She did not want her cousin Rory hounding her to leave the shelter and go and stay with his parents. 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.
Publisher’s Note: This book contains elements of power exchange and domestic discipline. If these offend you, please do not purchase.
“What have you got against the O’Malleys anyway?” he demanded, easily keeping step with her.
“Why nothin’,” she replied, surprised. “I love them, but I didn’t come all the way from Ireland to leech off me kin. Aunt Maeve and Uncle Sean have plenty of their own to care for,” she insisted. “I’ll make me own way, thank you very much.”
“Fine, be a stubborn little brat. You keep picking garbage and I’ll just keep following you,” he snarled. “Like I don’t have anything better to do.”
Irelynn picked up her pace and he smiled evilly. Her short legs were no match for his long ones, so at least she couldn’t out run him.
“That’s Rory’s doin’,” she hissed, making the street and heading for another alley. “‘Tis nothin’ to do with me.”
“It has everything to do with you. If you weren’t so all-fired perverse you could be nice and warm, eating one of your aunt’s delicious dinners tonight instead of standing in a soup line. Why I’ll bet she’s even got some homemade pie.”
Ian could almost see her mouth watering as she paused and looked up at him. Maybe this time his words would convince her, he thought hopefully. Damn, she was pretty with those wide blue eyes. For a moment he thought he had her, but she squared her shoulders and marched on.
“I don’t mind the food at the soup kitchen and I always help clean up, so I sort of feel like I’m doin’ me part. I’m sorry if me way of livin’ offends you, Officer Sullivan, but ‘tis really no concern of yours.”
“It does offend me, Miss O’Malley. It offends me very much. So much in fact, if I wasn’t a cop and obligated to uphold the law, I’d find a stoop, pull you over my knees and spank some sense into you. Then I’d cart your sorry little ass off to your aunt’s and make you stay there until you came up with a reasonable plan for your future,” he informed her darkly.
“Then ‘tis a blessin’ you’ve chosen the law for your profession, for if you tried such a thin’ I’d have to make you sorry you were ever born,” she hissed.
He watched her face flame in embarrassment as she looked around, but when her foot came up to kick him, he smiled.
“Please do, Princess Hooligan,” he drawled. “Assaulting an officer is exactly the excuse I need to take you in. Kick me hard, I want you to leave a nice big bruise for evidence. Then Rory will have to deal with you. Besides, I’m freezing.”
“‘Tis sorry, I am, Ian,” she said sweetly, lowering her foot. “Why don’t you go and get a cup of coffee to warm ya? I’m a might chilled meself.”
His heart melted a little as he watched her shiver. It was damn cold, and he was much better dressed than she. Could he trust her not to give him the slip? O’Malley wouldn’t like it much if anything happened to her on Ian’s watch and this was a pretty seedy area. On the other hand, if she was as cold as he was, she’d want that coffee.
“All right,” he said sternly. “I’m going into that little store there,” he pointed, “and you’d better be here when I get out. What do you take in your coffee?” he asked, rubbing his hands together.
“A bit of cream and sugar,” she replied, shivering dramatically.
“I mean it, Irelynn,” he warned as he backed away. “Don’t you move an inch.”
“I won’t,” she promised.
Five minutes later when he came out, she was nowhere to be seen. Hurrying back to his patrol car he drove her usual route with no luck. Returning to the shelter he pressed the buzzer.