Published by: Entangled: Amara
Publication date: October 17th 2022
Genres: Adult, Romance, Time-Travel
From the minute Bridget Marshall began renovating the old Irish Castle she bought outside the Village of Shansally, Ireland (pop. 119) she’d been on the verge of being labeled another “Silly American.” But after years of managing other people’s hotels, she’s ready to run one herself. And nothing will get in her way, not even her grumpy next-door neighbor, Liam O’Flannagain.
Soon, though, the dream Bridget’s been waiting for is becoming a living nightmare. The renovations, not to mention the budget, are out of control, and someone—or something—is determined to get her out of the castle. And if that wasn’t enough, whenever she’s with Liam, the castle’s ancient past seems to come roaring to life, sweeping them along in a story they’re apparently destined to relive.
If she is to uncover the castle’s secrets, Bridget will need Liam’s help to figure out exactly how they’re connected…before the tragic past repeats itself.
I tried not to let myself get entirely swept away in the fantasy as we moved around the staircase to reach the ballroom at the back of the castle. “I know there’s going to be some—or, well, a lot—of bad news once we get started. Karen said it’s been a good decade since anyone’s lived here, but I’m hoping most of the neglect can be taken care of with the changes I already have planned. Like most of the plumbing is going to need to be torn out anyway to add bathrooms to the bedrooms upstairs.”
“It’s a good job we’ll be going down to the studs in most the rooms, aye.” He scribbled something in the little notepad he’d pulled out as we talked. “When you don’t use pipes for this long, you’ll have leaks. We’ll also have to be on the watch for mold, of course. And lead. I expect we’ll have a fair share of lead paint to remove, age this place is.”
Leaks, mold, lead… I tried to laugh the rising stress off.
“And then we’ll have to start talking exorcists. I’m sure there must be a poltergeist or two.”
“Haven’t heard of any poltergeists,” Cormac said, tone matter-of-fact as he stopped to poke at another damp spot on the wall with his foot before going back to scribbling. “Folk do like talking ’bout the curse, though.”
I paused. “Curse?”
He flashed me another warm smile, one that actually reminded me a bit of my granddad’s. “I don’t put much stock in all that, myself, but people like spinning that yarn after the brutal string of luck this place’s had. You know, the Sloane family had her built after the buildings around the old Norman keep burnt. They had it ’til they were chased out around independence. Originally English, you see. Ever since, the castle’s spent more time empty than lived in. Chris Carlson, last owner of this place, only had her a year before the financial crisis. Sunk all his money into real estate during the Celtic Tiger, so wasn’t a good time for him.”
I hummed, preferring not to think about the housing collapse when I’d just sunk most of my own money into property.
“Some say the Sloanes cursed the place ’fore leaving.”
Not caring to stew on that either, I pushed the doors to the ballroom open. The same breathless feeling I’d had at the edge of the property swept through me again. With the way the backyard sloped away from the house, it looked like we could have jumped from the back door into the lake. The wall of floor-to-ceiling windows said whoever had designed the house had wanted to bring the the lake inside as much as I did. With a couple dozen white-draped tables and ambient lighting, I could have the most romantic restaurant in the county. That was certain.
Cormac was looking at me expectantly, and I realized I’d entirely missed whatever he’d just said.
He laughed lightly. “Don’t you let any of that worry you, lass. If you care for those tales, most the ghosts ’round here are supposed to be completely harmless. The Bean an Locha stays out there, even.” He motioned toward the windows.
Jessica Dall finished her first novel at the age of fifteen and has been hooked on writing ever since. In the past few years, she has published a mix of fantasy and historical fiction novels, along with a number of short stories that have appeared in both magazines and anthologies.
In college, Jessica interned at a publishing house, where her “writing hobby” slowly turned into a variety of writing careers, including creative writing teacher and, her current job, content editor for a small press.
When not busy editing or writing, Jessica enjoys crafting and piano, and spending time with her friends and family. She can most often be found at her home in Maryland with a notebook, her much-loved, sometimes-neglected husband, and toddler.