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Mulligan Magic

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Mulligan Magic -- E-book September 6, 2011
Print April 2003

A 2003  Romantic Times Book Club Reviewers Choice Nomination for Best Contemporary Romance of the year!
A sequel to Mulligan Stew

In this enchanting follow-up to Mulligan Stew, award-winning author Deb Stover returns to the sprawling Irish countryside, where just a dash of magic on an ancient isle can spark the fiery depths of love and passion…

Maggie Mulligan is thrilled to be back in Ballybronagh, surrounded by her lively Irish clan. All she wants is to raise enough money to keep the local school open so she can keep her teaching job. So why is she suddenly preoccupied with the mysterious American who has come to Ballybronagh?

Working undercover has taken former New York City police detective Nick Desmond to Ballybronagh, where he plans to gather enough evidence to take down his father’s killer. But it isn’t long before Nick feels torn between his long-held yearning for revenge and his overwhelming desire for the beautiful schoolteacher. If he isn’t careful, his longing for Maggie will overtake him, generating repercussions that are far more dangerous than his original mission…

Buy it now in Kindle | nook | iBooks

Read Reviews | Read Excerpt

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reviews

4 1/2 Stars -- An April 2003 Top Pick!!!!
" The mystery & magic of the Mulligan family is back in Mulligan Magic, the sequel to last year's Mulligan Stew. In this enchanting tale enduring love, revenge, suspense and the paranormal all mesh into a richly rewarding reading experience. Ms. Stover is a purveyor of magic."   ~Romantic Times Book Club

" Mulligan Magic is a marvelous tale of reincarnation, magic, wildly romantic characters and downright fabulous storytelling by the incomparable Deb Stover, a woman who delivers the best on a regular schedule. Awesome!" ~ Suzanne Coleburn, Reader To Reader

" Five Stars! This is a great book!"
~Affaire de Coeur

" Wow! If you enjoyed MULLIGAN STEW you will love MULLIGAN MAGIC. This story is a heady blend of romance, suspense, and intrigue. As with Bridget and Riley, Nick and Maggie are soulmates, with all those lovely implications. Paranormal lovers will enjoy learning more about the castle curse and the ghosts of the past, while getting a taste of a modern magick in the bargain. The battle between good and evil will keep you in your seat until the last page is read. All the threads now seem to be wrapped up in a tidy little bow. I highly recommend this gripping magical tale of second chances."
~Leslie Tramposch, PNR Reviews

" You enter into a setting so wonderful when you open the pages of this latest enchanted book of Ms. Stover.  The pages burn with the love and passion of Maggie Mulligan and Nick Desmond.  As the story unfolds both Maggie and Nick feel the pull, and voices of past loves, past and present, come together.  Throw in a missing child, a Grandmother that is determined to see this grandchild raised without the influence of her Mob leader son.  The very man that had Nick framed for a crime that cost him his father, and his job as a New York police detective.  You now have the making of a most Bewitching, Beguiling, and Beautiful story of how life can turn itself around and everyone concerned finds the " family" they each desire.    Ms. Stover never ceases to amaze me with her FANTASTIC writing! 5 BELLS!!!!!"
~Donita Lawrence, Bell, Book & Candle

" Mixing together magic and reincarnation in this wonderful tale, Stover mingles the fear of discovery with danger that stands ready to destroy them all in a terrifying conclusion."
~Lucele Coutts, Romance Authors & Readers (ROAR)

Mulligan Magic sparkles in the Irish mist.”
—JoAnn Ross, USA Today Bestselling author

" Passion, betrayal and an ancient curse blend to create a tale that will delight the reader and capture the heart.  I highly recommend Mulligan Magic for a timeless tale of second chances, and of a love powerful enough to last through the centuries."
~Terrie Figueroa, Romance Reviews Today

" Mulligan Magic combines romantic suspense with paranormal elements for an exciting novel readers will treasure. The return of favorite characters provides delightful continuity for fans of the previous novel, but Mulligan Magic sparkles as a stand-alone with Stover's characteristic flair for creating memorable characterizations and a rich Irish landscape."
~Cindy Penn, WordWeaving

" Setting a curse causes major consequences. When those consequences spring from the vivid imagination of Deb Stover, readers are guaranteed a spectacular story! BRAVA!"
~Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews

" Not only was this an absolutely fascinating story but also we got to visit all the beloved characters that we first met in Mulligan Stew. The taste of Ireland is so strong in this book that I devoured it in one gulp. It is my fervent hope that Deb Stover will revisit Ireland over and over again."   ~ Kathy Boswell, The Best Reviews

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excerpt

" Let's check out the bar." Nick crooked an arm toward her and Maggie found herself looping hers through it.

Oh, my. He was all hardness and heat and...and man. Now that was mature. She obviously needed lessons in public behavior around gorgeous men. It wasn't as if she'd never dated at university. Oh, and what a fascinating curriculum such lessons would entail.

" What's your pleasure?" Nick asked.

" Harp, please," she said.

" A glass, Maggie?" Kevin Gilhooley asked, sliding curious looks at Nick.

" Please." She smiled when Riley loomed beside Kevin, arching his eyebrows questioningly toward her companion. " Riley, this is Nick Desmond, cousin to Brady. Nick, this is my brother, Riley Mulligan."

" Pleased to meet you," Riley returned, thrusting out his hand. " Céide Milé Fáilte."

" Uh...is that good or bad?"

Maggie laughed again. " It means a hundred thousand welcomes, so that would be good."

" Thanks."

The two giants shook hands as Maggie looked from one to the other, amazed to realize they were almost the same height. Was it her imagination, or were they having a bloody contest to see which one could squeeze the other's hand the hardest? Men!

" You'll do," Riley said, grinning as he released Nick's hand.

" Do for what?" Nick asked, flexing his fingers.

" Arm wrestling." Riley slapped the bar with the flat of his palm. " We'll be having a contest at Gilhooley's next Saturday night--strictly to raise money for the school." He winked at Maggie.

" If I can get away, I'll be happy to donate the bones in my hand to the cause." That delightful crooked grin spread across Nick's face again.

Riley threw his head back and laughed. Kevin slid a pint of Guinness onto the tray holding drinks for Maureen and Erin O'Shea. " 'Tis on the house, boyo," he said in his best publican voice. " To ease the pain."

" It's getting deep in here." Nick chuckled and shook his head. " Didn't bring a shovel."

" Aye, and it'll get a lot deeper from the look of the flow of liquid refreshments," Maggie said indulgently. " But 'tis for a good cause." She patted her brother on the hand. " I'll help Nick deliver these drinks."

Maggie couldn't help noticing how tense Nick seemed as he scanned the throng for his aunt and cousin. He suddenly relaxed, and she realized he must have spotted them at the same time Maggie had. Mum was teaching the children a folk dance while Séamus Doone played his pipes, and Sean Collins joined with a traditional bodhrán. Mrs. O'Shea clapped her hands in delight, her eyes dancing as happily as the children.

As they finished the number, Brady Rearden went to her side and bowed, kissing her hand.

" Your Cousin Brady's a charmer," Maggie said, laughing. " And doesn't it appear he's flirting with your aunt?"

" He's my mysterious cousin? Well, I'll be." Nick shook his head, though he still wore that potent smile of his.

Mum's eyes twinkled as she took the tray of beverages from Nick. " You all go dance while I take Erin and Jacob to fill their plates." Then, of course, she turned her attention to Maggie and Nick. " And introduce young Nick to his Cousin Brady. 'Tis so sweet to find long, lost cousins."

Maggie touched Mum's forearm.

" Go on with you now." Fiona Mulligan smiled. " I'll enjoy seeing Brady's expression when he meets his own cousin."

Brady approached them and took Nick's hand. " So you're the Desmond, then?"

" I'm Nick Desmond."

" And your da's given name, lad?" Brady listened intently, his keen eyes studying Nick as he waited.

Nick tensed. " John."

" Aye, son of Liam." Brady embraced Nick, obviously startling the man. " Welcome home, lad. Welcome home."

" Uh, thanks."

After much back pounding, Fiona nudged them all toward the dance floor again. She had the children busy filling their plates. " Off with you now. The music's startin'."

Mum had no shame, and Maggie knew better than to argue. Unfortunately, Mum knew that, too.

" Well, then." Maggie surrendered her beer and turned to face the most delicious-looking man she'd ever been forced to dance with. Aye, and isn't it a hardship?

Nick watched Mrs. O'Shea and Brady swing onto the dance floor like a couple half their age. Shaking himself, he looked at Maggie. " What did you say? Sorry."

" We'll have to dance, Nick," she said. " Either that or explain why not to my Mum, and I'm not that brave. Are you?"

Nick gripped her shoulder and turned her to face him. When she did, he gently clasped her upper arms. Maggie's breath froze. His touch was warm and gentle--his eyes dark and mesmerizing.

" You'll have to teach me the steps." He lifted a shoulder and released a sigh that eased through her.

She took him by the hand and led him into the crowd. Warmth stole through her as she met Bridget's knowing smile from where she stood near the entrance to the kitchen.

Maggie couldn't stop herself from wanting to touch Nick any more than she could prevent her next breath. A strange ache in her heart made her yearn for this man, and her body was none too shy about it either.

Maybe he had secrets. Maybe not. All she knew was that she wanted to know him better. Much better. She stopped to face him, feeling suddenly shameless and daring. Maybe even a little sexy.

Nick's teeth flashed as he smiled again.

She did love his smile.

" Where in America are you from, Nick?" she asked, needing to break the spell that had woven itself around them.

" New York." He lifted a shoulder. " Born and raised. I guess that's no secret."

But something is. Why was she so certain of that? More importantly, why did she want to spend time with him despite that certainty?

He held her hand in both of his now, sweeping his thumbs in circles across her knuckles. " There's something about you. I just had an overwhelming urge to...to..."

Aye, and didn't she understand what he meant by urges just now? It took Maggie a few heartbeats to recover from the shock of awareness that rippled through her at his touch. " Dance?" she finally whispered. Why couldn't she put two intelligent words together around this man?

" Right. Dance." He gazed toward the tall windows, open to the evening air.

An almost full moon cast a silver streak across the water. " 'Tis beautiful," she said, drawing a shaky breath as the music surrounded them, wrapping them in a cocoon of intimacy.

" Beautiful." He dropped his hands to her waist. " You're going to think I'm crazy, and I'm not so sure you'd be wrong."

Maggie bit her lower lip, baffled by the powerful pull she felt toward this man. " Tell me."

" There's something about you. It's like...I know you, but I don't."

Her breath caught in her throat. Blood pulsed hotly through her veins, as if a potent drug had overtaken her senses.

He took a step closer, lowering his face toward hers. His breath was warm against her, and the thrumming of her pulse grew stronger, louder, more demanding. A deep longing eased through her.

" Not now. Not here," she whispered, sensing he wanted to kiss her. And didn't she want that more than anything?

" Not here," he agreed, his expression intense. " Soon."

She nodded, for she could do nothing more as they began to dance. Aye. He would kiss her.

There was no force on earth powerful enough to stop this. To stop him.

To stop them.

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Photo of Mulligan Cottage by Peter Shortland
All Ireland Travel www.all-ireland.com.
Used with permission  in exchange for a  pint.... )