I picked up this beloved series over the holidays and have obsessively watched it a few times now. And I tried to resist but once a plotline works itself into my already muddled brain, everything else grinds to a halt until I get it out.
Which is exactly what happened with this.
I don't write fan fiction any more. I write screenplays now and the transition back to prose was more difficult than I expected it to be.
Thanks to Angie and Pol for the most excellent beta work. Without you, this would be a much shorter and disjointed tale.
Any additional mistakes are mine.
Thanks for reading and if you've enjoyed it - or even hated it, please leave a review.
Synopsis: Ireland. After the lights went out and the series ended they're interrupted - again. This time with a bullet.
Steele doused the lights as he backed Laura toward the gigantic bed impossibly dwarfed by the castle's large master bedchamber. Thick, heavy curtains and large wooden blinds kept even the smallest sliver of moonlight at bay and through the heavy door, the shrill ring of the phone they'd agreed to ignore pealed incessantly. Laura clung to him as one of his hands slipped into her hair, while long fingers curled around her neck and held her mouth tightly to his.
Their joined lips parted only when the need for air trumped their desire to finally consummate their lengthy courtship.
When she sank to the mattress, he eagerly followed, a tangle of legs and arms growing more desperate with each breathy kiss.
The gasp when his hand slipped around her slender waist and drew her tight against him brought raging lust to new heights.
Through the haze of desire, he could hear muted voices but was increasingly distracted by the small hands burrowing ever so confidently beneath his jumper. His own followed a similar path until they reached a barrier he'd long been able to snick apart with ease. Nimble, dexterous fingers found the clasp and tugged, just as the voices below grew nearly impossible to ignore.
He groaned in frustration but a breathless plea for him to ignore the commotion was the only encouragement he needed to release the clasp.
Her small body pressed intimately close, every soft curve melted into hard, solid muscle. Overwhelming hunger threatened to shred his already threadbare nerves and when she slipped a knee between his legs he quickly rolled them over and pinned her to the bed.
Intense want such as he'd never witnessed before, swam in her eyes and he was swept along the white-watered tide. When her fingers reached his belt, an echoing crash from below parted their lips with a reluctant pop.
"Bloody hell!" Steele grunted as he glanced back toward the closed door.
"The natives can't be restless already," Laura muttered, exasperated air puffing against his neck where her lips rested against his skin. The heat between them ebbed but the determination in her eyes threatened to flare it to white hot steam if he didn't get up right now and deal with the ill-timed interruption.
"The Irish never need a reason to party. And I gave them the bloody castle. They should be out past sunrise," he growled none to happily.
Another crash had him leaping out of bed, a murderous look on his normally boisterous face. He didn't even bother to smooth his clothing before he yanked open the door and stomped down the hallway.
From the balcony, Steele surveyed the confrontation below. Mikeline stood protectively at the base of the elegant staircase, a frazzled Mildred beside him. The butler, chauffeur and maid all stood glaring at an unkempt man standing just inside the closed entry.
"What in the bloody blazes is going on down there? You're making enough racket to call a Bandh Sdhee. And as this is a particularly special evening, I'd rather the harbinger of death not call on my doorstep tonight! "
"Oh, it's nothin', Your Lordship," Mikeline said quickly, his accent thickening with every word. "He was just leavin', he was."
The unkempt man pointed a crooked and filthy finger at Steele. "You!"
"Me?" Steele asked, eyebrow quirked. Laura's delicate hand rested on his back as he exchanged a confused glance with her.
"You good as pulled the trigger yerself! Now I'm come to return the favor!" The man swayed as he pulled a gun out of his dingy coat.
The shouts that followed could have eclipsed the wail of a banshee as Mikeline, the chauffeur and the butler launched themselves at the stranger, but they were too far away to prevent him from squeezing the trigger. The maid dove for cover and Mildred cowered at the bottom of the steps, helpless to interfere in a moment which lasted mere seconds. The first shot resonated with echoing finality. Two more quickly followed as stone and plaster burst from the ceiling above the magnificent staircase, their target long missed.
The heat Steele longed to see in Laura's eyes was replaced with intense shock and a distant, muted, horrified scream. His knees buckled as hot, sticky blood filled his hands. And he tasted the growing tang as bile rose in swift response to the sudden intrusion of a foreign object.
He could feel Laura's fingers clutch at his shirt, but he couldn't stabilize his footing and together they tumbled down the steps to the tiled landing in between. The suit of armor displayed in the corner rained down in heavy, muted clangs around his ears.
He met Laura's frantic gaze with a disbelieving one of his own and worked his shock into a solitary breathless word.
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