About The Author:
Joy of Life is the debut novel of Emily T. Withrow, a graduate of Western Washington University with a B.A. in Psychology and a Minor in History. Emily lives in the Seattle area, and is currently preparing several writing projects for publication. She credits music (especially that of Queen, Jessica Weiser, and Tara MacLean), her Irish family, and several of her history instructors in her school years as the greatest influences on her writing.
|Publisher:||Infinity Publishing PA|
Read an Excerpt
Arun Lohan had blue eyes. That was the first aspect of him Lily noticed. In their neighbourhood, his accent was commonplace. She had seen more handsome faces with chiseled features than she cared to remember. There was something special in his cornflower blue eyes. They shone with an innocence, uncommon in a man over the age of twenty, that intrigued her.
She hired him on the promise that he would work as hard as she needed him to. After three weeks he had yet to fail her. He did anything she requested without complaint and had to be reminded to take his noon meal break. He was the ideal employee. If only his smile was not so sweet and true, she might be tempted not to think of him so often.
"Arun, Faith will be back from the pub in a few minutes. Would you like to join me for a sandwich and a pint at Connollys'?" she invited. Lily was petite and sublimely beautiful, with subtly wavy black hair, olive skin, and solemn brown eyes. "It's Jack's uncles' pub and they're a great lot. I've noticed that you aren't out much."
"I have my reasons, ma'am," he responded politely. "I'm beginning to feel a bit hungry, though."
"That ailment will be easily remedied. No one leaves Uncle Phelim's until they've eaten their fill. Maybe I can even get you to start talking about yourself."
"Only if you tell me about you," he smiled.
"That's only fair," she grinned.
The door to the shop flew open.
"I have returned. You may eat now, Lily," Faith announced. She was slender and pretty, a few inches taller than Lily, with hair a few shades lighter and bright blue-grey eyes.
"It's nice to know I have your permission, dearest," Lily smiled. "I'm taking Arun to Connollys' to meet the boys."
"It's quiet now, a good time to meet Phelim and Seamus. You'll have to go back some night. Lily and I get to fiddlin', Tara, Neil, and Uncle Phelim keep the beat going. The place goes positively mad!" Faith enthused. "Do you play anything, Arun?"
"Just about anything to be honest, ma'am," he admitted.
"Then you should blow even the regulars out of their chairs," Faith grinned.
"I don't believe I'm that gifted."
"You're probably just being modest. It's very cute on you, though," Faith commented. He blushed. Lily grabbed his arm.
"We'll be back in an hour," she began dragging him toward the door.
"Relax, Lilith!" Faith laughed. Her cousin turned just enough for Faith to catch her glare.
"She loves to get people to react. The handsome, mysterious types are her favourite targets," Lily informed.
"I don't mind it all that much," he did not want her to concern herself with a petty embarrassment.
"All right. You promised you would tell me about yourself if I told you about myself. I'm the youngest child of Amy Jo and Dr. Kenneth Winslet, of Bitter Creek, Maryland. My brother, Tynan, is around your age. He's married and has a six-year-old daughter, Ariel. Or perhaps she's seven already. I left home for New York when I was fifteen. My mother died five years later, the same year I bought the shop. Oh yes, and as you heard, my proper name is Lilith, but I prefer Lily," she finally let go of his arm. "Now you must divulge the facts about yourself."
"Thirty-one years of age, from Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland. Parents, Anna and John Lohan and a sixteen-year-old younger sister, Adia. She's the reason I came here. We were poor. Adia left for America right after her thirteenth birthday. Our father died that winter. My mother wanted me to come here to find Adia. I stayed and worked our tiny plot of land though. She died sixteen years, to the day, after she blessed the world with my baby sister. I'm here to find my Adie, but I don't know where to start."
"That's where friends become important," she replied, pushing open the door to Connollys' pub. "These lovely people were the ones who got me on my feet and showed me the importance of having people to rely on when things get tough."
"Lily! How is my baby girl this fine afternoon?" a tallish ruggedly handsome man with long reddish blonde hair, worn tied back, and a slightly unkempt goatee, swept Lily off her feet.
"I'm grand, Uncle Seamus," she laughed. "Let me down, sweetie. I want you to meet my friend Arun Lohan."
"The elusive new arrival from the old country," Seamus Connolly let Lily go to shake her friend's hand. "Good to finally meet you, young man. My nephew and niece told us you were working at the store. Good to know Lily finally got you to come over. We're all a big family here. Jackie! Come out here! Lily brought us a new recruit."
Jack Delaney peered around the frame of the kitchen door.
"Arun, me boy! Our Lily finally broke you down," he emerged to greet his wife's coworker. He was a slender man of average height with short, dark hair and an impishly handsome face. "There aren't many of us here right now, but I'll introduce you to the few we have. You already met Uncle Seamus, my Mammy's baby brother. The old man behind the bar is her other brother, my Uncle Phelim. The pretty little dark haired lass wiping the tables is Seamus' wife Maxine. These lovely people are two of our best customers, and the finest tippers, bodhr�n tippers, that is, I've ever known," Jack led them to the only occupied table in the pub. "Tara and Neil Kendall, Arun Lohan."
"The girls are right. You are a handsome one," Tara smiled, fixing her large blue eyes on him. "My husband and I make up what Uncle Seamus calls the 'two point bodhr�n threat'."
"So skilled with the tipper they're deadly," Seamus interjected.
"Thank you, Uncle Seamus. Frighten him why don't ya," Neil laughed.