Grainne O’Malley, the legendary Irish pirate, is already defying convention, much to the chagrin of her chieftain father and conventional mother.
Enamored by a handsome Scottish gallowglass, Grainne stows away on her father’s ship when he trades with Spain proving her worth in an ensuing fight. Years later, promised to another man, Grainne still is enamored of Bruce Donnel, the young gallowglass, but she proves an able helpmate to her husband, building up his fleet with her piracy. After her husband is killed in an ambush, she returns to her father’s lands, to serve as his business partner.
Upon her marriage to the powerful chieftain Richard Bourke, Grainne proves herself his equal as they fight the British advances into their territory. Throughout her life, Grainne manipulates and outmaneuvers her enemies in order to ensure the survival of her clan and family, but her heart always beats for the early lover who remains a presence in her life.
Gráinne pulled the léine over her head and hurled herself into the freezing water. She swam as far as she could, her lungs almost bursting inside her budding breasts. The towering Croagh Patrick loomed over them, dwarfing the abbey at its base. Gráinne took a deep breath and swam further onward. The last thing she needed was one of the friars, particularly Fr. Colm, seeing this obvious disobedience.
Bruce swam beside her, taking breaths as deep as her own. Suddenly, he reached for her, drawing her to his hard chest. The waves gently lapped around them. “You’re a beauty, Gráinne O’Malley, an Irish rose. One day you’ll be mine.”
Gráinne let him support her in the water, frozen within his embrace. His taut arms clasped her close, and his gaze fell to her budding breasts. She swallowed and felt the heat spread from her forehead to her neck, but the sensation wasn’t unpleasant. When his hand stroked her rounding bosom, Gráinne only smiled.
“I don’t think Owen O’Malley would like one of his gallowglasses being so familiar with his daughter.” Donal was suddenly beside them. He tugged gently but firmly at Gráinne, dislodging her from the Scot’s grasp. “Come now, Gráinne.”
Viola Russell is the pen name of a New Orleans English teacher who loves re-creating the past in her fiction. She also loves exploring complex characters through her fiction. Viola is happiest at her computer, her dog at her feet.