconstructed world to shreds.

You may purchase Oh Danny Boy on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.

And the Audio book.

For a video introduction, please CLICK HERE

To further whet your interest, here is Chapter One:

Chapter One

   “Seamus, don’t jump!” Clara Donovan heard her own cries, the shouts resounding through the misty night air. She raced across the sidewalk toward Farthing Bridge, her gaze riveted on a horror she didn’t want to believe. Her older brother Seamus sat on the edge of a tall bridge with his head slumped in his hands, a bottle of whiskey beside him. The arched stone bridge spanned the River Farthing, connecting the town to a once-popular marketplace.
   No. It couldn’t be. Her breath burned in her chest as she took in gulps of dampness and drizzle. Don’t stop. Run faster.
   When she reached the bridge, she elbowed through a group of late-night revelers. Several pointed up at Seamus. “He’s off the rails!” someone shouted.
   Her brother seemed unaware of the gathering crowd. He swung his legs back and forth like an underwound metronome and stared into the ice-cold river below.
   She shook off the image of him on her living room floor several days earlier. He’d been passed out drunk. Should she have phoned a treatment center? No. She could fix her brother’s problems. He simply needed encouragement, surrounded by his loving, supportive family.
   Seamus. Gentle Seamus. Kind and fiery-haired, quick to temper, quicker to make amends. Her heart squeezed at the scruffy, dejected man he’d become since his wife had died.
   Clara put her hands on her knees and took in calm, even breaths. Quickly, she assessed the corroded pedestrian catwalk leading to the top of the bridge, the skull and crossbones sign that warned Danger.
   She stared upward at her sweet brother. “Dear saints in heaven, Seamus,” she whispered. “You promised me that you’d never drink again.”
   She stuffed her wool gloves into her jacket pockets and bent to lace her weatherproof boots tighter. There was no time to dash around the river to the street that crossed the bridge, and she certainly wouldn’t ask anyone in the crowd to lend a hand.
   She yanked off the “Danger” sign and threw it to the ground. That pressing feeling in her chest, like she was running out of air, slowed her movements. Dragging in another breath, she grasped the slippery wet handrails and stepped onto the bottom rung of the catwalk.
   “Missus, are you trained for this?” a man from the crowd inquired.
   She glanced around. The man stood a hairsbreadth away. He was tall with piercing blue eyes and carried a guitar case. His dark brown hair had a reddish tinge and his navy wool jacket strained against his athletic form.
   “Thanks. I can manage on my own.”
   Despite her refusal, she hesitated. Was she trained to climb to the top of a rusted bridge when she was crippled with fear and could hardly breathe? Umm, no. But she was desperate, and desperation made people do things they thought they could never do.
   “I insist.” The man set his guitar case on the grass and stepped forward. “Who’s sitting on the top of the bridge?”
   “My brother!”
   “I’ll follow behind you. No worries.”
   No worries. Dear saints in heaven, her brother was about to jump off a bridge.
   She gripped the slick railings with both hands and began climbing, acutely aware of the guitar player’s encouraging whispers behind her. She counted each step until she reached the top, scrambled to her feet, and raced to her brother. Seamus’s chin was hunkered in his hands, the empty whiskey bottle beside him.
   She stopped a foot away from him. “Seamus, come with me.”
   His legs stopped swinging. He turned to her, his metallic-grey eyes glazed with drink. “What’re you doing here?”
   “I’m looking out for you, same as always.” She attempted to keep her tone light. “The weather’s a wee bit fierce up here. The wind and rain are driving my hair sideways.”
   Inwardly, she shuddered. He was a sight wearing tattered clothes, his flaming red hair caught in a ponytail.
   “And who’s that dodgy bloke behind you?”
   “Someone who’s offered to help.” She struggled to control her trembling. Her brother’s big-boned body was precariously close to the edge.
   Seamus’s mouth twisted. “It’s better if I end my life. I’m on me tod, I’m all alone.”
   She extended a hand. “You’re not alone. I’m here for you.”
   Despite the chilly night air, Seamus was sweating. “I long for my wife. My beautiful woman …”
   “We all miss Fiona very much.”
   Seamus’s fingers found the empty whiskey bottle and flung it into the river. “I’m warning you. Leave me alone or I’ll jump.” Slowly, he stretched out his hands.
   “Seamus!” Clara hunched over, sick to her stomach, listening to the hoots and jeers of the spectators.
   “Shut your gob!” Seamus hollered to the crowd. “Are ya’ thick?”
   Clara caught her breath. Stay calm. Level-headed and composed.
   She straightened. “Those people won’t help you, but I will.”
   What was she supposed to do now? Move slower, speak gentler? On watery knees, she started forward.
   “You’re managing perfectly,” came the whisper behind her.
   The guitarist. She’d almost forgotten. His breath was warm and reassuring against her hair.
   She extended her hand again. “Please, Seamus, please. Come with me.”
   Seamus openly sobbed. “I’m no use to anyone.”
   “Think of Anna and me. We’re your sisters and we love you.” Clara tried to smile. “What would I do with myself if you weren’t sleeping on my couch every night? You know I don’t like to be alone.”
   Seamus squinted at her. Using his worn shirtsleeve, he wiped at the tear-stained bags under his eyes. “I lost all my money on the horse races. Five hundred euros that I’d borrowed from a friend, and one hundred euros of Anna’s money, too. The bookies were certain Green Dragon would win the second race, but the ponies double-crossed me.”
   Clara dug her nails into her palms. “We’ll pay the bookies all the money you lost.” How, she had no idea. Her income as a factory worker and part-time dance teacher was scarcely enough to pay their current living expenses.
   In the distance, insistent sirens blared, angry red lights flashed.
   “Keep talking,” the guitar player told her.
   What to say? The wrong words might send her impulsive brother over the edge. She chanced a peek at the guitarist and lost her footing. Gasping, she held in a scream.
   His arms went around her. “I’ve got you,” he said softly.
   She steadied herself and shook off his hold. Without making a sound, she ventured another two steps until she stood behind her brother. “We’ll return to my flat and I’ll light a fire in the hearth. Won’t that be grand?” She heard her voice shake, the rale insistent.
   “And make me a cuppa tea?” Seamus’s copper-red beard showed days of neglect and grew in dirty spikes below his chin.
   She placed her hands firmly on his shoulders and gave a reassuring squeeze. “I’ll brew the entire pot and fry a proper Irish breakfast in the morning.”
   Several beats passed. Seamus seemed to be trying desperately to concentrate. He looked up at her. “You don’t cook.”
   “I can manage fried eggs and bacon rashers.”
   He relaxed beneath her hands.
   She licked her lips, her mouth so dry. “Please come home. Please. We’re a family. We’ll work this out together like we always do.”
   Seamus rubbed at his eyes, sniffled, and started to stand.
   The guitarist stepped around Clara. Carefully, he assisted the wobbling Seamus to his feet.
   The crowd applauded. They’d observed every detail of her family’s private business. Clara pressed her lips tightly together, willing herself to think of her brother and nothing else.
   Her sobbing brother slumped into her arms. She hugged him for a long time, then roughly shook his shoulders and stared into his bleary eyes. “I understand you’re in a lot of pain. You’ll be independent again, you’ll see. It took me a long time, remember? And now I’m fine.”
   “Yeh.” Seamus’s lopsided grin showed missing teeth. He nodded so quickly that he stumbled, so unexpected they both cried out. She clung to his beefy hand, his body still so close to the edge of the bridge, as she stared into the frigid waters of the River Farthing far below.
   “You’ll both be safer away from the bridge.” The guitarist’s voice came loud and urgent. He guided Clara and Seamus to the side of the road, removed his jacket and placed it on the damp grass.
   “Who are you, bloke?” Seamus asked.
   “Danny Brady.” He wheeled, clear in his intent to walk away.
   “What about your jacket?” Clara called out.
   Danny half turned and looked upward. The clouds had parted, the sky bathed in moonlight and stars. “No rain and no worries. Keep the jacket.”
   An emergency vehicle swerved onto the bridge, and Clara squinted into the blinding headlights. Several paramedics sprinted toward her and Seamus. A Channel Four television news van streaked past, reversed, and screeched to a stop. A woman reporter and cameraman leapt from the van and scurried to the guitarist.
   Clara recognized the reporter, Maeve Flanagan, an anchorwoman for the local television station. Maeve clutched the microphone, speaking urgently, then held the microphone out for Danny. He spoke lengthily, the bright camera light illuminating his china-blue eyes.
   “Where are you from, Brady?” her brother shouted from across the road.
   Danny’s handsome face showed signs of fatigue. “Dublin.” He focused on Clara. “Do you have a name, missus?”
   “Clara Donovan.” She nodded at her brother. “And this very foolish man is my brother Seamus.”
   From across the road, the reporter shouted, “May I quote you, Ms. Donovan?”
   Clara stretched out a tired arm. “Absolutely not! And please take your slanderous reporting elsewhere!”
   Maeve muffled the mouthpiece with her palm. In a loud voice, she asked, “Do I have permission to make a plea to the community on your behalf, Ms. Donovan? There are resources available for poor—”
   Clara cut Maeve off with a wave. Heat flushed through her body. “My family fends for themselves, Miss Flanagan! If you want to do something for us, then stay away!”

About Josie Riviera:

Josie Riviera is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author of contemporary, inspirational, and historical sweet romances that read like Hallmark movies. She lives in the Charlotte, NC, area with her wonderfully supportive husband. They share their home with an adorable Shih Tzu who constantly needs grooming and live in an old house forever needing renovations.

Have you ever tried something you were afraid to try because it mattered so much to you? I did, when I started writing. Take the chance, everyone, and just do something you love.

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