She is running from a past filled with pain, shame, and regret.
He is a musical genius hiding from the limelight he left behind.
When their paths collide,
will they find freedom and a love that conquers all things—even death?
Darcy Mulligan is running from her past, including the man who stole everything from her. With a fresh start and a new identity in coastal Maine, she finds a family of people who challenge her to put her past behind her for good – including the intriguing musician who relentlessly pursues her at the ultimate cost.
When her worst nightmare finds her and tragedy strikes, her past threatens to reclaim her heart – and the life of the one she loves. Will she put her shame behind her and accept the inexplicable love of God? Will she find freedom from the demons of her past? And will love conquer all things, even death?
Targeted Age Group:: 18-75
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
First off, I love fiction – especially when it has a dash of romance and a splash of suspense in it!
People everywhere are in search of freedom – freedom from shame, freedom from trying to be good enough, freedom from the pain of their past. Through my own experience and the experiences of those I have talked to, this theme that everyone is looking for freedom arose. The story was birthed from there.
I wanted to explore a character who sought freedom from the shame left behind by dysfunctional relationships, sexual abuse, and domestic violence – these are real issues faced by many people, especially women, far often than most of us want to admit.
I wanted to simultaneously explore a character who needed freedom from the weight of striving to be good enough. Together, their stories to tangibly illustrate the beautiful sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf as the ultimate source of freedom and hope.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
People often ask me if certain characters are based on certain people and the answer is no! Most of the characters are melds of a lot of different people I've known plus my imagination. Some characters share similarities to people in my life – for instance, one character has a similar habit to my mom that we all laugh about in my family.
I love all things FBI, Ireland, military, music, dance, horses, coffee, walks, and chocolate. My characters include a lot of my favorite things. One of the fun things about writing fiction is seeing who you meet along the way, because some of the characters you don't foresee when you start writing, and developing the characters is as intriguing as getting to know a new person.
Familiar notes sounded on a guitar from the stage. I whirled around, and there, sitting on a stool in front of the microphone, was Killian Eames Gilroy, fingering the chords from the same Celtic song he had played the first night we met.
The whole room spun out of sight, and there was no one left but me and the owner of the intense green eyes fixed on mine. I wanted to shout with joy at the sight of that dark tousled hair, that dimpled smile, that clean-shaven face with a shadow already forming on his jaw. My eyes locked on his, and I couldn’t move.
He continued strumming the familiar notes of the tune. Then he spoke, in that deep, smooth lilting voice I had come to love. “I first played this song here a little over a year ago. I don’t usually play it, but it reminds me of home. That night I met a girl who reminded me of home. I spent the last four months in Ireland, the place I used to call home. But I realized that when I’m with this girl, I am home. So, to the lovely bartender in the back, this one is for you.”
He tipped his guitar to me and began to sing.
O the time is long, Mavourneen,
Till I come again, O Mavourneen;
An' the months are slow to pass, Mavourneen,
Till I hold thee in my arms, O Mavourneen!
Shall I see thine eyes, Mavourneen,
Like the hazel buds, O Mavourneen;
Shall I touch thy dusky hair, Mavourneen,
With it's shim'rin glint o' gold, O Mavourneen?
O my love for thee, Mavourneen,
Is a bitter pain, O Mavourneen;
Keep thy heart aye true to me, Mavourneen,
I should die but for thy love, O Mavourneen.
His eyes never left mine as he repeated the last chorus. Mavourneen. A term of endearment meaning “My Beloved.” The look in his eyes left little doubt that this time when he sang that term, he was singing it to me.
When he had strummed the last note of the song, there was not a sound in the room. I looked around and realized that the room had literally cleared out. The other partygoers were gone. Nothing and no one stood between Killian and me.
He stood and placed the guitar back on its stand, looking ever so handsome. With one purposeful stride after the next, he crossed the room, his eyes never leaving my gaze, until he stood mere inches away from me. Neither of us spoke.
I longed for him to touch me, but I knew he wouldn’t, not without my invitation. Not after how things ended. I held out my hand. “Dance with me.”
His eyes questioned my sincerity for a moment. We still had never danced together. I nodded my confirmation, and – before I could blink – I was in his arms, waltzing around the magically lit ballroom. Our minds created music, and we danced as one. He danced with incredible grace. I forgot that I once had been a world champion; I forgot that the last man I danced with had crushed my heart and my body. We just danced.
In his arms, I was home.
I don’t know how long we danced, but when we stopped, I was entirely out of breath.
He dropped his hands to his side. “Everything in me longs to kiss you, Darcy.” He paused.
I was torn between desperately wanting him to follow through on that desire and desperately not. I didn’t want anything to ruin this, and a kiss just might, for reasons I couldn’t control.
“But I won’t. I won’t treat you the way other men have. I won’t ever ask you to do something you don’t want to do. Unless you ask me to, I won’t kiss you until the day I marry you. And even after that, only when you want.”
He continued to treat me with the utmost respect as he spoke the confident resolution of a man in love. With me. Both were mind-blowing realizations.
He continued. “I’m sorry I got angry with you. It wasn’t fair. I was grieving. I’m sorry I left you and didn’t speak to you. I buried my father and then spent months trying to pretend I didn’t miss you, didn’t ache for you every second of every day.
“The longer I was gone, the more one thing became clear: I love you, Darcy. I want to know you completely. Bear your pain with you. I want to make up for every wrong thing that has ever been done to you. And someday, I want to marry you, when you’re ready, if you’ll have me. Because quite honestly, if it’s not you, then I’m not sure there’s anyone else for me.”
Minutes passed, and still I said nothing.
“Darcy, say something, anything, please?”
“You scare me.”
His face looked crestfallen.
“Because I’m falling for you.”
He looked up sharply.
“No, that’s not true. I already fell.”
A hopeful smile warmed over his face.
“The last man I fell for stole everything from me,” I added more slowly. It was true. Pierre’s charm, sweet promises, and unwavering persistence were a lair of infatuation. Then he crushed me, like an unwanted bug under his foot, but not before stripping me of every confidence, every hope, every dream, every sense of worth I had left. I was only now starting to rebuild myself, and here was another man, threatening to capture my heart.
“I won’t crush you, Darcy. I’ll cherish you,” he said softly.
“I want to believe you,” I said. “But I don’t know if believing you is courageous or foolish.”
“I won’t pressure you, Darcy. I’ll be your friend either way.”
“I don’t have anything to offer you, Killian. I can’t give you a first for anything. I am far more messed up than you realize.”
Killian spoke softly, “I wish you could see you through my eyes. If you could, you would see a strong, beautiful woman whose tenderness and compassion pours out of her. You’d see a woman who dances with more grace and passion than anyone I know. You’d see a feisty lass who brings smiles to every customer’s face with your sarcastic bantering. You’d see someone who does everything with dedication and attention to detail. You have no idea how beautiful you are, inside and out.”
“Thank you,” I whispered. “I still don’t see myself that way, but thank you.”
“I won’t rest until you do.” He stepped back and held his hands out to mine. I placed mine in his, and he brought them to his heart. “So, Darcy Mulligan, will you take this friendship to the next level with me?”
I could hardly calm the butterflies flying laps from my stomach to my heart and back. “I’d like that very much.”
His eyes lit up in surprise. “You would?”
“Yes. On two conditions.” I breathed deeply, knowing that furthering our relationship had one giant implication I had to accept.
He raised an eyebrow.
“One, all other conditions are off.”
He grinned. “Are you sure?”
“I won’t go into another relationship with secrets between us. I need to tell you my story.”
The expression on his face told me he recognized the gravity of my words. “Okay.”
“It has to be soon. Before I lose my nerve.”
He looked at me questioningly, as if to make sure I was sure.
I stared back.
“They’ll need to clean this place up,” he said. “My house?”
“No. The lighthouse.”
“When has that ever stopped us?”
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