"A Recipe for Romance!"
Star-crossed lovers, a dark Irish Castle, a witch's curse,
and a heaping helpin' of destiny, MULLIGAN STEW has
all the ingredients for a delicious romance.
Fate had rarely smiled on Bridget Mulligan. One by one
she'd lost all her loved ones to some freak accident or
another. Granny Frye had been the latest victim. The old
woman hadn't even seen the truck that had run her down, as
she'd chased after her crazy old coon hound. Still Bridget
has her beloved six-year-old son, Jacob, to live for, and a
roof over her head. Or so she thought.
The day of the funeral had begun with misery but had ended
with hope. Bridget had learned that Granny had gambled away
the trailer that Bridget had called home most of her life,
but then her luck had turned. She'd discovered a new
family -- at least for her son.
Bridget had flauted town opinion when she had run off to
marry a man she had just barely met. She'd loved Culley
Mulligan but he'd abandoned her during their brief
honeymoon, and she'd been too ashamed and hurt to search
for him. Later she'd had her lawyer serve him with divorce
papers, but they'd never been returned.
Today she'd learned why, and years of resentment had melted
away. Her beloved had not left her intentionally, but had
been killed in an accident on his way to attend to some
business affairs he'd mentioned to her. His papers had
identified him as a resident of Ireland and his family
there had been notified of his death. The authorities had
no way of knowing about his new American wife.
The divorce papers had been delivered in Ireland all those
years ago, however Culley's grandmother, a devout Catholic,
had hidden that disgrace from the rest of the family. The
papers had only surfaced after her death. The timing
couldn't be better, as Culley's mother had a wish to see
her daughter-in-law and grandson, and the two of them
needed a place to stay for the time being. It would seem
that Jacob had a substantial inheritance which involved a
cursed castle. They would go to Ireland.
Culley's mother and younger sister had welcomed them with
open arms. but his elder brother Riley was certain that the
Bridget was merely a very fine con artist. Oh he could
believe that she'd seduced his brother, he himself was
anything but immune to her charms, but Culley would never
have forsaken his betrothed to marry Bridget on such short
acquaintance. It is plain to everyone though, including
Riley, that young Jacob is the spitting image of his
father. It doesn't take long for the boy to work his way
into Riley's heart.....or for the child's mother to work
way into his erotic dreams.
Caislean Dubh, the Black Castle, had been the scene of
misery and death for the Mulligan Family, ever since the
tragic suicide of an ancestor's lover, on his wedding night
to another. Riley had dragged his own father's lifeless
form from the building when he'd been a mere lad.
Patrick Mulligan, had been a young, strong, and healthy
man. Riley believes strongly in "the curse" and has
forbidden anyone to enter the castle-- especially Bridget.
The place calls to Bridget. It whispers to her, it invades
her dreams as the setting for her nightly trysts with a
phantom lover. It fills her head with dreams of a future
for her and her son. Bridget is just every bit as
unwillingly attracted to Riley as he is to her, and his
kindness to Jacob makes the handsome but stubborn man even
more appealing. She is convinced that he might come to
trust her if she could prove herself to be independent. She
envisions the family castle as a showcase for her excellent
cooking skills. Her heart is set on it, but first she must
convince Riley to let his fears go.
The castle whispers to Riley as well, though he hadn't
heard it until after Culley's death. Culley had heard it
from childhood...his Irish fiancée had not. What was this
strange connection between Bridget, the Mulligans, and the
Black Castle? Why did he find himself entering the scene of
his worst nightmare time and time again, just to please
her? Why he did find himself unable to resist the woman
even in his dreams?
Deb Stover cooks up a satisfying contemporary gothic
romance, chock full of humor, passion, and mystery. Bon
Copyright © 2002
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted May 1, 2002