Friday, June 20, 2014

My Dark Rose, by Cynthia Owens

Hello, Miriam, and all lovers of Celtic Romance! It’s so great to be back at the Celtic Rose on the eve of the summer solstice. And I’m very happy to announce the release this month of My Dark Rose, Book III of my Wild Geese Series and Dary Greely’s story.

If you’ve read the first two books of the series, Deceptive Hearts (Shane’s story) and Keeper of the Light (Cathal’s story), you might remember Dary. He’s the easy-going member of the group. The one who smoothes things over between twins Kieran and Cathal Donnelly. The solid friend who sat quietly with Shane MacDermott after the loss of his wife. He’s a likeable guy, and he’s everyone’s friend.

He’s also the lucky one. Everyone says so. He alone among his siblings survived the coffin ship fleeing famished Ireland. His father made money in construction and he was able to go to college. He returned from the War virtually unscathed.

But it’s not until Róisín Donavan comes into his life that he really believes it. She’s an Irish girl who lives in a Five Points tenement room. She dreams of a future as a great diva and sings comeallyes (Irish songs) at Paddy Ryan's Pub, the preferred pub of the Wild Geese. But her stubborn Irish pride won't allow her to abandon her family, even if it means sacrificing everything for them.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Sally Malone, Black ‘47
On the Atlantic Ocean
They slid into the water with scarcely a sound.
Dary Greely clung to his father’s hand, watching as the bodies, clad in little more than rags, were tossed over the side of the ship. The children first: his little brother and two sisters. Then Mrs. Morrissey, his new friend Declan’s ma. Shane MacDermott’s da, and the twins’ ma and their granny.
His ma’s thin fingers bit into his shoulder. She was sobbing into a threadbare handkerchief, her eyes red and swollen from crying. He looked up at her, then at Da. A shudder ran through him that had nothing to do with the cold wind blowing in from the sea.
Da’s eyes were dead. Their bright green was dimmed with sorrow. His dark-red hair blew across his face, but he made no move to shove it back with his big, callused workman’s hand. He stared out to sea, a muscle in his jaw jerking rhythmically.
Dary swallowed hard, glancing around him. He saw Shane, clutching his wee brother’s hand, one arm about his ma’s shoulders as she tried to soothe the fussy gossoon in her arms. Kieran and Cathal Donnelly stood close together, drawing silent comfort from each other as tears ran down their da’s face. Declan, self-controlled as always, stared into the water, his face full of sorrow, tears in his eyes that he refused to shed.
When the last victim of the ship’s fever sank to the bottom of the sea, the steerage passengers turned away, their muffled sobs and soft keening carried away on the rising wind. They’d left Ireland for a better life in America, but would any of them survive to see that land of promise?
As they turned to go, his father suddenly knelt before him, clutching Dary’s shoulders and staring into his eyes. “Ye are the last one, Dary.” His deep voice shook with the intensity of his grief. “The last o’ the Greelys. ’Tis ye will live on to tell the stories o’ us all. Ye’re the lucky lad, Dary, so ye are. Always remember that.”
The words rang bitter in Darys ears. The urge to vomit clutched at his throat with ruthless fingers. But he managed a nod. “Aye, Da. I’ll always remember, I promise. I’m the lucky one.”
At that moment, Dary made a fierce, silent vow to himself. He would survive to see America. He would go to school in America, make something of himself, just as Da had told him he could. He’d learn to read and write and do sums. He’d make his parents proud.
He was the lucky one.