Today I’m sharing a sneak peek excerpt of Chapter One from Oh Danny Boy, my sweet contemporary romance novel set in Ireland.
“Seamus, don’t jump!” Clara Donovan heard her own cries, the shouts resounding through the misty night air. She raced across the sidewalk toward Farthing Bridge, her gaze riveted on a horror she didn’t want to believe.
Her older brother Seamus sat on the edge of a tall bridge with his head slumped in his hands, a bottle of whiskey beside him. The arched stone bridge spanned the River Farthing, connecting the town to a once-popular marketplace.
No. It couldn’t be. Her breath burned in her chest as she took in gulps of dampness and drizzle. Don’t stop. Run faster.
When she reached the bridge, she elbowed through a group of late-night revelers. Several pointed up at Seamus. “He’s off the rails!” someone shouted.
Her brother seemed unaware of the gathering crowd. He swung his legs back and forth like an underwound metronome and stared into the ice-cold river below.
She shook off the image of him on her living room floor several days earlier. He’d been passed out drunk. Should she have phoned a treatment center? No. She could fix her brother’s problems. He simply needed encouragement, surrounded by his loving, supportive family.
Seamus. Gentle Seamus. Kind and fiery-haired, quick to temper, quicker to make amends. Her heart squeezed at the scruffy, dejected man he’d become since his wife had died.
Clara put her hands on her knees and took in calm, even breaths. Quickly, she assessed the corroded pedestrian catwalk leading to the top of the bridge, the skull and crossbones sign that warned Danger.
She stared upward at her sweet brother. “Dear saints in heaven, Seamus,” she whispered. “You promised me that you’d never drink again.”
She stuffed her wool gloves into her jacket pockets and bent to lace her weatherproof boots tighter. There was no time to dash around the river to the street that crossed the bridge, and she certainly wouldn’t ask anyone in the crowd to lend a hand.
She yanked off the “Danger” sign and threw it to the ground. That pressing feeling in her chest, like she was running out of air, slowed her movements. Dragging in another breath, she grasped the slippery wet handrails and stepped onto the bottom rung of the catwalk.
“Missus, are you trained for this?” a man from the crowd inquired.
She glanced around. The man stood a hairsbreadth away. He was tall with piercing blue eyes and carried a guitar case. His dark brown hair had a reddish tinge and his navy wool jacket strained against his athletic form.
“Thanks. I can manage on my own.”
Despite her refusal, she hesitated. Was she trained to climb to the top of a rusted bridge when she was crippled with fear and could hardly breathe? Umm, no. But she was desperate, and desperation made people do things they thought they could never do.
“I insist.” The man set his guitar case on the grass and stepped forward. “Who’s sitting on the top of the bridge?”
“I’ll follow behind you. No worries.”
No worries. Dear saints in heaven, her brother was about to jump off a bridge.
She gripped the slick railings with both hands and began climbing, acutely aware of the guitar player’s encouraging whispers behind her. She counted each step until she reached the top, scrambled to her feet, and raced to her brother. Seamus’s chin was hunkered in his hands, the empty whiskey bottle beside him.
She stopped a foot away from him. “Seamus, come with me.”
His legs stopped swinging. He turned to her, his metallic-grey eyes glazed with drink. “What’re you doing here?”
“I’m looking out for you, same as always.” She attempted to keep her tone light. “The weather’s a wee bit fierce up here. The wind and rain are driving my hair sideways.”
Inwardly, she shuddered. He was a sight wearing tattered clothes, his flaming red hair caught in a ponytail.
“And who’s that dodgy bloke behind you?”
“Someone who’s offered to help.” She struggled to control her trembling. Her brother’s big-boned body was precariously close to the edge.
Seamus’s mouth twisted. “It’s better if I end my life. I’m on me tod, I’m all alone.”
She extended a hand. “You’re not alone. I’m here for you.”
*** End of excerpt Oh Danny Boy by Josie Riviera Copyright © 2018 Josie Riviera ***
Want more? Keep reading Oh Danny Boy here.