Release Date: Mar 17, 2009
Publisher: Loose Id
Publisher Link: http://www.loose-id.com/prod-Ghost_of_a_Chance-900.aspx
Amazon Kindle: Ghost of a Chance
Blurb: Padraig Monaghan has a problem. Most would consider dying in a bar fight ten years ago upsetting, and existing as a ghost wandering the world might be thought a real predicament. They might deem a second chance at life through a chance encounter with a dying man a serious dilemma. But for Padraig, finding himself face to face with the man he’d loved and lost a lifetime ago is the biggest thing on his mind. Gareth Reilly stops at O’Toole’s for a drink before he heads home. Tomorrow’s going to be another lonely birthday for him until he’s approached by a stranger. There’s something about Padraig’s bright green eyes and Irish accent that reminds Gareth of a man he once knew. Unable to resist, Gareth breaks his cardinal rule and invites Padraig home. On St. Patrick’s Day, when Irish magic is strongest, it’ll take a belief in the impossible and help from a grateful elf to give Padraig and Gareth another chance at love.
He slid onto a stool and waved at the bartender.
“Give me a Jameson, straight.”
The man nodded, poured out the whiskey, then set it on the bar. “That’ll be four dollars.”
Padraig started. He hadn’t even thought about money. Reaching into his back pocket, he pulled out a brown leather wallet. Good quality, his mind registered. He opened it and thumbed past a couple of hundreds, several twenties, before he pulled out a ten-dollar bill. It looked like the would-be muggers would have gotten quite a haul if they hadn’t been frightened off.
After getting the change and leaving a dollar for the bartender, Padraig pulled the drink to him. He reached out to touch the glass with a trembling hand. His fingers slid along the smooth surface. He pressed a fist to his lips and met the other man’s concerned gaze.
“Are you okay?”
He took a breath. Don’t act weird, no matter how strange this has become. “I’m fine. Just need something to eat, I think.”
The bartender set a bowl of pretzels down for him. “What do you think about those Celtics?”
Who were the Celtics? Padraig racked his brain trying to figure out what the man was talking about.
“Not much of a basketball fan, are you?”
Relief shot through him. The Celtics were an American basketball team based in Boston. He shrugged and chuckled. “Afraid not, man. Football’s more my style.”
“I’m thinking your football is what we call soccer, given your accent. How long have you been in Boston?” The bartender wiped the bar in front of Padraig.
“Just got here.”
It was strange holding a conversation with someone. Padraig hadn’t tried talking to a live person since the disastrous attempt ten years ago. It had been right after he died. His mother was so grief-stricken, he’d wanted to let her know he was okay. He had no bloody idea what he was doing, but he gathered energy, power, or magic, and spoke to her.
Mama had completely freaked out and called a priest to bless the house. That was how Padraig ended up wandering the world instead of haunting the house he’d lived in all his life.
“Not long enough to lose your accent.” Someone hailed the bartender from the other corner. “Better drink up,” he suggested before wandering off to the other end of the bar.
Padraig leaned forward and breathed deep. The earthy scent of whiskey filled his nose, reminding him of home. Fuck. It’d been so long since he smelled anything. It had to be some kind of trick to mess with his mind. Tears welling in his eyes, he drank the shot fast. Slamming the glass down, he heard the thud as it hit the bar.
Good old Irish whiskey, the nectar of the gods for any good boy born on the Emerald Isle. His eyes stung again and he rubbed them, hoping no one noticed him crying. So many things he missed. Things he’d taken for granted when he had a life and a body. Good whiskey, playing pool, and the touch of someone’s hand on his skin. So many plans he’d made and never gotten to carry out.
Hell, his death was unexpected. No one really planned on dying young. Though in Belfast, back when he lived, it had often felt like only a matter of time before violence sought him out. Maybe he’d gone looking for it as well.
Staring into the mirror over the bar, Padraig thought about what he might have left unfinished while studying the face that wasn’t his. Tousled blond hair along with a golden tan spoke more of California beaches than the Irish coast. The nose on this face was straight without a hint of the bump his had had from taking a pool cue across the face during a fight. Everything about the face he looked at spoke of breeding and money, except for the eyes. Those were the same grass green he’d seen every day.
In the mirror, at a table behind him, a man moved. He found himself looking at a face he hadn’t seen in the long years since he’d been dead, one as familiar to him as his own used to be.
With strawberry blond hair cut shorter than before, and blue eyes hidden behind square black frames, Gareth Reilly looked only slightly older than he had the last time Padraig had seen him outside the McMurphy’s Shipping Company warehouse at the docks where he had worked. Padraig had wanted Gareth with a fierce lust but never had the courage to bridge the gap between them.
Without thinking, he stood and started to walk over to Gareth.