So to whet your appetite here is another little sneak peek....
It couldn’t be true. For a second I wondered if my eyes were playing tricks on me, but the sunlight was falling directly onto that flame-red hair, making it glow brighter even than my own and the way he swung his arms in that rolling, jaunty way when he walked was so familiar to me. The last time I had seen him was two years ago, when we’d had to flee together from Ireland after a failed prison break that had killed my other brother Joseph. I’d left Liam hiding out in France, wanted by the English. So what on earth was he doing walking down a busy street in New York in broad daylight?
“Liam!” I exclaimed in delight and moved forward to throw my arms around him.
Instead he took a backward step. He looked startled, afraid, and for a moment I thought he was going to bolt on me. But his eyes lit up and he managed the ghost of a smile. “Molly. It’s good to see you. How are you?”
“Well, thank you.”
His eyes traveled over my person and reacted when he noticed my belly. “It’s a little one you’re carrying, is it? Does that mean that—“ He broke off, trying to phrase the question correctly. I could see he was trying to catch a glimpse of my left hand.
I read his meaning and laughed. “Yes, Liam, in case you’re wondering. I’m rightly and properly married. To a captain in the police force no less. I’m Mrs. Daniel Sullivan.”
I saw his glance become wary. “A captain of police. Well, well.”
“I would have written to tell you the news, but I had no way to contact you.”
He nodded. “It’s better that way.”
He looked thinner than when I’d last seen him and he never had had more than an ounce of meat on those bones. And older too. A grown man and not a boy. A man who had seen too much suffering for his years.
“Holy Mother of God, Liam,” I said. “It’s grand to see you. How long have you been in the city?”
“A week or so.”
“Why didn’t you let me know?”
He shifted uneasily from one foot to the other. “It’s a big city, Molly. How would I have found you?”
“I left my address with you, didn’t I?” I felt frustration rising inside me. This was my brother, whom I hadn’t seen for years, and he was treating me like a causal acquaintance, almost like a stranger.
“You might have done so. But I destroyed all the papers I had; everything, just in case we got caught. No sense in involving other people in our struggles. That’s why I didn’t try to seek you out, Molly. It’s better if no one knows I’m here.”
“What are you doing here, for God’s sake?” I demanded.
He looked around warily, although nobody on the street seemed to be paying either of us any attention. “I can’t tell you that, Molly.”
“Look, why don’t you come back to my place for a meal?” I said. “Then we can have a grand old chat.”
Again that guarded look. “I’d rather not, if you don’t mind. Better for both of us that way.”
I touched his arm lightly. “Liam, are you in trouble?”
At this he laughed. “Trouble? Me? Oh no, only a price on my head from the English and me in this country with false papers. Otherwise everything’s just grand.” He shifted uneasily again. “I shouldn’t be standing out here, for anyone to see.”
“Then come and have a cup of tea. There are plenty of little cafes on the Bowery.”
He shook his head again. “I’d rather not, if you don’t mind.” He must have seen my face fall. “Look, I don’t want to involve you in anything, Molly. Far better if you’ve not seen me and don’t know that I’m here.”
“But I’d like to help if I can,” I said. “Is it on Brotherhood business that you’re here?”
“Of course, but I can’t tell you about it so don’t ask me.” He glanced past me up the street. “I should be going. It was lovely to see you. I just wish I could stay and have a ‘grand old chat.’”
THE FAMILY WAY by Rhys Bowen, Minotaur Books hardcover and Kindle in stores March 5, 2013