Siblings O'Rifcan Series Book 1
by Katharine E. Hamilton
Genre: Clean Romance
Tossing her belongings into a suitcase and escaping heartbreak seemed like the best idea for Rhea Conners. She’d simply travel across the ocean to visit her grandfather in Ireland and heal. Then she’d come back. Simple. But what she doesn’t expect is to find solace and healing in the form of the O’Rifcan family. One member in particular: Claron.
Claron enjoyed his life farming the land his grandparents gifted him. He lived his life quietly and contentedly, until Rhea arrived. He’d steered clear of relationships and entanglements since his last heartbreak, but something about Roland’s granddaughter twists him up inside. Something about Rhea has him rethinking his life of solitude.
Two hearts. One chance. Can Rhea and Claron overcome past hurts to make a new beginning?
Defeated, Rhea slid back behind the wheel and began racking her brain to try and remember the remaining directions. How far was she? Could she make it on foot? She remembered her oversized suitcase and its wheel-less base. If she had to, she would make the trek, but she had to know where she was going first. Perhaps there was a store up ahead she could stop in and ask for directions. She looked out the windows and only saw farmland to her left and the River Shannon to her right. And rain. “Okay, Rhea, think. Think, think, think, think, think.” Jitters began to take over and she absentmindedly drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. A knock sounded on the window and she jumped in her seat with a small squeal as a man peered into the car. The hood to his raincoat covered most of his face, but a pair of teeth flashed in a warm smile. “You alright there, lass?”
Rhea stared a moment before she realized the man was standing in pouring rain waiting for her response. She reached for the window and rolled it down. “My tire is flat.”
His brow furrowed as he looked at the tires on the passenger side of the vehicle. He then held up a finger as he rounded her car and looked at the other two. Nodding, he made his way back to the passenger window. “Definitely have a puncture back there,” he motioned towards the direction of the tire. “Whereabouts are you headed?”
Rhea shrugged and pointed to the sloppy stack of papers next to her. “Those were my directions.”
He motioned for her to get out of the car. “Best give you a lift then, come along.” He did not wait for an answer but expected her to climb out in the middle of a storm and drive away with a stranger. Rhea continued to sit in her car. He appeared on her side of the vehicle and opened her door and she jumped in her seat. “I see you have some bags, I’ll grab those if you want to just head towards my lorry.” He motioned to the vehicle parked on the other side of the road. She didn’t move.
“Not here to hurt you, lass. Just trying to help.” He offered his hand and then turned away to yell as a vehicle sped by and splashed him in its wake. Turning back towards Rhea he waved her out. “Come along, I haven’t all day.”
She caught a glimpse of the devastatingly handsome face beneath the hood and felt herself sliding out of the car. “I have bags in the trunk as well.”
“Aye, I’ll fetch them. Hurry now, before you get soaked.”
Rhea darted across the road and hopped into the passenger seat, only it was not the passenger side. Rolling her eyes, she quickly darted back into the rain to slide into the opposite seat.
A deep laugh filtered through the door as the man opened it. “Yanks always take time to adjust to the vehicles.” He handed over her purse. “I’ll go get the rest of your bags.”
She watched as he patiently walked back across the road unaffected by the downpour and grabbed her two giant suitcases out of the back seat of her rental. She heard them plop into the bed of his truck. He then fetched her remaining bags out of her trunk and tossed them into his truck bed as well. She then saw him unroll a blue tarp to cover them. He slid into the truck and heaved a contented sigh. “That ought to do it.”
“Thank you,” Rhea said.
He turned as he slipped off his hood and his bright blue eyes sparkled as his raven hair dripped with what little rain bombarded him beneath his hood. “Riley O’Rifcan, at your service.” He held out a hand and she shook it.
“Rhea,” she introduced.
“Nice to meet you, Rhea. Based on the vehicle and the luggage, I am assuming you just arrived in Ireland?”
“You would be correct.” She reached into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. The screen lit up. Pursing her lips, she slipped it back into her bag.
“No service here, lass. You will have better luck closer to town.”
“Where exactly am I?” She grimaced at the stupid question, but the stranger responded in kind.
“You’re at the county crossing, love.”
“The county crossing? As in Clare to Limerick?”
“That would be the one.” Eying her, he turned to face her. “I take it that is not where you planned to go?”
“Well, yes and no. I know I’m supposed to be near here, but in County Clare.”
“Do you have a village name for me?”
“No, unfortunately I don’t. All I know is that I was to cross the O’Brien’s Bridge and head northeast. I’m to stop at a bed and breakfast there.”
“Would it be Sidna’s Bed and Breakfast you’re after?”
Relief washed over her face. “Yes! Yes, that’s it!” She gripped his hand as if he were her lifeline. Realizing her action, she dropped it immediately. He grinned before turning to face the front. “It just so happens I just left the B&B. We aren’t too far off the mark.”
She placed a hand over her heart. “Thank you. Thank you for stopping to help me and for knowing where I am.”
He laughed. “I’d best know where you are. I grew up here.”
He nodded as he drove, the sound of the windshield wipers and peddling rain filled the silences.
“Do you still live around here?”
“Aye, but closer to Limerick. My family is all about though. In fact, I imagine you will meet plenty of them in a few minutes.”
Confused, she glanced over at him and he smiled. Rhea couldn’t think of ever seeing a man so handsome, even when he was dripping wet.
“Sidna is my mam.” He chuckled at her surprise. “She’ll be pleased I stumbled upon her guest.”
Katharine E. Hamilton graduated from Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in History and uses her knack for research in all her stories. She is a Southern Belle with a pinch of sass, and when she is not writing she can be found chasing around her toddler son, driving around the ranch, or baking delicacies for local parties and events. Katharine currently resides on a ranch in South Texas where the skies and rivers, in all their beauty, rejuvenate the soul.
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