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After the death of her husband, Earl Fitzsimmons, Countess Ciara MacCormack Fitzsimmons returns home to Ireland and the earl’s estate accompanied by her six year old son, the new earl. There she meets Mick O’Hurlihey, the estate overseer, and falls in love for the first time in her life. However, her concern must be for her son’s welfare and keeping his inheritance safe. Being the countess keeps her from Mick.
Mick is smitten with Ciara the first time he sees her, but realizes that he can never lay claim to the Countess Fitzsimmons. Then danger stalks Ciara and her son and Mick risks his own life to keep theirs safe.
Can their love prove stronger than the social status that separates them? Can Ciara have Mick and his love and still insure her son will grow up to be the Earl Fitzsimmons?
Mick O’Hurlihey strode toward the big house, his fists clenched. He’d been on the property nigh on six months now, and never before had he been summoned to the big house. Owen MacCormack, the earl’s land manager, had hired Mick to oversee Earl Fitzsimmons’ fields, but he, himself, hadn’t had the dubious pleasure of meeting the English lord.
He took in a deep breath, flexed his fingers and brushed at the front of his pants. ’Twould not do to make a poor impression on the man who held his livelihood in his hands. Mick needed to remember the moneys paid him every month and not let his ire against the English landlords cause affront in any conversation with the man.
The stone house peeked up from the gardens that surrounded it. Smoke billowed forth spewing the smell of roasting lamb. His stomach growled and his mouth watered. Even as the overseer, he would never be invited to partake of any of the delicacies cooked in the main house. Of course, since he’d been here, no cooking had occurred within those imposing walls. The earl hadn’t been in residence for years.
Quite a flurry had occurred when Earl Fitzsimmons had appeared unannounced. Only the poor housekeeper, cook, and one maid lived in the house when the man had shown up on the doorstep in the middle of the night. Before sunrise, many of the young girls in the area had been hired as servants. At least the old goat’s coming home brought prosperity to the folk, even if everyone on the estate was inconvenienced.
Mick frowned. What kind of man snuck in under the cover of night and why did he have to flee London? Might be he worked for a blighter; one who couldn’t afford to be too rough on his hired help. ’Twould make his life a bit easier, and his gall at working for an Englishman a bit lighter.
He stopped mid-stride as he came upon a garden where his path cut across the edge. A young woman, her red hair spilling from beneath a brightly colored scarf, cut roses and laid them in a basket. Tied about her waist was a yellow apron covering a light green muslin dress embroidered with sprigs of yellow flowers. Bare feet peeked from beneath her skirts as she moved; her toes testing the texture of the grass as she walked. Her hips swished as she moved from one bush to the next, dropping wilted flowers on the ground and putting the fresh blooms in her basket.
He’d never before seen this lass. In the time he’d been on the earl’s estate, he thought he’d met everyone who lived hereabouts. He couldn’t imagine the earl would have brought such a woman from England. She looked too much the Irish beauty.
His heart thudded in his chest and the morning turned warm. He wondered if her hair felt as silken as it looked and if she smelled as wonderful as the roses in the garden. What would she feel like in his arms, pressed against him?
His body responded to his thoughts. It had been a long time since he’d seen a woman so beautiful. One that he wanted and his body desired her also.
She turned her head and he followed her gaze. A young boy, no more than six, played in the dirt at the end of the garden. A smudge caressed the side of his cheek as he squealed and molded a bit of mud into a tower.
“Look, Ma.” The boy added to his tower.
“Yes, darlin’.” The woman looked for a moment and went back to her roses. “’Tis a fine tower you’re building.”
“Like the one on the other side of the house.” He scooped up more mud and added it to his building. Wiping his hands down the front of his shirt and short trousers, he jumped up and ran to his mother. Giving her a big hug, he left a streak of brown across her yellow apron.
The lad skipped back across the lawn, then twirled in a circle. The young woman watched, laughing. “Watch me, Ma.” The boy curled up and did a lopsided somersault.
She clapped her hands, bouncing the basket on her arm. “Very good. Try another.”
"This novel has an unusual setting, Ireland during the Famine. It was a time of great cruelty, when English landlords exported foodstuffs for profit, while the people who harvested and tended the crops for them starved. The author has painted a vivid portrait of this, as well as very sympathetic main characters and many dangerous and exciting situations. Mick and Ciara’s love story is very well told, though not all have as happy an ending."
Maura 4 cups, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance, Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books
Janet Quinn has written a historical story with plenty of romance in. A beautiful woman, a man who loves her but feels he's not good enough for her. But when Ciara and her son are in danger, Mick doesn't hesitate and tries to safe her, no matter what it takes. The Irish Countess is a story that will make you dream away…
" I am an admirer of Janet Quinn as an author so I looked forward to reading this book. She didn't let me down. It is a cracking read. The book offers plenty of intrigue, romance, passion and danger.
I really enjoyed the pace of this story, no words wasted. Plenty of action. The passion that is between Mick and Ciara is strong even when they try to ignore it; the smoldering is in every look and accidental touch between them.
This is a book I urge you to go out and buy. I loved it.
5 roses, Reviewed by Mary. A romance Review
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 332
Paper Weight (lb): 14.0
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