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Book Heat Level: 2
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Ireland in 1817, when tensions are high between Protestants and Catholics and faey people guide the fate of villagers. A lovely Catholic lass stumbles upon the weakly ritual fisticuffing between Irish lads. She falls into the lap of a handsome young Protestant. Family ties, grudges, and two conniving faeries threaten their budding love. But the faeries outsmart themselves when they hijack a time machine that has mysteriously appeared in their forest.
The heat from the afternoon sun felt wonderful--enchanting--dreamy. When she tried to sit up, the earth whirled around her again. She wanted to feel indignant but she'd brought this on herself. She didn't quite understand why she wanted to convince this arrogant oaf she wasn't a little girl.
"You mind telling me why you tackled me?" he asked.
Casey turned her head to look at the young man. He leaned on one elbow, nonchalantly plucking a blade of grass and sticking it in his mouth. His dark black hair appeared rakishly windblown and his grin was bordered by dimples on both sides. She had the craziest urge to reach up and trace the line of his lips with her finger.
"I don't believe in fighting," she said. "It's absolutely stupid for the bunch of you to come out here on the Sabbath and fight when the rest of the week you are all bosom buddies."
"Stupid, you say?" he queried. "You dare to call me stupid?" he laughed and extended his hand. "Let me help you up. I don't think I'm ready to meet your dah with pistols on the dueling field. So I think I'd best be seeing you home."
An inferno swept through Casey. She didn't know if she still reeled from the impact or if the dizziness was something else--something magical--something supernatural. When he looked at her, she trembled and her face heated. She touched her hands to her cheeks. They felt cold and clammy. Afraid if he touched her again she might melt, she stared at a puffy cloud floating whimsically overhead.
He bent closer to her. The scent of mint filled the tiny space between them.
"You all right? Did you hear what I said?" he asked, touching a finger to the pulse throbbing at her neck. She tried to bat his hand away even while her heartbeat pounded faster, and she couldn't inhale a decent breath of air.
"Stop it," he said, and paused for a moment in his assessment of her health. "I think you will live."
"Of course I will and I can find my own way home. I'm eighteen. I turned two months ago."
"That old?" He laughed and she wanted to escape. Yet some little demon inside told her he was the last person she wanted to hide from. She felt as if her body had been taken over by something unearthly, something mysterious or filled with enchantment.
"You're going to have a black eye," she said and touched the bruise forming around his eye. "Does it hurt?"
"Come on, lass," he said still holding out his hand and sidestepping her question.
"You're ignoring me," she told him, getting up without accepting his hand and dusting off hers on her skirt.
"My apologies," he laughed, bowing slightly laugh lines crinkling his brow. "It only hurts when you remind me of it."
"Then I won't be reminding you," she said quickly.
"Casey," her brother said as he rounded the top of the hill. "You coming or do you mean to dawdle here all day?"
She jumped and pressed her fingers along her skirts to smooth them all the while feeling not a wee bit guilty, but a whole lot guilty. And I have nothing to feel ashamed of. "What are you doing here? I thought you left me to fend for myself," Casey said feeling a moment of loss at the thought her brother would be walking her home and not Kelly.