A spring that inspires instant lust? There's no chance sensible Claire O'Connor believes some Druid springwater can make a man fall in love with the woman who offers him a drink. So why is she leaving Chicago for a craggy island off the coast of Ireland? Is she so desperate to win back her ex she'll travel the globe chasing a mere rumor?
But when she meets sexy innkeeper Will Donovan, Claire realizes the island has a magic all its own. Because she's suddenly tempted to abandon her old life...and spend the next few months indulging in all the sensual delights the sexy Irishman has to offer. But is it her libido talking--or did Will slip her some local elixir? Because two can play that game....
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August 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Doing Ireland! by Kate Hoffmann
The boat skimmed over the choppy gray water, sending a gentle spray into the air to land on Claire O'Connor's face. She brushed a damp strand of hair from her eyes, then fixed her gaze on the small island in the distance, a hazy bump on the horizon.
The Isle of Trall. She'd left Chicago twenty-four hours earlier and now that she was nearing her destination, Claire realized she'd come on a fool's errand. "I must be crazy," she murmured.
"What's that, lass?"
Claire glanced over at Billy Boyle, the captain of the mail boat, and forced a smile. "Nothing," she murmured.
"If ye step inside, you won't be gettin' so damp."
"That's all right," Claire said. Perhaps the cold and damp were exactly what she needed to shake a little sense into herself. So much had happened in the past two days she'd hardly had a chance to think clearly. She'd lost her boyfriend, her job and her apartment all in one six-hour period. As a result, she'd begun a quest to get them all back in one crazy act of desperation, an act that brought her to a tiny island off the western coast of Ireland. "We don't see too many single passengers makin'the trip to Trall," Captain Billy said. "Mostly couples. It's a romantic destination, ye know. Not really a place for people to visit on their own."
Her grandmother, Orla O'Connor, had told her of the island, and of the legend, but Claire wanted to hear it again, from someone who had more than just fifty-yearold evidence of its existence. "Why is that?" she asked.
"They come hoping to find the Druid spring. It's in all the tour books. It's said that if a couple drinks the water, they will be bound together for life. Eternal love and all that. You ask me, I think it's bollocks."
"Do you know where this spring is?" she asked. Captain Billy shook his head. "I'm the one who should have been lookin'. I've had meself three wives and not one of them is still warmin' me bed."
Claire turned her attention back to the island. She'd been under the assumption that the location of the spring would be posted on every roadside in Trall, with huge signs and arrows pointing the way, and maybe even a modern visitors center. Her grandmother had said nothing about having to search for it! "Is there anyone who knows where it is?"
Captain Billy considered her question for a long moment, then shrugged. "I'd suppose Sorcha Mulroony would know. She's a Druid princess or... priestess, I think she calls herself. Me, I think she's a bit barmy. But she fancies herself the keeper of all the island's magic. You could ask her, but she charges a steep price for her services."
"Her services?" "Soothsaying, curses, spells, she does it all. I bought a curse from her last year. Cost me fifty euros, it did. There was a tosser from Dingle who was tryin' to get the contract for the mail boat by cuttin' my price. Sorcha cursed his boat and it sank in the harbor the very next day."
"Did you ever think maybe she just poked a hole in the side of his boat and that's why it sank?"
Billy thought about the possibility as if it had never occurred to him before. Then he shrugged. "I don't care what she did. That bloke isn't haulin' mail to Trall, is he now?"
"I suppose he isn't," she said with a smile. Claire wrapped her corduroy jacket more tightly around her, watching as the island grew larger and larger on the horizon. "Can you recommend a place to stay on Trall?"
"There's a lovely inn to the north of town. The Ivybrook out on Cove Road. This time of year, there should be rooms available. Will Donovan runs it. His family has been on the island for generations. He's a celebrity of sorts, he is."
"Famous? For what?"
"Oh, we don't gossip about our neighbors on Trall." Billy frowned. "But maybe this isn't gossip, more in the line of news. A few years back, he was named one of Ireland's most eligible bachelors. Got his picture in a fancy magazine for it."
"Interesting," Claire said.