Please welcome debut and fellow Casablanca author Bec McMaster, celebrating the release of her new steampunk romance: Kiss of Steel!
Today’s the day that all my dreams come true. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was child, but it was only in recent years that I decided that this dream wasn’t as elusive as I thought it was. For years I’ve imagined seeing my book on the shelves of my favourite romance bookstore. Or reading reviews of it in RT Book Reviews. And now it’s all coming true:
“Kiss of Steel is an enthralling debut with rich steampunk and vampire elements and a leading man as wicked as he is irresistible. McMaster has crafted a hero and heroine who are intellectual and emotional equals; their love affair is heart-wrenching, redemptive and stirringly passionate. Expertly rounded out by pulse-pounding adventure, dastardly villains and complex adventure, this is a series opener to be savoured.” – 4 ½ stars, RT Book Reviews
I am so thrilled to announce the release of Kiss of Steel, Book 1 in my London Steampunk series. It’s an adventure-fuelled romp through the gas-lit streets of the Whitechapel rookeries, featuring a diamond-in-the-rough hero and a heroine on the run from a desperate duke.
Dreams can be dangerous things. Take my hero Blade, for example. Stricken with a virus that makes him crave blood, all he wants is to forget his horrific past and forge a new future with the ‘family’ he’s gathered around him. He’s never dared to dream of love and when he summons the heroine, Honoria, to his lair, all he’s thinking about is revenge. The Duke of Vickers – the same man who infected Blade with the craving virus – has put a price on her head and Blade plans to use her to lure Vickers out. The instant he sees her however, the thought of Vickers putting his pasty hands on her makes him feel insanely protective.
Whilst writing this book, Blade taught me a lot about chasing my dreams. He’s the type of man who, once he knows what he wants, goes after it mercilessly. Nothing is going to stand in the way of his pursuit of Honoria. Not even Vickers, automaton armies or the monster stalking the rookeries… Of course, convincing Honoria of that fact might be more difficult than all of the above.
Honoria can’t afford to dream, even if her practical self admitted that there was any point to it. She has her own secrets after all – secrets that Vickers would kill to get his hands on – and she’s not prepared to give them up to a man the world knows as the Devil of Whitechapel. Blade has his work cut out for him. Luckily for him, he’s more than man enough to do it…
EXCERPT from KISS OF STEEL
After losing her employment, my heroine Honoria is on the verge of defeat. The only one she can turn to is Blade, but at what price? And by hunting him down in the deadly fighting Pits, has she put herself directly under the nose of Vicker’s cousin Colchester, who was in attendance?
The door opened. Honoria stiffened as Blade stalked in.
The fury on his face had died, replaced by that cool look of nonchalance he often wore. He snapped his fingers and Lark and Tin Man looked up.
“Out,” he said, including his lieutenant Will in the general sweep of his gaze. “Lark, you’re fit for bed and I want you two on the rooftops. The fog’s thick enough to walk on tonight. I don’t think I were followed, but you never know. Can’t smell ‘em comin’, those bastards.”
Will shouldered to his feet. “I tried to tell her not to go.”
“Aye. I don’t ‘old you accountable. Can’t argue with the Devil.”
They left the room without another word, or so much as a glance in her direction. Just her and him. Alone now.
Blade prowled towards the fireplace, resting a hand against the mantle. The light gleamed in a burnished sheen over his face and front, casting subtle shadows over his body. Tight, black leather pants moulded faithfully over his thighs and the flamboyant red waistcoat was made of touchable velvet. A pocket watch dangled from his well-cut black coat, the cuffs made of the same red velvet. Grey military style frogging held his lapels open and inches of black silk adorned his throat in an intricate cravat. Though his ensemble bore some similarity to the subdued wardrobe of the masses, he couldn’t resist the exotic touches.
Composed now, the only sign of his mood was in his dishevelled dirty-blonde hair.
“I didn’t realize you were meeting with the Echelon tonight.” She couldn’t believe her half-brother Leo had been there. With Vickers’s cousin Colchester. He knew what a slimy cretin Colchester was, forever trying to emulate Vickers.
Blade crossed his arms over his chest. “Didn’t think you’d want to see me tonight. Ain’t your night for it.”
“I…I…” And the words died on her tongue as she stared at him. A flush of heat crept up her cheeks and she dropped her gaze.
“Honor?” His tongue curled around the word, sending a shiver over her skin. He took a step toward her. “Why did you come ‘ere tonight?”
“Do you have anything to drink?”
“Whiskey? Rum? Gin?”
“Do you have any brandy?”
Blade crossed silently to the liquor cabinet. Honoria’s knees trembled, so she sat down again, clasping her hands together. The splash of liquid gurgled and then he screwed the thin metal lid back on the flask. “’Ere. Drink it slow like. She’ll curl your toes.”
She accepted the glass. For a moment, their fingers touched and he refused to let it go. Their eyes met. She couldn’t tell what he was thinking. His skin was cool, absorbing the feverish heat of her own body. What would it be like to have his hands on her? Those cool, callused hands that moved with such nimble grace. She’d rarely been touched by a man. Only Vickers, and his touch had only ever left her nauseous.
Blade’s skin was cool too, yet when he touched her she burned.
“Thank you,” she whispered and dropped her gaze.
He let go. Stepped back. “Ere,” he said, tugging a small package out of a drawer. “I bought you this.”
Honoria’s gaze narrowed on the small, paper-wrapped package. “What is it?”
She took it, though she shouldn’t have. “You’re not supposed to buy me things.”
An ember of something hot flared in his eyes. “Are you goin’ to open it?
She tore the packaging apart. A pair of dark brown kid gloves tumbled into her lap, the leather so fine and luscious that it had to have cost him a small fortune. A little sinking feeling curled through her stomach. “Oh.” She shook her head. “I can’t. You cannot buy personal items for a lady.”
“Who’s to know?” His green eyes challenged her.
“I would know.” And that made all the difference. He must have seen how worn her last pair was. The act was extremely considerate. She almost felt like crying. “I can’t accept these.” Especially not with the proposal she had come to put to him. She put them aside reluctantly.
A flat look came over his expression. “Why are you ‘ere?”
The brandy burned all the way down. But it warmed her from within too. She was suddenly shivering, but not from the cold. “How much?”
The words were barely audible. But Blade froze as though she’d shouted at him. “How much what?”
“How much will you give me? For my blood?”
I hope you enjoyed the excerpt! To learn more about the London Steampunk series, visit my website at www.becmcmaster.com.
We’re giving away 2 copies of Kiss of Steel to 2 lucky commenters, so tell me, what do you dream of? Is it a hunky hero of your own or something else?
Thanks to Bec for joining us today! As she mentioned above, we have 2 copies of her debut novel to giveaway—leave a comment answering Bec’s question. US and Canada only, please leave an email address. Winners will be chosen on Tuesday, September 11. Good Luck!
KISS OF STEEL BY BEC MCMASTER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012
A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London...
When Nowhere is Safe
Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?
Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.
When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.
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. For more information, please visit http://www.becmcmaster.com/ or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.