Please give Bec McMaster a warm welcome to the virtual offices! Bec has taken over the dashboard with a guest post and a giveaway! Check out what she has to say!!
Guest Post by Bec McMaster, Author of Heart of Iron
In the dark world of my steampunk London, the blue bloods of the Echelon rule the city with an iron grip, forcing their strict blood taxes on the nation and holding power with their army of metal automatons. Only a select group of humans – calling themselves Humanists – dare to defy them.
In Heart of Iron, the second book in my London Steampunk series, flirtatious debutante Lena Todd is just starting to realise that the glittering ballrooms she dreamed of as a youth are not as safe as the reality. Desperate to make some sort of difference in her world, she finds herself lured into the heart of a dangerous plot against the aristocracy.
Only one man can help her. Will Carver, the notorious Beast of Whitechapel, a verwulfen warrior who guards her brother-in-law, Blade, in the rookeries. He’s the only man she can’t twist around her little finger, and the one man she wants above all others.
One of my favourite scenes is the moment when Will realises that Lena is involved in the Humanist movement threatening London’s vicious blue blood elite. No matter how much he’s afraid to be near her, he can’t deny the protective instinct of a verwulfen male when something he cares for is threatened:
“You dropped somewhat.”
Lena froze in the doorway. Her hand went immediately to her sleeve and then she spun around, her eyes widening. “Give it to me!”
Will stood, breaking the seal and unrolling the small furl of paper. He caught just a glimpse of thick black letters before Lena tried to tug it out of his grip.
“A love letter, I’ll bet.” He turned around and pretended to read it.
A whoosh of scent enveloped him, her skirts swishing against his legs. She clutched at his shoulder, trying to drag his arm lower, her breasts crushed against the broad expanse of his back. Any attempt at reading went straight out of his head.
“What would you know of love letters?” She climbed on the stool and reached for the piece of paper. The step put her on eye level with him. Dangerously intimate. “The type of woman as would have you isn’t the type to be writing poems.”
“Don’t be so sure,” he shot back. “You’d be surprised at the type of poems they whisper in me ear.”
“Urgh. You’re despicable.”
The stool teetered and their gazes clashed. Lena shrieked and clutched at him as she fell. Will found himself with an armful of soft velvet and warm flesh, and the sound of two racing hearts.
The world slowed down. Became nothing more than the feel of her in his arms. Will stared into her eyes, then his gaze dropped, unbidden, to her lips.
Lena’s eyes widened and she made a choking noise. “Put me down.”
He could barely breathe. The hunger inside him was suddenly choking him, desperate to get out and rule his body. He knew the burning amber of his gaze was intensifying; he could almost feel the molten heat of it run through his irises as the colour changed.
“Will,” she whispered. “Your eyes.”
Her breath was warm on his lips. She’d been chewing something with apple and cinnamon in it. He could scent it on her breath and suddenly he wanted to taste it.
Shoving her away, he turned, the paper crumpling in his fist. Had to get out of here. Away from the scent of her. Away from the temptation to do something she’d never forgive him for.
Maybe Blade and Honoria were right. Maybe he couldn’t be trusted?
“Will,” she whispered. “You’re shaking.”
He looked down at his hands. The tremble started there, swept all the way through him. “You were right,” he said hoarsely. “Maybe I did exert meself.”
“Perhaps I’d best go?”
It seemed some sense of self-preservation had come over her.
He nodded, struggling to hold onto himself. What the hell was wrong with him? What did it matter if she’d found… someone? Instantly the anger was back, thick and choking, a red haze threatening his vision.
“You shouldn’t have come. This ain’t your world now.” The words were harsh and he’d meant them to be.
Silence. “I know. I thought you wouldn’t be here. You’re never here at midday.”
Which was why she only visited at those times.
“Then why don’t you go?”
Soft footsteps shuffled behind him. Her skirts brushed against his legs and then her hand slid down his arm, closing over the letter in his grip. A letter she was so desperate to regain.
There was only one reason she wouldn’t want him to see it.
Suddenly he couldn’t stop himself. He had to know, even if the answer was one he wouldn’t particularly like. Lena cried out, fighting him for it.
It tore in half and both of them staggered apart, left with a piece each. Will unrolled it, his gaze darting over the piece of paper. Not letters. Not writing. His gaze sharpened. He’d seen this before. The same bloody cipher he’d found on the men who’d fired the draining factories.
Lena gave a strangled cry and darted for the door. Will grabbed her skirts almost as an aside, shock running its icy fingers down his spine. “Don’t think you’re goin’ anywhere. Not until you tell me where the bloody hell you found this!”
“I picked it up,” she lied, the bitter smell of it all over her.
Will grabbed her by the shoulder and spun her towards the stool she’d almost toppled. “Sit,” he growled, shoving her into the seat. “And explain. And if I were you, I wouldn’t dare tell me another lie.”
© Bec McMaster, 2013
For a sneak peek at the London Steampunk world, I’m offering an e-novella called Tarnished Knight (set after Kiss of Steel and before Heart of Iron) for free download for the month of May. See here for details.
Ready for a chance to win the first book in Bec McMaster’s London Steampunk series? Just fill out the widget below for your chance to win Kiss of Steel! US addresses only, please.
HEART OF IRON BY BEC MCMASTER – IN STORES MAY 2013
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. The third book in the London Steampunk series, My Lady Quicksilver will be in stores in October 2013. Read more about her at www.becmcmaster.com or follow her on Twitter @BecMcMaster.
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