Skye Corrigan and Rhiannon O'Malley must accept their past to break the third part of a thousand year old spell.
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Love can come along at the most inconvenient times...
Skye Corrigan treasures family above all else. Standing by his best friend Rhia while she suffers the heartache of losing her father to cancer has strengthened their childhood bond. Lately Rhia affects him in ways she never has before.
Rhiannon O'Malley shares Skye's past and hopes for a future with him, but love must come with a willing heart. Her father's terminal illness has left her in charge of the family pub. Skye has always been there for her, but when their relationship changes, will she find the courage to claim the future? Or will a thousand-year-old curse keep its grip on two hostage hearts?
Excerpt from Sea’s Sorceress: Elemental Magic Book Four
Note* Edited slightly for word count. Actually book text may differ.
Rhiannon pushed open the swinging door into the kitchen. Skye turned to her, smiled and pulled out a chair at the small table he used for breaks. She sat and sort of melted into the chair and rested her forehead on the table. The pub belonged to her family, but this was his space, his territory, no matter whose hands prepared food here. “Your ex-girlfriend is evil. Pure evil.”
She mumbled into the tabletop and didn’t protest when his long artist fingers began rubbing circles into her aching shoulders and neck. His touch was steady, soothing. The stress eked away.
“Yes, she is. Better?”
“Mmm.” Had that purring sound actually come from her lips? His hands felt like heaven. “Much.”
“Then eat your soup, love, and keep me company while I work.” He patted her shoulder and walked back to the sink. Tension bounced off him like waves.
“Ah, we need three orders of apple tarts. Two for the Finneys and the other for the table in the back. A peace offering.” She sipped the soup and watched him take four saucers off a stack and fill the order.
He’d tied up his black hair with a leather band and now it fell in a thick rope of silk between his shoulder blades. What would it feel like if she ran her fingers down its length? Better not to think about that too much. Damn him for threatening to kiss her.
Skye gave her a dazzling smile and handed her one of the saucers. “Be right back.” He gathered the other plates onto a tray and took them out to the waitress. When he came back to the kitchen, Skye sat next to her at the table.
“You’d have kissed me in front of everybody if I hadn’t come back here.”
“Hmm?” He tilted his head to the side, the tiny little scar at the corner of his eye crinkled. Did anyone besides her ever notice it? She’d been twelve that day, plenty old enough to go down to the water. Or so she had thought, until a loose rock sent her tumbling down the path. Skye had caught her, but not before a large stone had flown up and nicked the skin by his left eye.
Skye leaned in and whispered in her ear. “In a heartbeat, and enjoyed it.” His mouth brushed her cheek as he pulled back.
“You never did play fair.”
“All’s fair in love and most of the time both sides can find a way to win.”
“Would you have been sorry?”
“Never. I care about you, Rhia.”
“Well then. I guess that’s good to know.”
“I think we need to talk about earlier on the phone. I--”
Looking for a distraction, she gave up, leaned over and took a bite of the offered treat. “Mmm. It’s excellent. What’s gotten into you, Skye?”
“Magic. Lots of it.” His eyes skimmed down over her mouth and her lips began to tingle. Her stomach fluttered. Would he kiss her? Did she want him to? Yes. She almost closed the distance herself. She just didn’t want to talk about her feelings for him. He’d be kind, sweet when he told her he didn’t love her. She couldn’t bear that and so she changed the subject.
“Want to tell me about that?”
“Liv almost died today.”
“What! Skye. You told me she was all right!”
“She is. Now.” He took her hands in his, eyes bright with excitement. “I wish you could have been there, Rhia. I told you it was amazing. Ryan healed her. Well, Jack, Allie, Devin and I lent what energy we could, but Ryan saved her. She was bleeding out.”
“He healed her?”
“Yes. I was thinking we could try something like that with your father.”
The hope in his voice broke her heart. Hadn’t she already tried everything within her power? With Devin’s help, she had cast a circle and pleaded with the goddess to heal her Da. Nothing had worked. He was still sick. Cancer was devouring her father’s body and his time. Dr, Kate O’Connell--and if Skye’s prediction was right, soon to be Mrs. Ryan Corrigan and Skye’s sister-in-law--had given him a couple of weeks, but in truth nobody thought he would make it that long. Two days ago, he’d driven himself to Kate’s clinic alone, but this morning he hadn’t been able to get out of bed. He wouldn’t even eat. She had seen the agony in his eyes when she’d carefully hugged him before heading in to town to open up. To know her touch caused him such pain broke her heart.
“Skye.” She squeezed his hand and was surprised when he twined his fingers through hers. “I know you mean well, but magic won’t help him.”
“I want to help, Rhia. Let me ask.” Skye pressed a kiss to her hand in an old fashioned gesture.
“Devin has already tried. There is nothing more to do, nothing more anyone can do. I have to get back to work. Thanks for the meal.” She picked up her bowl and glass, set them on the counter, and walked back into the dining room.
Well, that was awkward. For a split second she had thought he would kiss her. Did she want him to? Did he really think about her like that? And how could she let herself think about Skye when her father was dying?