When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
by Matthew Robbins
With effort, Ronan shoved himself to a standing position. “This way, then. I’ll show ya where you’ll be sleepin’.” Felix followed behind Ronan as they made their way into the living room. “There’s the couch and the chair, take your pick.”
Felix looked at both, not liking the choices.
“Sorry we don’t have a guest suite for you, princess,” Ronan said shaking his head.
“Please,” Felix said. “It’s not that. Won’t I be, like, in the way?”
“No, you won’t,” Ronan said. “Grandad gets up at first light and he’ll expect the same of you. You’ll want to be up and have your sleepin’ area back to rights before breakfast is ready. Work outdoors should begin shortly after.”
Felix made an apprehensive face that he hoped would be exaggerated enough to make Ronan smile. Ronan’s eyes twinkled briefly before he said, “Keep them faces to yourself around Grandad. An old hard-ass, he is.” Felix’s expression became even more extreme—the corners of his mouth pulled back and down, his eyes wide, their pupils jiggling from side to side. Ronan broke into a short laugh before he added, “Eejit.”
“Should I ask your grandpa what needs done with the animals? You shouldn’t exert yourself.”
“I’ll show you,” Ronan said. “But I’ll need some help getting ready.”
After Ronan told him what he needed done, Felix returned quickly with a trash bag, some tape, and what he hoped was Ronan’s work boots. “Are these clumps of mud with laces your boots?”
“Yeah, but I’ll only be needin’ the right one.” He scooted to the edge of the chair he had sat in and Felix knelt before him, sliding the garbage bag over his braced leg.
Ronan’s proximity was intoxicating. He was much more solidly built than Felix had realized. The T-shirt hinted at muscles that at first the work shirt and then the hospital gown had hidden. He tried to tear off a piece of tape to secure the bag, but he ended up getting it wound around itself in his distraction. Get a grip and stop being so freaking weird.
Things only got worse when he tried to put on Ronan’s boot. He made the mistake of looking up the length of Ronan’s well-muscled leg and into his amused face. Felix looked quickly away and tried to focus on fitting the boot over Ronan’s foot. It was only after several failed attempts that he realized Ronan was moving his foot on purpose, making the task impossible.
“Stop moving, ya jerk,” Felix said. Ronan moved his foot that much more. “That’s it. I’m leaving. I don’t care if I spend a year in jail, I’m out.”
“Alright, I’ll stop.” Felix tried once again and when he nearly had it pushed onto his foot, Ronan flexed his ankle one final time. They both dissolved into good-natured laughter before Ronan helped the situation by pushing down with his heel, sliding the boot into place. Felix stood and wasn’t quite sure how to help Ronan out of the chair.
“I got it,” Ronan said, struggling to his feet before he pitched forward. Felix caught him up in his arms, steadying him. As he felt the solid muscles he had speculated about moments before, Ronan’s scent invaded Felix’s nose—a heady mix of earth and cinnamon and suede. Felix’s breath caught in his throat and he held onto Ronan a bit longer than he needed to.
“Y’all right boys,” Lorcan called, having come in unheard by either of the men.
Ronan shoved Felix aside before hastily replying, “Yep. ‘Bout to show him ‘round the farmyard.”
About When Irish Eyes Are Smiling
Felix is in real trouble this time. Not only did he wake up nearly naked in a foreign country — drugged and abandoned as a prank — but soon he finds himself being interviewed by the police after crashing the truck of his handsome rescuer, Ronan Malloy. The only way for Felix to make amends is to work off his debt on the injured Ronan’s shabby, struggling farm.
Ronan Malloy and his grandad Lorcan have big plans for their ancestral farm. Their new boutique cheese will put Malloy Cheesery the map. But he hasn’t struck it rich yet. Between the bank and his scheming neighbor, he has enough troubles and doesn’t want to deal with an untrained Yankee on top of it.
Although Felix resents having to stay behind as his friends continue their backpacking adventure across Europe, he begins to see that farm life isn’t so bad. Ronan’s charming smile and sparkling eyes are an added bonus. And Ronan learns soon enough that the Yankee isn’t as helpless as he thought.
Felix isn’t sure he’s up to the task of saving the deeply indebted Malloy Farm from calamity and devious plots for its downfall, but for Ronan, he’s willing to try.
About Matthew Robbins
Matthew enjoys writing in the quiet hours of early morning when anything seems possible. When he’s not writing, he loves spending time with his patient and sweet husband Josh or creating anything with his hands—watercolor painting, crochet, wood working. His wacky and loyal clients fill his head with tales of places near and far, adventures mundane and insane, and secrets so scandalous that he can’t help but be inspired as he cuts and colors their hair in a lively neighborhood hair salon. He credits large amounts of caffeine and Neil Dyer’s intense music playlists for helping bring it all together on the page for his reader’s enjoyment.