Defiant Queen

Defiant Queen

Page 42

My breath stops for an instant, expecting her lips to hit mine, but they bypass my mouth for my ear.

“Dance with me, Lachlan. Dance with me in Dublin.”






Keira passes out in my arms almost as soon as the car door closes and Padraig drives us back to the hotel.

I’ve gambled and won fortunes time and again, amassed money until it no longer has any meaning except for the power it allows me to wield. I’ve built a goddamned empire. But none of those things can give me what I want right now.

“Dance with me, Lachlan.”

Her request was ludicrous. I don’t dance, but in that pub, with the Irishman and his guitar encouraging everyone to join in, I gave her what she wanted.

For one night, I’ve gotten the chance to be someone else. Anyone but me. And that man was able to sweep this woman off her feet, literally and figuratively.

Keira sighs, curling into my body.

It’s too bad she probably won’t remember any of it.

Or maybe it’s better that way. Unlike me, she won’t spend the rest of her life wishing for another night like this.






When I wake, my head pounds like an entire troop of Irish step dancers is using it as a stage for a performance. I roll over in bed, naked but for the sheet and down comforter covering me, and no memory of how I got there or managed to get my clothes off.

I glance at the clock to find it’s almost one in the afternoon.

“Shit.” I’ve missed all the morning panels. They weren’t nearly as important as the ones earlier in the week, probably because so many people duck out before the last day, but still. This is my first conference, and I planned to make the most of it.

I sit up in bed and haul the covers off. A note flutters to the floor as though it was lying next to me. When I reach down to grab it, everything I’ve consumed in the last day feels like it’s about to come up.

I’m officially too old for whatever the hell happened last night.

I’ve never been the type to get blackout drunk because my tolerance is higher than most people’s, and yet my memories from last night are fractured, at best.

I remember the distillery. Guinness. Eating. Wandering Temple Bar and hitting a few pubs. But beyond that, it gets grainy.

When my stomach steadies, I reach down for the note.


There’s hot coffee in the living room. Drugs on the nightstand for your head.

Drink some water. Shower and call down for food.

Your stylists arrive at five.



There’s no signature, but I recognize the bold scrawl.

The last part confuses me. Stylists?

Then I remember the last evening of the conference is tonight—the gala and the award ceremony for the whiskey-and-spirit-tasting contest that’s been going on all week. I haven’t thought much about it since Seven Sinners didn’t enter because I wasn’t planning to come.

The way I feel right now, I’m not sure I’ll feel human by then, but I stand and find my balance. I can hear his authoritative tone ordering me to comply with the rest of his instructions, and even though it’s second nature to rebel, I don’t intend to.

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