Thursday, June 19, 2014

Excerpt: Love and Shenanigans by Zara Keane @zara_keane

Love and Shenanigans (Ballybeg, #1) by Zara Keane is a contemporary romance, out now!

Vows in Vegas...True Love in Ireland.

Three days before leaving Ireland on the adventure of a lifetime, Fiona Byrne returns to her small Irish hometown to attend the family wedding from hell. When she discovers the drunken vows she exchanged with the groom during a wild Las Vegas trip eight years previously mean they're legally married, her future plans ricochet out of control. Can she untangle herself from the man who broke her heart so long ago? Does she even want to?

Gavin Maguire's life is low on drama, high on stability, and free of pets. But Gavin hadn't reckoned on Fiona blasting back into his life and crashing his wedding. In the space of twenty-four hours, he loses a fiancée and a job, and gains a wife and a labradoodle. Can he salvage his bland-but-stable life? More importantly, can he resist losing his heart to Fiona all over again?

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If an evil fairy conjured Fiona’s personal hell, it would be this wedding.

“Isn’t your dress gorgeous?” The evil fairy of the moment—Fiona’s cousin, Muireann—displayed dazzling white teeth set in a saccharine smile. “Since you’re my maid of honor, I wanted you to wear something special.”

Fiona tongued her lip ring and squinted at the satin monstrosity hanging in her cousin’s walk-in wardrobe. No, she wasn’t hallucinating. Muireann wanted her to wear snot-green.

“You’re in the chartreuse.” Muireann’s smirk widened. She took down the hanger and held the dress against Fiona. “Maroon is so draining on brunettes, don’t you think?”

Fiona grimaced. Who the feck chose chartreuse and maroon for their wedding colors? And what in the bejaysus was that thing at the end of the dress? “Is that a fin?” She poked at the stiff fabric. With a bit of luck, it was detachable. She’d “lose” it somewhere between here and the church.

“It’s a mermaid bottom. I thought the design particularly well-suited to someone with your physique.”

My physique. Riiight.

In other words, she knew the dress would draw attention to Fiona’s childbearing hips and thunder thighs. What better way for Muireann to emphasize her own petite figure than to contrast it with her heifer of a cousin?

A lot had changed in the eight years since Fiona left Ballybeg, but her cousin had not. And neither, it seemed, had Fiona’s reactions to Muireann’s jibes. Over the years in Dublin, she’d shed her body image issues and learned to embrace her curves. Half an hour back in Ballybeg and Muireann’s company, and all her old insecurities had come flooding back.

“Plus,” continued Muireann, “the long sleeves will cover your tattoos.”

Fiona shifted her weight from one lace-up boot to the other. “If you find my appearance offensive, why did you ask me to be your maid of honor?”

“Mummy insisted. But she doesn’t feel it’s proper to show tattoos in church.”

“In that case, I guess your groom will be wearing a high-necked collar.”

Her cousin’s eyes narrowed to slits. “What do you know about Gavin’s tattoos?”

Feck! Curse her for a fool for speaking without thinking. She cleared her throat. “The one on his neck’s pretty obvious.”

“Gavin’s a man,” Muireann said with a sniff. “Tattoos aren’t ladylike.”

But being a total bitch was? Fiona gave a mental headshake. Why had she let Bridie talk her into participating in this farce? She’d bloody well known Muireann would do something to humiliate her.

Muireann draped the dress across the queen-sized bed, and pivoted on her heels. “I’ll leave you to get ready. Claudette—my designer—needs to check the fit. Such a shame you couldn’t make it to Cork to attend the earlier fittings. Claudette was most distressed.”

“I had to work. I was teaching summer school up until yesterday. It’s hardly my fault you scheduled the fittings for weekdays.” Fiona fingered the hooks at the back of the dress. “Am I going to manage to do it up myself?”

Her cousin waved one French manicured hand in a dismissive gesture, the other already turning the crystal doorknob. “I’ll send Olivia in to help. Be quick about it, will you? Claudette doesn’t have all day.”

The door half closed, leaving Fiona to contemplate fish tails and dresses the color of infected sinuses.

Muireann’s head popped round the door again. “By the way, Fiona?”


“Lose the boots.”

The door clicked closed.

Fiona slumped onto the four-poster bed. Three days. Three days until freedom and white sandy beaches. Three days until she embarked on the trip of a lifetime. The catch was surviving the next seventy-two hours.

About the Author

Zara Keane grew up in Dublin, Ireland, but spent her summers in a small town very similar to the fictitious Ballybeg.

She currently lives in Switzerland with her family. When she’s not writing or wrestling small people, she drinks far too much coffee, and tries – with occasional success – to resist the siren call of Swiss chocolate.

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