Mistletoe Cottage

Sophie scanned the bar for Liam. The tables on either side of the room were all taken, wooden barrels serving as chairs. Servers carried trays over their heads, weaving through the people crowded on the dance floor. Drinking beer and talking, they waited for the band tuning up on the raised stage. When she was younger, Sophie had snuck into the bar a couple times to hear Liam and his brothers’ band. The owner had always spotted her and thrown her out for being underage.

“Get up there, Gallagher,” several people called out.

Sophie heard a familiar, deep laugh and went up on her tiptoes, following it to a table a few feet to the right of the stage where Liam sat. Sophie was about to turn to Ava and Dana and point him out when she felt herself being maneuvered through the crowd toward the stage.  “You have got to be kidding me,” she yelled to be heard over the crowd. “You set me up!”

“You were always trying to sneak in here to hear him sing. Now’s your chance.” Ava shrugged.

“You know what they say about payback, right?” But she wasn’t thinking about payback when Liam got up on the stage and accepted a guitar from a bearded man. She heard Dana and Ava talking behind her, and then they were tugging on the sleeves of Sophie’s coat. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“You’re looking a little warm,” Dana said.

Sophie sighed. Dana was right. She let them take off her coat. But then the band started to play and Sophie only had eyes for the man at center stage. He was looking right at her with a smile on his face. A smile she’d always dreamed would one day be directed at her. Sexy, hot, and filled with promises. Just like his voice when he started singing “Galway Girl,” only he changed black hair to brown, blue eyes to brown, and Galway girl to Gallagher girl.

Dana leaned into her when he came down off the stage. “It’s like that scene in P.S. I Love You.”

Sophie couldn’t respond even if she wanted to. Liam was in front of her, singing to her while the crowd sang along and clapped, stomping their feet in time to the music. Liam was a born performer. He played to the crowd, his voice deep and raspy. He circled her, moving closer each time. Then, just as the song ended, he cupped the back of her head and kissed her long and hard before saying to her in a thick Irish brogue, “Are you going to take me back to your room, my Gallagher girl?”

 

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