She did not want her cousin Rory hounding her to leave the shelter and go and stay with his mother. And she especially didn’t want her cousin Colleen, the one she’d been closest to as a child, to pry into her reasons for leaving Ireland.
Even if Colleen was willing to spill her guts about how she’d managed to catch such a handsome husband, that didn’t mean Irelynn was going to relax her guard. Oh, her story twas interesting to be sure, but Irelynn’s secrets were much too painful to talk about over Irish coffee and wine.
While Princess Hooligan is a brand new story in The O’Malley Series it also contains something I’ve been asked for many times, Colleen and Noah’s story. Going back in time is never easy, especially with a family like The O’Malleys, where there are so many characters.
When Colleen met Noah, Maggie was still married to her first husband Jim. Nick was a painful memory and only Jason was born. Patrick and Molly were married with their first son, Michael. Rory was still wickedly single and Bridget was a precocious adolescent.
While the entire family is present in the majority of the book, please remember there was a time before Abby and Connor, Winston and a slew of grandchildren.
Detective Rory O’Malley leaned back in his chair and planted his size fifteen shoes on his desk as he waited for his mother to answer the phone. Ian wasn’t thrilled to report he’d lost Rory’s little cousin and Rory even less so to hear it.
“I’m sorry, Rory, but she’s tricky and a liar to boot,” Ian snapped. “She promised me she’d wait right there while I got us both coffee and of course, she didn’t.”
Rory snorted and shook his head.
“She dresses like a bag lady, climbs into filthy dumpsters to retrieve bottles worth a damn nickel, has prostitutes for friends. And she gives them money! God forbid, she buys a decent pair of sneakers. Hers are so worn out I don’t know how she stays upright when the streets are slick. I think she has duct tape on the one.” Running a hand through his hair he moved to the window.
“I know you think I’m up for this job, but I’m not,” Ian insisted. “Get someone else to do it before I do something we’ll all regret.”
“Are you threatening my cousin?” Rory asked with a fierce scowl as he covered the phone with his hand. “Have you hurt her?”
“Not yet, but I’m getting uncomfortably close to teaching her a thing or two over my lap. You have no idea how badly I want to spank her and drag her to your mother’s,” Ian groaned, his face red with fury. “I’ve never met such an irresponsible woman in my entire life. She hasn’t a care for her own safety and lies with a straight face like she’s saying a blessing!”
For a moment Rory felt a pang of sympathy and almost told Ian about his own experience with his wife, Tess. She’d been much the same when he discovered her sleeping in the park. Rory held up his finger and spoke.
“Ma, we need a family meeting. See what you can do to arrange it and get back to me, will you? Yes, it’s about Irelynn. I know, Ma, but… what? No, Ian is doing the best he can. Yes, I remember she’s your niece and you love her,” he sighed, glaring again at Ian as though the entire thing was his fault. “We’ll get this straightened out. Yes, I promise, Ma. Call me as soon as you get it set. Yes, I’ll bring Ian, so you can talk to him. Okay, apple cobbler, I’ll tell him. Look, I gotta go. Love you too, Ma.”
“Do you see what I’m going through?” he demanded, dropping his feet to the floor. “My mother is not going to give me a minute’s peace until I do something about Irelynn and when I get home, Tess starts. Here I was, thinking all my sisters were settled in good marriages with men who would look out for them and then this imp from the old country shows up,” he sighed.
“I haven’t seen her since she was little, cute as a button and full of spirit. Now she’s here doing God knows what and with whom, and you, Sullivan, can’t keep track of one small woman. How are you ever going to make detective at this rate?”
“Now, that’s just not right, Rory. You know my hands are tied on this one. She hasn’t broken the law, yet. To hear her talk she’s tougher than a junk yard dog, and the worst thing is she believes it. Just what would you like me to do, kidnap her?” Ian asked angrily.
“Let’s not go that far,” Rory said, backtracking. “We need a plan and there’s nobody better at that than my sisters. I think a gentle touch is called for in this situation, much as I understand your desire to teach her a lesson about the world she’s chosen to inhabit. There’s a thug on every corner down there, but at least she’s kept her activities out in the open during daylight hours.”
“That’s true, for now, but how long can you keep me tailing her? Sooner or later someone is going to question why, and I can hardly explain that she’s your little cousin from Ireland and you’re worried about her. Why don’t you go and see her yourself?”
“I tried, and she smartly informed me that while she appreciated the family connection, she didn’t feel we owed her any special consideration and she would be sure to visit my mother once she was on her feet. For now, she preferred to be left on her own, which she was sure I would understand. Then she left the intercom. She might as well have slammed the door in my face.”
“Yes, she did and she’s lucky we are not allowed in that building or she would have been very sorry.” Digging through his desk drawer he pulled out a bottle of antacids and tossed some back. “Care for any?”
“Not yet,” Ian said, smiling for the first time since he entered the office, “but it’s comforting to know I’m not the only one Princess Hooligan is driving crazy.”