Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Here we are again with another blog hop and let me tell you, this one was a blast to put together. If you’ve stumbled onto here by accident but like what you see, check out the rest of the blog hop! It starts right here.
And now the reason you’re here in the first place: The story!
Weather forecast said rainy Dublin. Huh, who would have figured? Rain. In Ireland. And Gin spending her last week of vacation here. Bloody brilliant, as the locals said. Or did they? Hmm, she wouldn’t know. Because she hadn’t stepped foot out of her hotel room in three days because of the freaking rain!
Pack light, they said. Whatever you need you can buy when you get there. It’s meant to be fun, just let loose, be wild. Kiss a stranger with tongue. Find your one true love, Virginia, even if he ends up being green. So what? Everyone has issues. Yeah, that was all great and dandy, but she was in Dublin, whiskey capital of the world, with a silk scarf as her “lightly packed” weather gear and her last pair of “knickers” currently hugging her bum.
“Argh! Just do it,” Gin told herself. She was not leaving Ireland without having even seen it. She would go out there, get soaked and probably catch pneumonia, but by God she would find that shamrock and kiss the damn Blarney Stone. No. Matter. What.
Most of that would have to wait until tomorrow, though. It was nearly dinner time so hitching a ride to Castle Whathaveyou to kiss a stone wasn’t going to fit into her schedule. She put on both of her jackets, tied the silk scarf around her head, checked the contents of her wallet and traipsed down to the reception desk in her most fitting shoes.
She was already shivering, nipples hard as pebbles by the time she got to the receptionist. “Where’s a good place to eat and warm up around here?”
The girl behind the desk stared at her is if she was insane. “Ya knoow yer in Temple Ber, miss?”
“Uh… yeah?” What was her point.
“Places ta eat aplenty.”
Very helpful, this one. “Thanks,” she said, thinking, You’re so not getting a tip.
Taking a deep bracing breath, she rushed out into the rain and pranced down the cobble stoned street to the first place that looked warm. Pot of Gold, the sign said. Subtle much?
Actually, it was. The sign might be obnoxiously touristy, but inside the place looked downright cozy. Wooden furniture was arranged like a rustic dining hall, there was a fireplace with armchairs set up in front of it and shelves of books on either side.
Gin nearly fainted in relief. She parked her behind right in front of that fire and raised her hands to the heat of that flame, rubbing her earlobes occasionally to reintroduce blood to them before they froze off.
“Don’t break a fingernail,” someone said with a chuckle.
She would have flipped him off if she could maneuver her fingers into the proper position. Instead she somehow managed a smile and said, “Didn’t expect it to be this cold.”
The patron, an elderly gentleman with sideburns the size of Rhode Island shook his head. “Fecking tourists.”
So much for being nice.
The bartender came ‘round, his leather boots thudding over the scuffed wooden floor. He held out a glass to her. “You look like you could use a bit o’ heat, lass.”
Gin looked up, up, up into his face… oh my… Yes, please! His eyes were shrewd but sympathetic, his mouth almost wanted to smile, but not quite. Oh, but it’d be a show stopper if he did smile. If she had someone like him to cuddle with, she’d be one happy “lass” indeed. Gin surreptitiously checked out his hands – both of them just to be sure. Leather cuffs on his wrists made a killer statement, but no rings anywhere. Fair game!
Now if she could just unclench her frozen jaw enough to say something witty, that’d be just super.
“Why do ya allways have ta coddle them? It jost makes them even dommer. Fecking tourist lookin’ for the fecking leprechauns. You want to kiss a Blarney Stone, lass? I got two big ones fer ya right here!”
“Enough with your bile, old man,” the bartender told him. “You’re spoilin’ the franchise. Where’s yer belly laugh and the twinkle in yer eye? Must give the tourists what they come looking for, don’t we?”
Gin didn’t know whether he was chastising the patron or her. She worked her jaw open and closed, watching the old man warily. His face was turning red, like he wanted to yell. But he just slammed his empty glass on the table irritably and hunched his shoulders, ducking his head.
“Drink, lass,” the bartender told her.
Drenched and freezing damsel in distress here. Gin wasn’t even trying but she had that role down cold – har har. This guy, whoever he was (and she bloody would be getting his bloody name and giving him her number) was her hero today and she was just miserable enough to make doe eyes at him as she took the glass.
She’d been right. Show stopper.
Then she brought the glass to her numb lips but a twinkle of something caught her eye and she looked down at it at the last second. “Umm…. Why is it green?”
The old man leaned towards her and stage whispered, “It’s leprechaun blood. He drains it from his own veins every full moon night and ferments it into whiskey.”
She leaned towards him in kind and replied, “There’s something really wrong with you, isn’t there?”
He held her gaze as if in warning and nodded.
“Yeah,” she said to herself and gave him her back. Green whiskey it was, then. She toasted the bartender, who’d gone back to his post. “Bottom’s up.”
He smiled again, this time just the slightest bit predatory and the firelight chose that moment to pick out the green sparks in his eyes. “Not yet, lass, but give me an hour and I’ll give you a ride you’ll ne’er forget.”