- N. N. Light
Wild Irish Flames by @BrendaKerrBooks is a Trick or Treat Bonanza pick #romanticsuspense #giveaway
Title: Wild Irish Flames: Legio Security Book 2
Author: Brenda Kerr
Genre: Suspense Romance
A gritty detective used to keeping secrets.
A brilliant analyst driven to find answers.
A terrorist plot with roots thirty years in the past.
When Detective Cillian Healy, a star among the Drugs and Organized Crime Unit of the Irish Garda, blows his cover to save a man’s life, he discovers the drug smugglers he was chasing have branched into the business of explosives. To follow the necessary leads and bring down the operation, Cillian finds himself forced into a partnership with a woman he already knows too well for his liking.
Detective Moira Coyle, the best analyst in the Counter-Terrorism Unit of the Garda, can piece together information and unearth answers like no other. Still, she needs more expertise for her next assignment. If she is going to track the explosives, she will have to work with Cillian Healy, whether she wants to or not.
Cillian and Moira agree to set their differences aside for the sake of the case. They settle into their new partnership only to have sparks of a different nature ignite between them. The investigation is heating up when a bomb blast in Belfast is linked to the explosives they are tracking. As the leads develop, so does the passion between Moira and Cillian. Clues from thirty years prior lead the pair on a heart-pounding chase through Ireland and beyond. As the clock counts down, they must fight to keep Ireland’s innocents and each other alive. Long-buried secrets once more see the light, and opportunities for revenge may not be lost after all. Can Cillian and Moira find the answers before time runs out?
Moira unbuckled her seatbelt and opened the door. She reached back into the car for the file folder, which she tucked in her purse. She stood for a moment eying the pub across the busy street. “Why did you bring us here, Cillian?”
“Ronan Mullen is part owner of Cahill’s Pub, although he keeps it very quiet. He was a high-ranking Provo who was granted amnesty from Maze Prison following the Good Friday Accords.” Cillian led the group across the busy street. “The Deputy Chief Constable suggested that he could shed some light on Eamon’s activities in Fermanagh.”
He held the door open and allowed Moira and Sarah to precede him into the pub deserted on this late winter morning. A young girl wearing a purple dress sat at a table by the front windows, coloring a picture with crayons. The bartender behind the bar was a large man with a florid complexion and gray hair cut short. He paused in wiping the counter to evaluate the new arrivals, his expression guarded.
“Dia dhaoibh ar maidin,” he said neutrally.
“Dia dhuit ar maidin,” Moira responded. The bartender relaxed when he recognized her west Belfast accent.
“As you can see, we’re packed this morning.” The bartender gestured at the empty pub. “I can put your name on the list if you like.”
“Ah, I think we’ll just sit at the bar if it’s alright. ‘Tis a perfect time for a pint and a craic.” Cillian eased past the ladies and strode to the bar. After assuring himself that the bar was empty of any customers, he stuck out his hand. “I’m Detective Healy of the Garda Counter-Terrorism Unit. And you’re Ronan Mullen, late of the Provisional IRA.”
Ronan looked at Cillian’s hand, deliberately ignored it, and continued wiping the counter. “I’ve no reason to talk to a peeler, especially one so far off his turf.”
Cillian smiled and sat down. “Oh, you don’t have to talk to us. We’re just going to sit here and have a great craic.” He indicated the barstools next to him. Sarah sat down next to him on one side, and Moira sat down on the other.
“Let me introduce my companions, Mr. Mullen,” Cillian indicated the young woman seated on his left. “This is Constable Sarah O’Clery, of the PSNI.” He turned to where Moira sat. “And this is Detective Coyle, also of the Garda. She grew up not far from here before emigrating to Dublin.”
Ronan said nothing, cold hostility emanated from him. Cillian ignored him, turning to talk to Moira.
“See, Moira, this gentleman behind the bar was the commander of the Fermanagh Brigade. He was Eamon’s superior when Carmel died in the explosion. Rumor has it that he’s the one that ordered the rest of the cell purged. Eamon was freelancing and carrying out attacks against orders. Including the bombing at Enniskillen.”
Ronan slapped the rag on the bar and leaned forward threateningly.
“I dinna know what you’re on about, bizzy, but I’ll nae have you throwing wild stories around in my pub.” He glared at Cillian, who smiled, unrepentant.
“Truth hurts, does it, Ronan? Are you afraid your granddaughter is going to hear stories about her dear old grandda?” He pointed to the front table, where the young girl had stopped coloring and watched the interaction with wide eyes. Ronan caught himself and relaxed, picked up the rag, and resumed wiping the bar.
“Ask your questions and get out, Healy.”
Cillian’s voice instantly shifted to a businesslike tone.
“Eamon McShane is back, Ronan. And he’s looking for payback. A little bird told me that your name might be pretty high on that list of his.”
“Eamon McShane is dead and has been for thirty years. You’re barking mad if you think he’s returned from the grave to bother us.”
Moira reached into her purse and pulled out the file folder. She opened it and extracted the passport photo of Eamon McShane, setting it on the bar.
“He looks pretty good for a corpse, now, doesn’t he?”
Ronan glanced at the photo and froze, the blood draining from his face. He picked the picture up and examined it closely.
“That feckin’ gobshite,” he said quietly, then set the picture down. Turning, he pulled a bottle of whiskey from the shelf behind him and poured himself a shot. Throwing it back, he stood for a moment, then shook himself. Cillian waited patiently.
“I’ll talk to you, but you keep my family out of it. It’s been twenty years since I left Maze, and I’ll nae see my family dragged back into that horror.”
Moira considered her first question carefully. She wanted to put Ronan off-balance and show how much they already knew. She reached into the file and extracted the photo of Carmel with two men. All of them were holding paint brushes high in triumph in a freshly painted room of the farmhouse. She tapped the picture with her finger.
“Frank Curren and Conner McLennen. These two survived the explosion at the farmhouse but disappeared soon after. Rumor has it that you were responsible.”
Ronan stared at her, his eyes wide with disbelief. “You must be daft if you think I’d confess to a crime in front of a PSNI officer. The Good Friday Accords granted no amnesty for unprosecuted crimes, and there’s no statute of limitation on murder.”
Cillian raised his hands in a placating manner. “No one’s asking you to confess to anything. All we’re saying is that you might have heard some stories about what happened to these boyos.”
Ronan leaned back against the bar, and Moira saw a calculating look cross his face.
“Theoretically, I might have heard a story about Eamon McShane. I have heard rumors that the leadership of the Fermanagh Brigade was having trouble reining in Mr. McShane and his crew of gobshites. They were in an undeclared war with the Brits and Ulster Loyalists all along the border, centered on their little safe house in Ballyconnell. To be honest, it was making life difficult for the rest of the Brigade. Eamon’s private little war was drawing a lot of extra scrutiny to the Brigade’s area of operations, and we had to call off several actions at the last minute because of the increased security presence.”
Moira felt anger flare deep in her belly but ignored it, focusing on keeping her voice even.
“Actions like Enniskillen?”
Ronan sighed. “Enniskillen was a mistake. A miscalculation. By the mid-80s, the Provo Council had decided on a strategy of attrition. The idea was to target the British military to drive up the cost of occupation and simultaneously focus on financial interests so no one would be willing to invest in the country. When McShane’s cell planted the bomb at Enniskillen, he claimed they were targeting the British soldiers marching in the Remembrance Day parade and that the bomb went off at the wrong time.
“The repercussions were horrendous, both politically and militarily. The carnage led many of our supporters here and abroad to stop donating money. There was also a growing sense of anger among the Catholics at the needless civilian deaths. The Council ordered that the people who had carried out the blast be eliminated. However, before we could arrange that, the cell blew themselves up at their safe house. A few loose ends needed tidying up, but that was it.”
Moira flipped through the file and pulled out the pictures of the two unidentified women.
“Do you have any information about who these ladies are?”
A curtain descended behind Ronan’s eyes.
“I’ve no idea.”
Cillian noticed how quickly Ronan shut down.
“Really? No idea at all? You barely looked at the pictures.”
“I’ve no idea who these women are. Now, if you’re done asking questions, I’d like to fix my granddaughter some lunch.” Ronan turned and walked into the back room of the pub.
“Well, we seem to have struck a nerve,” Moira said, picking the pictures up and sliding them back into her folder.
“Aye. I think we did.” Cillian slid off his barstool and headed towards the door. He paused to zip up his jacket against the cool breeze. Sarah stepped outside.
“What feckin’ gobshite is stupid enough to park here on Falls Road? He’ll be booted in an instant.” She glared at the white van parked half on the sidewalk, half off.
Moira glanced at the van, then looked back. It was a Citroen Berlingo, its white exterior dirty from the wet winter streets. She remembered her conversation with the PSNI inspector that morning, and something clicked. She turned, pushing Cillian and Sarah back inside the pub.
“BOMB!” she yelled. She grabbed the young girl out of the booth by the door and followed Cillian and Sarah as they sprinted towards the rear of the pub. She was almost there when she saw a flash and was lifted off the ground and thrown through the air. Wrapping herself tightly around the child, she tried to protect her as much as possible as the debris pelted her. She landed awkwardly, rolling to shield the girl with her body as wreckage rained down. There was an eerie silence, and Moira realized the blast had deafened her. She quickly ran her hands over the small child, looking for any sign of injury, but she appeared to be uninjured. Moira saw Cillian moving towards her, fear on his face. She could see his mouth moving but couldn’t hear a thing. Cillian knelt by her leg. Following his gaze downward, she saw a jagged piece of wood the size of a school ruler protruding from her thigh. Her jeans were soaked with blood. That’s funny. It doesn’t hurt at all. Shouldn’t it hurt? She thought as darkness closed in and she lost consciousness.
If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?
My costume this Halloween would be James Bond.
Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:
I don’t like romance novels with female protagonists who are damsels waiting to be rescued. I write novels with women who are equals, capable of rescuing themselves if necessary.
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Brenda Kerr is a romance novel enthusiast who spends her days teaching in Las Vegas. When she isn't teaching or writing, she enjoys traveling. Hot Kona Nights is her latest series of steamy romances
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