Title: APRIL IN GALWAY
Author: Martha Reynolds
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance
Bill Flanagan's no stranger to regrets, so when he stumbles upon the chance to erase one from his long record, he jumps at it.
April Tweed's reinvigorated acting career may suggest she's left her past behind, but some memories don't let go easily, even thirty years later. The most important person from her past has tracked her down in Ireland, where she's filming a miniseries.
Past collides with present when April finds herself stuck between her high school sweetheart, Bill, and her persistently amorous co-star, Connor. Both of them are determined to win her heart as fresh starts war against second chances.
A tabloid headline on a magazine in the supermarket checkout lane screamed “WHATEVER HAPPENED TO APRIL TWEED?” Bill grabbed the magazine, then snatched the other eight copies and added them to his basket. He laid the issues facedown on the belt, behind a couple of frozen dinners, a carton of orange juice, and a bag of six assorted bagels.
The woman who slid his purchases through a scanner never made eye contact until she got to the magazines.
“You wanted all of these?” she asked. Bill nodded. His eyes dared her to say something. Instead, the woman raised an eyebrow but scanned each issue separately. Bill paid for his groceries, fifty bucks extra for the tabloids, and carried his items to his car.
Once inside, he took one of the magazines from his shopping bag and stared at the cover. They’d used a terrible photo of her. She looked like she’d been surprised by the camera. Maybe she hadn’t slept much. Bill flipped pages to find the story about her.
Ireland? She was filming a mini-series in Ireland? They were supposed to go to Ireland together. Paris for her and Ireland for him, but together. Bill let his shoulders sag as he stared through his windshield at a cold and lonely February morning. School vacation was just two weeks away. She’d still be there, he thought. Maybe this is a sign.
According to the article, she was filming and staying in Galway. I’ve always wanted to goto Galway, he thought.
After Bill arrived home and put away his meager groceries, he did some online sleuthing. There were stories about the miniseries, but most of the news was devoted to her co-star, the ‘George Clooney of Ireland,’ as one writer referred to him. Bill typed and clicked and found a lot of photos of Connor Whelan. Okay, he thought, he looks okay. Piercing blue eyes, good jaw, plenty of hair. Bill ran his palm along the top of his head, skimming his skull. I had a lot more hair when she knew me.
She was staying at the Hotel Meyrick in Galway. He opened the hotel’s webpage and saw that it was centrally located and magnificent. But he couldn’t stay in the same hotel. That would be weird. Instead, he found what looked like a comfortable bed-and-breakfast “just minutes from Eyre Square.” Once he booked the cheapest flight he could find, he reserved a room in the B&B, and it was done. After all this time, maybe I’ll finally have an answer.
Bill landed at Shannon Airport on a drizzly Saturday morning and took a bus to Galway. His bed-and-breakfast turned out to be a good fifteen minutes’ walk uphill from the bus station, and Eyre Square was in the city center, which meant he’d be doing a lot of walking. He took a walk to the city center once he’d settled his luggage in his room. Heading downhill was one thing, and even then men and women of all ages seemed to fly past him. As he panted up College Road in the late afternoon, he had to stop multiple times to catch his breath. He wasn’t accustomed to walking so much, but the taxis were expensive and he was indifferent about the buses, and probably too lazy to try and figure them out. By his second day in Ireland, he’d learned to take his umbrella with him.
While he silently cursed himself for cheaping out with a solitary room in a house up on a hill, he tried to focus more on how he could connect with April. Roza, the impossibly young woman who ran the B&B, was sweet and hospitable, but he was situated too far away from the center of town, the pubs, the shops. He’d wanted to save money. It would be difficult to relocate now, and he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. In the morning at breakfast, Roza smiled broadly and asked him how he had slept. He answered, “Like a baby.” It wasn’t true, of course. His room was claustrophobic, his bed was unfamiliar. One pillow was too thin, and two were too thick. All through the night, wind whistled through a tiny crack in the window. The advertised ‘en suite’ bathroom was actually situated in what was once a small closet. But the B&B served a full breakfast, and Bill had awoken hungry and hopeful.
After a plate of scrambled eggs and toast, two small pastries, and a pot of coffee, he picked up his umbrella and thanked Roza. “See you later!” he said cheerily. Roza looked up from her paperwork at a table in the big kitchen and said, “Have a sunny day!” in an accent that reminded him of Natasha, his precocious student back at school, the daughter of an influential Russian oligarch. Natasha was accustomed to getting what she wanted, and a ‘C’ grade in Statistics was not what she wanted. What she deserved, yes, but Bill had been pressured to change her grade to a ‘B.’
What makes your featured book a must-read?
Until you can travel freely, this book will take you on a virtual trip to Ireland! Based in the lovely town of Galway, the heartfelt story of two lovers separated by decades of hurt and misunderstanding, who meet again and try to cover years lost, will explore the age-old idea of second chances and finding lost loves. A sweet St. Patrick’s Day read!
Giveaway – Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 23 books featured in the Pot O Gold Bookish Event: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/92db7750101 Open Internationally. Runs March 11 – March 21, 2021. Winner will be drawn on March 22, 2021.
Martha Reynolds was born and raised in Rhode Island, and spent a year of college in Switzerland, the memories of which inspired her debut novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, and its sequels, Chocolate Fondue and Bittersweet Chocolate. She is the author of nine novels, including the Amazon #1 bestsellers Chocolate for Breakfast and Bits of Broken Glass. Her novel Villa del Sol was awarded the 2018 Book Prize in Literary Fiction by the Independent Publishers of New England. Her writing has appeared in Magnificat magazine and her very short poem was read by journalist Connie Schultz during NPR's Tell Me More poetry challenge.
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