Wild Chance (Wilder Irish #13) - Mari Carr Page 0,2

“Mia never asked you to grieve for her forever. In fact, I recall that lovely woman asking you for the opposite.”

“It’s not that easy, Pop Pop.”

“I never said it was. But…it’s also not impossible, something I think you already know. And that’s what’s causing the guilt you’re feeling.”

Padraig took a deep breath but remained silent.

Patrick waited him out, forcing his grandson to face something he’d been fighting like the devil to ignore, to deny.

No…not something.


While Padraig might still be closing his eyes to the truth, Patrick could see it crystal clear.

Padraig took another sip of his pint as he glanced out the window. “Okay,” he said at last. “Okay. You’re right. I need to move on. And I will. Soon. I just…I’m not sure…”

“Paddy. You can do this.”

Padraig didn’t look wholly convinced, something Patrick could understand and appreciate. The pain of losing Sunday had gutted Patrick, but he’d been older. He’d had many, many wonderful years with his wife, and they’d created a beautiful family together. He’d had his children—and then grandchildren—to sustain him, to fill his life with joy and love.

Padraig was still a young man, one with a lot of love to give to another woman and—God willing—to children of his own. In the years since Mia’s passing, he’d thrown himself into work, pretending that the job was enough. However, since the fire, Padraig didn’t even have the pub to get him through each day, so the shadows caused by his depression came more frequently, lasted longer, were darker.

“Sometimes I feel guilty,” Padraig confessed. “Guilty that I’m still here, still alive, when Mia’s gone. What right do I have to move on when she doesn’t have that option?”

“No. You’re looking at this the wrong way. You owe it to Mia to live your life to the fullest. To do otherwise is disrespectful to her memory. She didn’t want you to stop when she did. You know that because she said it to you. Over and over.”

“I know.” Padraig ran a hand through his hair, frustration rife in his eyes. “I know she did. But it doesn’t make this any easier.”

“I never said it would be easy. But you can do this. I believe that with all my heart.”

Padraig sighed sadly, but Patrick could tell he was thinking about what he’d said. The seed had been planted. With any luck, it would take root and his grandson would reach out for his second chance at happiness.

Because Patrick didn’t doubt for a moment, it was there.

She was there.

All Padraig had to do was open his eyes and his heart and see her.

Patrick smiled and placed his hand on top of Padraig’s. “Be brave, my young warrior.”


Emmy lay on her couch, staring at the blinking Christmas lights as her kitty, Luna, nestled next to her. Her other cat, Neville, was asleep at her feet, purring loudly. It was her third Christmas Eve alone, something that never got any easier. She was a people person by nature with more than her fair share of FOMO, so spending any holiday alone sucked.

She’d called her brother, Sam, earlier in the day. He was in year two of a five-year stint in prison, incarcerated for selling drugs. The five-minute phone call was predictably awkward as she attempted to find cheerful, uplifting things to say. Things that were met with Sam’s usual reply—either silence or the occasional grunt that let her know the phone call hadn’t been disconnected.

After that, she’d treated herself to steak and French fries, as well as an entire bottle of Chardonnay, unconventional holiday fare but her favorite dinner. She’d hoped the wine would allow her to simply pass out until Christmas Day, when—thank God—she actually had plans that included socializing with fun people.

Her best friend, Padraig, had invited her to spend the day with his family tomorrow, a gift of immeasurable value as far as she was concerned. She’d been invited the previous year, and the memory of that day never failed to bring a smile to her face. The Collins clan did the holidays right, and it saved her from reliving that first Christmas alone for a second time.

Her mother had passed away when Emmy was twenty-three, then her father had suffered a massive heart attack just before Thanksgiving three years earlier and her brother had been MIA at the time. She’d spent that entire Christmas alone, looking at old family photos and crying into her wine.

She’d vowed she was never going to let herself drift back to that dark place