Excerpt & Giveaway: Burying the Living by Jodi McIsaac
Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.
When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. Here she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.
On Monday morning Nora walked to school with a couple of friends. She tried to nod and laugh in all the right places as they nattered on, but her mind was fixated on the bags of cocaine stuffed deep into her rucksack. She’d decided there was no point in dumping it, not when she could still make a fair sale of it. Then her family wouldn’t have to wait to leave town. She’d sent a message to Ernie Farrell, saying she’d sell him the lot at half price. He’d been Robbie Grady’s only competition in this part of town. There was no way he would say no. Then it would be out of her hands.
At the lunch break she waited in the stacks at the library, just as she’d promised to do in her message. The Irish-history section, which was always empty. She read the titles with interest while she waited. Her school, like many others, preferred to focus on European and world history. Irish history was too controversial, to close to home. But Eamon’s love for it had rubbed off. He was always throwing obscure bits of history into their conversations or telling her about great battles and chieftains who’d lived hundreds of years ago. She’d soaked it all in—a sparkling vision of Ireland that was a sharp contrast to her own bleak reality.
Nora waited the entire lunch hour, but Ernie never came. Had he even been to school that day? She hadn’t seen him. Maybe he was sick. Maybe he’d chickened out after hearing about Robbie.
She left the library and headed back to class. She was late enough that the hallways were empty. Then she heard heavy footsteps behind her. She glanced back and stopped dead in her tracks. Paddy Sullivan was standing in the hallway, grinning at her.
“Hiya, Nora,” he said.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
“Ach, don’t be like that, Nora. We’ve some more questions for you.” He jerked his head toward the front door.
“I’ve answered your questions,” she said, clutching her rucksack close to her stomach. “Youse said you’d leave me alone.”
“Things change. C’mon. Let’s go.”
“I’ve got to get to class. I’m late.”
“We’re on the way to see your brother. Don’t you want to come?”
Nausea swept through her. He was bluffing, sure he was. But what if he means it? “I told youse to leave Eamon out of this! What do youse want him for?”
“Ernie never showed up to your little meeting, did he?”
Nora felt faint. “I just…wanted to talk to him.”
“Uh-huh. Seems you didn’t take our warnings seriously. Now come on. We don’t want to make a scene here in the school, do we?”
Nora felt as though her legs were embedded in the ground. All she could do was stare at Paddy, unable to move, while the world spun around her. She had to ditch the bag, somewhere, somehow.
“I…I just have to…I have to use the bogs first,” she stammered.
“I’m sure you can hold it,” he said. His hand clamped on to her arm, and he marched her out of the side door, where a car was waiting. She shifted her rucksack to one hand and prepared to drop it in the bushes, but he grabbed it.
“For a petty criminal, you’re pretty daft, Nora.”
“Wait, please, you don’t understand— ”
“You’ve got balls, I’ll give you that. Thought you’d just pick up where Robbie left off?”
“No! I was just trying to get rid of it, I swear.” Nora tried to wrestle herself from Paddy’s grip, panic building in her like a smoking volcano. “Don’t take me to Mick. You can have the coke—it’s worth a lot of money.”
“Mick’s interested in something far more useful to him than coke,” Paddy answered as he stuffed her into the back of the car. He got in the front seat, then turned around. “I think he’ll be wanting to make a deal.”
Nora drew back against the upholstered seat, horror spreading across her face. “He’ll not…be wanting…”
Paddy grinned again. “To pimp you out? Is that what you’re afraid of? You’re an attractive girl, Nora, but Mick’s not like that. He’s a decent lad.”
“You’ll find out.”
Already an accomplished writer, Jodi McIsaac is the author of several novels, including A Cure for Madness and the Thin Veil Series. She grew up in New Brunswick, and after abandoning her Olympic speed skating dream, she wrote speeches for a politician, earned a graduate degree in global studies, spent a few years as a fundraising and marketing executive with non-profit organizations in Toronto and Vancouver, which then morphed into her own copywriting business.
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