The Shamrock & the Rose
kind of a lover his
virgin bride would be. She had been so responsive to his kisses
that he was certain he would not be disappointed—and he was not.
Her passionate response was driving him mad.
    He had an overwhelming need to plunge into
her warm, willing flesh, but Morgan also knew he must slow his
ardor until she was ready or all she would remember was the pain of
their first joining. So while his mouth moved to her other breast
to once again feast on her sweet flesh, he stroked her inner thigh
with his hand, moving slowly in circles toward the bud that would
call forth her initial pleasure.
    Returning his lips to her mouth for another
kiss, his fingers tested her readiness. He heard a small gasp, and
to reassure her he whispered, “This will bring you pleasure, my
love, as I prepare you to receive me.”
    He had barely touched the sensitive nub when
she began to move her hips against his hand. After a few slow
strokes, her breath came in pants and she moved against his
    “Now, my love, let me show you,” he said. “A
brief moment of pain and then pleasure.”
    Rising above her, he settled his hot, hard
member against the tight entrance to her woman’s passage. Slowly,
he entered her. Slowly, slowly… Then, unable to hold back any
longer, he plunged into her and past the barrier.
    She stilled and tensed, and regretting the
pain he said, “Try and relax and all will be well.”
    He kissed her then, to draw forth the
honeyed cream. It took but a moment. He thrust again until he was
deeply lodged within her, and now he could not retain the
stillness. His passion demanded he move, and he did. So did she. In
no time she lifted her hips to meet his thrusts, and they moved
together, finding a rhythm that flooded him with pleasure as he
felt the tension build. Her release, when it came, struck deep in
his soul. Their sweat-soaked flesh melded together as his seed
flooded her passage.
    Still joined, he kissed her damp forehead,
brows and temples. “I love you,” he whispered.
    Her sweet face was surrounded by tousled
blonde hair lying in wild disarray on the pillow. Rose petals stuck
to her skin in places, reminding him that she was his but also an
Englishwoman, his Rose. They would have their difficulties, he
knew, times when his heritage might plunge her into conflict with
all she held dear, times when his family would be so at odds with
the English she would feel their disdain. But together they would
overcome. He knew that as surely as he knew Ireland would one day
be free of British rule.
    She opened her eyes at his words, and the
green of a spring meadow looked back at him. A small smile crossed
her face.
    “Morgan,” she said softly. “Is it always
like this? So…magical? Well, I mean, except for the pain.”
    “No, not always,” he admitted. Then he gave
her the smile that she had drawn from his soul and promised, “But
with you, my fair Portia, I believe it always shall. There will
always be this passion between us. And, like mercy, it ‘blesseth
him that gives and him that takes.’ And as Portia’s lover says,
‘Madam, you have bereft me of all words. Only my blood speaks to
you in my veins.’”
    And so it did. 

    The issue of emancipation for Catholics
consumed England for many decades, beginning in the 18th century
and continuing until the Catholic Emancipation Act in 1829. Prior
to that, Catholics could not, among other things, attend Cambridge
or Oxford, or hold public office or serve in Parliament.
Ironically, the Prince Regent opposed Catholic Emancipation even
though he married (illegally) Maria Fitzherbert, a twice-widowed
Roman Catholic who was arguably the love of his life. He did not,
however, veto the new law in 1829, pressed by the Whigs and opposed
by the Tories.
    Daniel O’Connell, who in the 1810s and 1820s
was one of the leading barristers in Ireland, did indeed lead the
campaign for emancipation and thus won the title “The Liberator.”
He stood for

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