Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi separated them.
That root of bitterness keeps them apart until a letter from Keith’s grandmother, Ruth, draws Naomi to Londonderry to find she’s too late. Ruth has passed on. After the death of his beloved grandmother, Keith has also come to Londonderry only to open the door to his past…Naomi...beautiful as ever, the girl who broke his heart.
A mysterious painting in Ruth’s attic brings up questions about their grandparents’ entwined past and their own broken romance. But more comfortable with the unspoken languages of art and music, Naomi and Keith find it difficult to share their old hurts and true feelings.
Will the majestic coastline of Northern Ireland inspire them to speak the words to bring peace to their grandparents’ memory and to rekindle love?
Keith couldn’t get the old song about marrying a girl like the one Dad married out of his head as he dusted the heavy pewter frame of his grandparents’ wedding photo. His Granda used to sing that song all the time. Keith held the picture up to catch Londonderry’s wintry light streaming through the parlor window, his gaze moving from his grandfather’s face to his grandmother’s. A girl just like... He cleared the roughness from his voice. Actually, someone like the girl that married his grandfather was more what he was praying for in a wife.
Yeah, his sweet Irish Gran, no woman could even come close to the gal she used to be. The way she used to bang the piano keys when the family this side of the ocean had a good old knees up party with plenty of singing and dancing. But her laughing eyes could turn to scolding as quick as a storm coming off the Irish Sea. And then those eyes melted within moments afterward with a hug, and most likely a chocolate biscuit. Dear Lord, I’m going to miss her and that wild sense of humor she had, not to mention her cooking.
The doorbell rang. Were his cousins back already with more boxes? Garrick and Sandra had left only twenty minutes ago, but they needed a load more containers if he was to ever get started on emptying this house.
He placed the photograph into the box of items he would take back to the States. It would sit in a place of honor on his piano at home in Albany. As for the rest...
What a royal mess he and his Irish cousins had made of the first floor of this small, red-brick row house. To be fair he’d only just started, but there were two floors and then the attic. Thanks, Gran, for asking me to take care of this for you—me of all people. Now if all this stuff were musical gear he’d know what to do, but what was he to do with his grandmother’s dainty things? She’d been so insistent though, and he could never refuse her anything. She also knew he’d take any opportunity to fly over to Ireland.
The doorbell pealed again.
He could almost hear Gran speaking to him in that lilt of hers. “Will ye run like a whippet and see to that caller.”
Yes, Gran, I’m on my way. Garrick and Sandra must have forgotten their key. Stretching his baritone voice into the comical, falsetto tenor that he put on for his senior clients, Keith belted out on his way through the hall to the front door, “Aye, sure there’ll never be a girl…”
He grabbed hold of the doorknob, amazed that even this farcical singing somehow eased his grief. But then it was something Gran would have done to entertain the family.
“Not like the girl...” Throwing the door wide with flourish, he slapped a hand on his chest and reached for the crescendo, “That married me dear...old...Granda—” His voice petered out as his gaze landed on the woman standing on the stoop. The joke was on him.
Set against a backdrop of falling snow, a pair of startled gray-green eyes came level with his mouth. She was lovely. Not beautiful in that cold, glossy, magazine look that bombarded a guy’s eyes at the supermarket checkout, just...lovely. Like a dolt, he couldn’t think of any other word to describe her. Only the sentimental phrase of another old song came into his mind. As lovely as a dream.
Her blond hair, cut to curve the line of her jaw, swung forward to touch her chin almost hidden by a thick white scarf and the collar of a buttoned-up wool coat, ruby red, her favorite color. Snow fell over her in a drape of soft flakes, and all he could think was that above that scarf was the most kissable set of lips in the world. He knew, because he’d kissed those lips every chance he’d got. He could have spent the rest of his life kissing this one woman, if she hadn’t so unceremoniously dumped him.
After she’d been gaping at him only seconds before, she snapped her mouth shut. Evidently, she was no more pleased to see him than he was to see her. Of all the girls to land on this doorstep.
“Naomi?” He croaked, disgusted that his voice should crack at a time like this. What was he—thirty or thirteen?
While his vocal chords weren’t sure how old he was, he knew this—she was definitely not the girl he’d been singing about. Somehow since he’d arrived on Irish soil a week ago for his grandmother’s funeral, he’d slipped into the local brogue. In his thoughts, the words rolled with a Northern Irish rhythm, Naomi Doyle, you’re far from the saint my grandmother was, even though your eyes at this moment hold that same storm-tossed look of the sea.
Naomi looked away from the door and down the brick-paved street. Keith Wilson? Keith? Why on earth was he here? Yes, this was his grandmother’s house, but he should be at home in the States. Not here, glaring down at her, no doubt wondering why she was not at home in New York.
To gather her myriad of emotions that were galloping off in all directions, she kept her gaze trained on the distance. From here she could almost see the River Foyle and the low-lying mountains beyond. Dusted with snow, the boggy heights resembled the plum puddings her grandfather used to make with a thick coating of icing sugar sprinkled on top. The memory only made her miss Gramps, but it corralled her emotions into some semblance of order.
Ruth’s letter was in her purse, confirming she had every right to come here, though she’d not taken Ruth up on the offer to stay at her place. But the house and street looked the same, even if a great deal had changed since the last time she’d visited.
Keith looked the same too. She crooked her neck to stare upwards. Dear Father God, he looks the same—still the slender frame of a musician, not bulky muscle, but all fluid strength in jeans and a lightweight gray turtleneck, all six feet of him. A faint flush tainted his Black Irish looks—that combination of the blue-black hair of the Spanish, but instead of brown eyes, eyes the piercing color of the sky. Too gorgeous for her health of mind right now.
His black hair was shorter than it used to be, almost conservative with a hint of his artistic soul in the slightly overlong sweep falling across his forehead. She’d heard that he’d become a music therapist. But maybe he was still into the concert scene like he’d been during his university days in Belfast, and she’d been painting the Irish coastline. Not that it mattered anymore. What they had in the past was over. It was stupid to remember, really. So why was it, that she did remember? Everything.
About The Author
Christine Lindsay was born in Ireland, and is proud of the fact that she was once patted on the head by Prince Philip when she was a baby. Her great grandfather, and her grandfather—yes father and son—were both riveters on the building of the Titanic. Tongue in cheek, Christine states that as a family they accept no responsibility for the sinking of that great ship.
It was stories of her ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India that inspired her Multi-award-winning, historical series Twilight of the British Raj. Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and Christine is currently writing the final installment of that series called Veiled at Midnight to be released August 2014.
Christine makes her home in British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada with her husband and their grown up family. Her cat Scottie is chief editor on all Christine’s books.
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