Dorothea Sinclair has left her small home town in Maine and come to Boston to begin a career as a newspaper reporter. But so far her job on the Guardian has proved disappointing. More skivvy than reporter, she’s even been subjected to a humiliating proposition from the chief editor’s son. She needs a break but never expects it might come from a chance meeting with an Irish ruffian.
There’s a great deal of injustice in Boston, and O’Hare, embroiled in his fight for equality on behalf of Boston’s Irish, is well aware of it. When he rescues Dorothea’s hat on the waterfront, he’s surprised to learn she’s a reporter. And when she offers him the opportunity to state his case in the Guardian, what can he do but accept? It’s the perfect chance to put his dreams into his own words—and the only sure way to see her again.
“Yes. Yes, it does, thank you.”
Dorothea reached for the hat, but like the rascal he undoubtedly was, he kept it from her grasp, pretending to examine it closely. He brushed off a bit of grit from the brim and fingered the now-tattered veil.
“A mite worse for its adventure, but no doubt you can mend it, women having a certain magical talent for such things.”
Again Dorothea reached for her hat; again he kept it from her only to take a step closer and set it on her head.
“There you go, beautiful lady. You will be sure and hold on to it more closely next time.”
Dorothea, assaulted by the full force of his masculinity, said nothing, though she reached up one hand and clamped the hat to her head. She looked into his face, and all the breath fled her lungs.
He wore no cap and had a headful of copper curls well-tossed by the wind. His face screamed Ireland, with a broad forehead and slightly squared jaw, all sprinkled with freckles visible even beneath his worker’s tan. His eyes—but no. Dorothea met them once before her gaze skittered away much as the hat had, only to return again on a rush of fascination.
Tawny gold as those of a tomcat, his eyes held a world of emotions: amusement first of all, that flaming confidence, an uncanny wisdom, and a hint of daring. Dorothea responded to the last first—seldom did she fail to accept a dare.
He examined her in turn, just as curiously. The tawny eyes, fringed by copper lashes and set beneath brows as mobile as runaway commas, moved to her hair, then to her mouth, where they lingered before returning to her eyes.
“Lovely, indeed,” he said in a voice like warm honey. “But surely you know you shouldn’t be here on your own, not with night coming on.”
“Night wasn’t coming on when I arrived.”
“Aye, well, time has marched along.” His accent, not overtly Irish after all, owed more to phrasing than inflection. But its timbre sounded seductive as a promise. “It’s not safe for you to be alone here. Where were you bound?”
A good question. She should make for the rooming house like a frightened mouse; she wanted, with surprising intensity, to go home to Maine.
Her only reply, though, came in the form of a loud rumble from her stomach.
His face filled with laughter and warmth. “Well, now, and you should be bound home for your dinner.”
The laughter breeched Dorothea’s defenses as nothing else could. She relaxed marginally.
“I fear I am too late. The board will already be laid at the house where I’m staying, and all the food—of meager proportion as it is—disappearing even now down half a score of gullets.”