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Amulet Jones has things to do and places to go, but with all flights cancelled in and out of Boston the night before St. Paddy’s Day, she’s suddenly found herself just desperate enough to take a stranger up on his offer for a warm bed.
She didn’t anticipate weathering the storm at O’Malley’s Bed & Breakfast, and it isn’t just liquid courage shooting through her veins every time Lucky O’Malley’s devilish gaze catches hers across the crowded bar. But after one night together, he’s made up his mind. And his mind is set on her.
She’s never found luck in love but fate may have just delivered her forever with a thick brogue and a mouth filthy enough to make an Irishman blush. Lucky’s one hot Irish import that’s determined to keep his precious lucky charm forever.
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“I’m afraid there isn’t anything I can do for you, ma’am.”
I groaned over the phone. “Nothing? I’ll take a cot at this point.”
“No, ma’am, I’m sorry. This Nor’easter is already taking out power stations up and down the coast—it’s a wonder the phones are still working. Your best bet might be to just sit tight at the airport. They’ll get you on a flight to LA as quickly as they can, I’m sure.”
“The worst is supposed to hit in the morning.” I was unable to help the whine creeping into my voice. “I could probably rent a car and drive across the country faster.”
“Oh, don’t be silly. Boston to LA is at least a four-day trip.”
I sighed, exhaustion already adding bags to my eyes after the day I’d had. I’d only just flown into Logan International Airport late last night, had a day crammed with meetings with the firm’s advertising clients, before I was meant to be shuttling back home to the West Coast right about now.
“Thank you so much for your help,” I finally uttered into the iPhone.
“Sure thing. Hey, chin up. Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day. Maybe the luck of the Irish will be on your side.”
I couldn’t even be bothered to fake a smile over the phone. “Thank you.”
I ended the call on my cell phone just as the power cut, screen fading to black. “Shit.”
I frowned, searching through my oversized tote bag for my phone cord to charge my cell and try calling a few more hotels. There was a chance I could be stuck in Boston for a few nights waiting out this epic storm, but if I could at least find something with a vacancy tonight, I could spend all day tomorrow figuring out my next plan.
My eyes landed on a vending machine of phone accessories and calling cards, and I realized my cord must have been left in the conference room before I’d rushed to the airport. I groaned, digging out some dollars before crossing the airport lobby to buy a new cord. I spent two minutes feeding my wrinkly dollar bills into the machine before I punched the number for the cord to match my phone, when the package dropped and then got hung up on a bottom ring.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake,” I hissed beneath my breath as one of the airport shuttle operators passed behind me.
“Whoa, let me see there, missy. I’m sure I can get that for ya.” His Irish brogue put the first genuine smile on my face all night. The weathered lines of his face and the twinkle in his bright blue eyes made him look like an actual garden gnome, mischievous and fun-loving.
And then he shoved two fingers into the slot that was meant to be holding my phone cord, and he began fishing around as he complained that this old machine always gave people trouble. He kicked it once, knocking his shoulder into the window, before angling a third finger into the narrow slot and finally clearing my cord of its hang-up.
“Thank you so much. I guess you do have a talent for this old thing.” I unpackaged the cord quickly and tossed the plastic into the recycling bin.
“Takes a special touch. She’s a finicky old lady.” He was still speaking in all of that Irish innuendo, and as inappropriate as his joking may have been, it felt good to just smile with a stranger. And just like he’d come, he was gone, moving out of the sliding doors and disappearing into the night.
“Well, then,” I breathed, heading back to my bags in the corner, pausing to gaze at an out-of-date corkboard. It held business cards stabbed with rusting pinheads advertising car services, a ski resort, and a roadside motel. “Hmm.”
I made quick work of plugging in my cell phone at the outlet, rubbing my phone between my hands quickly to generate heat like I was reviving a tiny child of frostbite. “Come on, baby, let’s get lucky tonight.”
I cracked a grin just as a bolt of lightning lit up the sky, thunder cracking an instant later just as the logo on my phone powered on. “Yes!”
I did a little dance crouched on the floor before snagging the wrinkled motel business card off the corkboard and typing in the numbers as quickly as I could. Another strike of lightning lit the sky and more rumbles of thunder sounded outside the airport before torrents of rain suddenly began to fall.
The phone line rang and finally connected. “Here we go.”
“Hello?” The phone was crackling, making the voice on the other end hard to hear.
“Hi…uh, hello? Do you have a vacancy for tonight?”
I missed some jumble of words through the shitty connection before I heard the word vacant.
“What was that? I can’t quite hear. This storm—”And just like that, the phone went blank. I gnashed down on my teeth, cursing my bad luck, and was about to hang up before a voice as clear as a sunny day said, “I have one room left. I’ll save it for you if you can be here soon.”