Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
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Cover artist: The Killian Group
Artist representative, Eilis Kennedy, gave up a singing career so that other women could have a fair chance at having their music heard. Having suffered rejection from callous men in the industry, she thought she would get away from ‘casting couch’ mentality. But when she finds herself in the office of Fergus Manley, all bets are off. Disgusted by his continual come-ons and lewd invitations, Eilis is looking for ‘the one’ who will take her career to the next level, getting out from under Fergus’s controlling thumb.
Aspiring blues guitarist, Kieran Vaughan, is looking for his big break. But after suffering near bankruptcy at the hands of an unscrupulous business partner, Kieran is left picking up the pieces. He’s unsure if the debts will ever be paid or if he’ll ever have a chance to do something with his music. At his whit’s end, he’s about ready to throw in the towel and find a full-time job with real hours.
When Eilis discovers Kieran playing in a seedy pub in Dublin’s Northside, she knows he’s the one rare talent she’s been searching for. With her know-how and his talent, Eilis will finally get everything she’s been waiting for. Neither of them count on the powerful attraction from first meeting. Eilis is so rocked by Keiran’s forthright words that it sends her running. Kieran risks being arrested as he chases Eilis across Ireland.
Seeing what’s happening between Eilis and Kieran, anger wells inside Fergus and he steps up his pursuit of Eilis. Refusing to let Kieran get in his way, Fergus vows to add Eilis’s notch to his bedpost, whatever it takes.
Will Kieran be able to protect her?
The Little Man Pub
The Dublin northside looked far different by day than it did at night. The storm from last night had been one of the seasons worst. Huge puddles in the road hampered traffic and trash had collected in the corners of doorways and blocked the gutters. The lingering breeze still had a crispness to it. Whispers of dark clouds streaked a sky that was a pale blue but reminiscent of last nights tempest.
As the taxi drove through Dublin's inner city, Eilis looked out of her window at the tacky Euro shops, out-of-business chemists, shoddy newsagents and off-licenses, all of whose shop fronts had seen better days.
This part of north Dublin wasn't noted as one of the rough spots, but it did have a seedy side. Especially in some of the pubs. The Little Man was a perfect example.
Eilis pulled her arms around her middle, instinctively protective. Was this the compromise she must face to get where she wanted?
As the taxi slowed at a junction, Eilis pressed herself back against the seat. A group of out of work young men sipping something from a paper bag spun their heads to look at her. The appearance of a taxi in this part of town caused a bit of notice and it made her feel all that much more vulnerable.
Just this once, just this once, she chanted.
Just this one trip to find who she was looking for and that would be it. She'd never have to come back to this place ever again. She could stay safely tucked away in her D2 house for the rest of her days. She'd worked hard for that house. She deserved it. She deserved it all the more now by putting herself through this.
Long ago, Eilis had promised herself never to set foot in the northside again. But if it took this one last visit to get what she needed, it would be worth it.
The taxi pulled around the corner and the now familiar entrance to The Little Man Pub came into view. Nicotine stained curtains were pulled across windows that reflected the dirty street. The façade's red and black paint was weather-faded to pink and gray. The M on the sign hung askew and swung in the breeze, and the P was missing altogether. For all intents and purposes one would think that the place was shut--had she not been here last night.
Eilis pulled some money from her purse to hand to the driver as the taxi slowed. "I'll wait fer ye, luv," he said, waving her money away. "Taxis can be hard to come by 'round here."
Eilis was suitably taken aback. "Thank you. I won't be a moment."
Eilis swallowed hard as she entered the dark pub. Her stomachache returned. She tried to convince herself that the twisting was caused by the smell in the pub, reminding her of warm stout and nicotine from recently banned cigarettes.
Normally, she would have ordered white wine. Last night when she asked for it at the bar, the bartender laughed at her and handed her a glass of Guinness instead. She grimaced at the memory.
As her eyes adjusted to the dark room, Eilis noticed that the few men who sat around the bar all had their eyes on her. Understandably. A well groomed business woman in the pub was surely a novelty. These men were long since retired, or long since employed. Their stubbled faces meant they hadn't shaved in many days. The dim light helped hide their unkempt appearances, but nothing could disguise their unwashed clothes. The scent of the latter wafted up her nostrils with the pong of nicotine. Her stomach lurched again.
She stepped further into the pub as her eyes adjusted to the lack of light then strode to the bar.
The publican was the same old man from the night before. He was short and pudgy with a missing front tooth. His disheveled appearance made him look like his patrons. Had he not been behind the counter she wouldn't have been able to tell the difference.
His striped brown and white shirt had frayed cuffs and was open to mid-chest, showing a dirty sweat-stained t-shirt underneath. His brown trousers had seen much better days and were held together not with a button or belt but with a bit of twine that looped from belt loops on either side of his round belly, his belly spilling over. The only thing that held the trousers up was his equally round bum. It seemed to push the waistband up as his belly pushed it down. The sight would have been funny if Eilis's belly hadn't twisted again.
Her voice cracked when she first spoke, but it picked up strength in her determination to make something of this horrid trek. "A-are you the proprietor?" she asked.
The man grinned a broad gap-toothed grin and loud enough for his patrons to hear said, "Loov, I'll be who ever ye want me to be."
The room burst into laughter at his comment. Eilis felt the flush rise in her cheeks. Not because she was embarrassed, but from frustration because she just wanted to get this meeting over with.
Eilis stood her ground. "I'm looking for the man who played guitar here last night. Kieran Vaughan. I have business with him. Will you please tell me where I can find him?" She looked the man in the eye, much as she could, considering she stood a good foot taller than he, even without her heels.
"No miss, I doubt you have any business with himself. 'Spec'ly a fine lass such as yerself. Now, if ye were to come home with a real man like meself, well..." He left the rest unsaid, the insinuation hanging in the air.
The room burst out laughing again.
Eilis's eyes never wavered as she stared this little man in the eye. "Sir," she smiled sweetly, honey dripping from her words as she leaned over the bar just enough to give him a glimpse of the swell of her breast through the opening at the top of her blouse. "I doubt that you have anything I would be interested in. Besides, do you really want me to find out why this places is called "The Little Man"?"
This earned the publican long ooh's and chuckles from the patrons who were on the edges of their seats waiting to see what the disagreeable little man would say.
Obviously taken aback by such brazen retort, the man stood gaping at her red faced for a moment before he got his whit's about him. He looked to the men around the bar and winked at them. "Oy does like me birds feisty!" And they all burst out laughing again.
Eilis would have found the banter funny if she didn't find the man so repulsive. All she wanted to do was meet Kieran Vaughan and get out of Finglas as soon as possible.
When the laughing stopped, Eilis's gaze never leaving the little man, she said, "Well?"
"Well, what loov?" he asked, wiping the tears from his eyes with a dirty bar towel.
"Are you going to tell me where to find Kieran Vaughan?" she said, trying her best to keep the frustration out of her voice.
Then she felt someone step up behind her. She straightened instantly. Somehow she knew it was Kieran. The feral scent of him permeated her senses instantly and her pulse quickened. Butterflies replaced the strange ache in her stomach that had been there just moments before.
She turned slowly and looked up into the most beautiful blue eyes she'd ever seen in her life. She found herself instantly speechless.
Never before had she seen such blue eyes. And as she gazes into them, they changed from the light steel blue to the color of storm clouds that were heavily ringed with gunmetal blue. That he had dark brows and thick lashes only made his eyes seem more intense.
"Ye've found him loov," the little man taunted. "Now what are ye goin' ta do with him?"
The hammering of her heart and the pulsing blood in her temples blocked out the noise in the room as she looked into Kieran Vaughan's eyes, her knees quivering. Something in the pit of her belly ached. No, it was lower. Something new that she'd never felt before, like warm melting honey running through her marrow. In that moment she longed to touch him, to brush an unruly wave of his dark hair away from his face, to feel hip lips against the pads of her fingers, to...
When he spoke she almost didn't hear him. All she heard was the baritone voice that had sung the blues last night in the smoky pub, pouring his heart into his music as if he'd lived the blues his whole life.
"Like the man said, now that you've found me what are you going to do with me?" His blue eyes sparkled with unabashed mischief.
"Anything you want me to," she heard herself whisper.
Talented author Kemberlee Shortland brings all the sensory pleasures and amusements of Dublin to the fore. I felt immersed in Irish culture. Secondary characters, Kieran’s sister and Eilis’ best friend, offer insights into the complicated souls of Kieran and Eilis. I look forward to reading the next book of the series. ~ Kathleen Rowland, Amazon
Kemberlee Shortland tells an exciting story, full of descriptions of Dublin and it's music, almost had me feeling that I could hear the sounds and smell the smells of the pubs. This sexy romantic story will have you wanting more. I look forward to reading the another one of her books. ~ Kathleen, Celtic Lady Reviews
Once more I have been thoroughly entertained by the fresh crisp writing coupled with a fast moving plot in Ms. Shortland’s latest entry in her Irish Pride Series. Shortland touches on the murky side of the music industry where having to give up a little of your soul, is the price one often pays to even get a chance to display any talent you might have. Using Eilis as her prime protagonist who bucks the system – giving up her own dream of a singing career – to both protect herself against the corruption and give other women a chance to save their self respect for a chance at stardom was, in my opinion, a most realistic and enviable plot.
The other thing I was totally enthralled with, and possibly because of Ms. Shortland’s adopted homeland, was the rather obvious endeavor to put a little bit of Irish fae magic in the attraction between Eilis and Kieran – something akin to soul mates who could ‘feel’ each others, happiness, hurt, or danger. It’s something I’ve read of but never had the good fortune to experience, but something that would certainly be quite enviable when one found their one true love. The way Ms. Shortland wrote this romance was dreamlike, beautifully emotional and intensely sensual with Kieran finding a spot up on my top ten hero lists! You just gotta love a man who’s gorgeous, sexy, kind and cooks!
Bottom Line: RHYTHM OF MY HEART is a most admirable addition to Ms. Shortland’s Irish Pride series and highly recommended. ~ Marilyn Rondeau, CK2s Kwips and Kritiques
•I love Ireland, and one of the best parts about Rhythm of My Heart is the way the author incorporates Ireland into the story—from the descriptions of the city to the Tunnocks Teacakes (and, after the description of them, I have to find a stateside source!)
This story is classic romance—boy meets girl; they feel a connection (literally, in this case); because of a misunderstanding on both sides they spend time apart; and I'm not giving away any spoilers (after all, like I said, it IS a romance) when I say there is a HEA at the end. In the meantime, you get the chance to see how two people learn to trust each other. Once the misunderstandings are cleared up, the way is clear for two people to fall in love—or is it?
Another man is also interested in Eilis…and he's not one to give up.
I'm glad this is a series…there are secondary characters I'm looking forward to knowing more about.
If you love Ireland, if you love a nice romance—give Rhythm of My Heart a try. ~ Books Mom, GoodReads
•"First of all, take a look at the cover of this book. I don’t know what the Irish word for “WOW” is but that was my reaction when I saw it. If a guilty pleasure read is what you are looking for, then you don’t need to look much further once you see the eye candy on this cover. Women will want a Kieran Vaughan of their own. What’s not to love, ladies? He’s hot, hot, hot, he sings and plays blues guitar, he loves his little sister, he’s nice, he worships the ground Eilis walks on (lucky wench), he rides a Harley, he cooks (fanning face) and last but not least, he’s Irish so he’s got the accent going on and you know that’s going to be music to the ears. If I didn’t already have a Scottish guy, then an Irish guy would be high up on the list. With Kieran Vaughan, Kemberlee Shortland has created a character that makes a lasting impression that remains long after the book is done.
"Upon meeting Eilis Kennedy for the first time, my first impression of her is that she is extremely critical of herself and has a very poor sense of worth. Most women can certainly relate to Eilis. She has gotten knocked down quite a bit in love and life, unfortunately, and isn’t very trusting with her heart. She honestly doesn’t see what Kieran sees when she looks in the mirror. She gave up her own career as a singer so she could find new talent and represent them towards successful careers of their own. Regrettably, the “casting couch” scenario still pursues her, only now, her boss Fergus is the one she needs to be cautious around. I would have liked to see her get agitated and fight back, especially where Fergus is concerned. She does tell him off but I would have enjoyed seeing her mop the floor with his behind.
"For me, Kieran and Eilis are truly two halves of one whole. Upon meeting, the connection they feel is strong and almost psychic. They know when the other is near, hurt or frightened, the way identical twins are connected. Unfortunately they are human and the reader is made to wait longer for them to get together because they both experience “the big misunderstanding” more than once. I found this to be extremely frustrating because it’s so obvious to me they are meant to be together but they both have a lot of pride and jump to conclusions about each other instead of just talking. Happily, years do not go by before they work it out, as is the case in a lot of books.
"Ms. Shortland writes amazing characters that come to life and leap off the page. Even the villain, Fergus, as nasty and disgusting as he was, is very realistic. I got a very good sense of what Eilis felt having him around. Ms. Shortland takes it one step further and makes Fergus truly vile, which gives the story some very suspenseful moments. The story moves at a good pace, even with the big misunderstandings and delivers some exciting and heart-racing moments towards the end. I can’t spoil the ending for you, so you are just going to have to read this book to find out what I am talking about. I’m sure you will agree that Rhythm of My Heart is magical" ~ Sharal Hunter, Sherri's Thoughts & Ramblings
•Rhythm of My Heart is a romance story told in a tense, pumped-up, passionate way by someone who knows exactly how to balance the tension of characters falling desperately for each other but riddled with self-doubt and manipulation by other predatory creeps! Very, very nicely done, Kemberlee Shortland!!! ~ Viviane Crystal, Crystal Book Reviews
•I apparently need a steady diet of Ms. Shortland’s books. In between reading them, I tend to forget the depth of character and insight into their personalities. I especially forget how devious and evil her villains can be. This makes their presence even more subversive and menacing. The truly ingenious aspect of her villains are the way they could be someone we, the reader, know and have experience with in our own lives . . . the connection between Ellis and Kieran can resonate with the reader, and help them remember or imagine that grand passion one can feel when with the right person . . . This reader could definitely sense the love Ms. Shortland has for her main characters . . . Kieran . . . is shining through in his honesty, caring and generosity . . . I believe most women reading this story will resonate with at least one aspect of Ellis’ personality . . . This makes the eventual connection with Kieran that much sweeter! Our author’s delight in the countryside and its’ people are evident in her descriptive passages throughout the book. However, none tickled the senses quite as much as her extended description of the tea cakes and the delight both Kieran and Ellis experienced while eating them . . . This book will engross the reader fully. You will not want to put the book down. This means it will be over far too quickly! The good news is, as soon as you finish it, you get to read it again! ~ Iris, Long and Short Reviews
•Being that I am mildly obsessed with Ireland, love pubs, and cherish live music there was no way this novel wouldn’t resonate with me. That being said, you never knows exactly what kind of world you’re about to enter when cracking open the spine of a new novel (and never having read anything from the author before either.)
Let me tell you, my intuition and good feelings upon reading the back cover copy did not let me down. Rhythm of My Heart is an endearing romantic tale infused with the Irish culture, language, landscapes, and heart. Plus so much more:
Eilis Kennedy has spent the majority of her adult life focused on her career – discovering new talent for Eireann Records of Dublin. While scouting out blues guitarist, Keiran Vaughan, Eilis has a thrilling and somewhat alarming instant attraction to the handsome and rogue guitar player. She isn’t the only one who feels it - Keiran is equally drawn to her. So much so that they feel an intense visceral connection to one another.
It wouldn’t be a romance novel without a little drama, and kissing of course, and Rhythm of My Heart doesn’t disappoint. We find out quickly that Eilis is a little untrusting of men and relationships, and for what she’s been through, no one would blame her. Her character is well written and believable. Kieran is a gorgeous hunky Irishman - who happens to play guitar - but also has a history that makes you see him as a real person. He’s not perfect, but he also has sweetness and charm that any maiden in her right mind would swoon over – I also can’t leave out his stormy blue eyes and dark hair.
My favorite part of the novel is when an unexpected change in plans places Kieran and Eilis alone together in a traditional Irish country cottage. The excitement, emotion, and the drama during their stay was fabulously written and fun to read. Overall the plot moves along at a nice pace and kept me happily turning pages. There is some suspense and action, particularly at the end of the novel, involving Eilis’s boss that had me reading well into the wee hours of the night.
Rhythm of My Heart is an engaging romance that is well written with memorable characters. The dialogue flowed effortlessly and the settings couldn’t have been more realistic. If you would like to read an entertaining romance full of music and love in an Irish setting, then I highly recommend this novel. ~ Jody, Goodreads
•"I haven't read this work yet but I've read other works of Kimberlee Shortland. She is a very talented author who has taken the romance novel and brought it into literature. A little more explicit than Jane Austin, Kimberlee has the same skills in creating a world of words and romance you want to visit again and again. I can't wait to read Rhythm of My Heart." ~ Heather Haven, author of The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries
•This author was born and raised in Northern California. In 1997 she went to live in Ireland for six months, where she married a man who convinced her to stay. Since then, Kemberlee Shortland has been picking up some Irish words and British slang. This information is told in the back of the book. I mention it because Kemberlee uses slang in this story several times. If you are like me and have never heard the slang word(s) before, you will have no trouble figuring out what the word means by how it is used in the sentence. (In fact, there was only one slang used that I am not positive that I figured out correctly or not - Bickie.) Since the author still spends time in both Ireland and America, she knows what readers from both parts of the world enjoy in their romance stories - and she delivers.
This story will especially appeal to those who are full-figured or consider themselves to be lacking in appearance or self esteem. (Let's face it; this describes most people in the world.) None of the characters in this tale are perfect. They actually come across to the reader as human and realistic. Those who play first or secondary characters have well developed backgrounds.
I am also proof that you do not need to be a fan of the Blues of Jazz to appreciate Kieran's smooth voice. (I actually kept hearing Randy Travis in my head.) The notes played and the talent described still manages to reach the reader. The rhythm of this story will capture the hearts of many. ~ Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews, Amazon
•Rhythm of My Heart . . . completely pulled me into the story with the need to know what happens next. The couple’s first meeting blows me away with their chemistry . . . I understand Kieran . . . the side-story of her friend leaves me guessing and wanting to know more about her past . . . Rhythm of My Heart is a good read for a rainy day. ~ Jeriha, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance & More