As the fifth book in the London Steampunk series, I've been waiting a while to tell the story of Aramina Duvall, the icy Duchess of Casavian,and Leo Barrons, the illegitimate heir of the Duke of Caine.
Both characters appeared in Kiss of Steel, the first book in my London Steampunk series, as mortal enemies, their relationship growing over the course of the previous four books until they finally get their romantic showdown in Of Silk And Steam.
And it is epic! Picture a Romeo & Juliet type family feud, a battle of wits - and seduction - between an ice princess and the only man who dares to scale her walls, and all-out war as a group of roguish and determined revolutionaries take on the cruel Prince Consort.
When her beloved father was assassinated, Lady Aramina swore revenge. The man responsible is well beyond her grasp, but his dangerously seductive heir, Leo Barrons, is fair game. When Mina obtains evidence proving that Leo is illegitimate, she has the means to destroy both the killer and his son, a man who troubles her heart and tempts her body.
To celebrate the release, here's one of my favourite excerpts of Of Silk and Steam:
Barrons’ gaze softened, his face lowering. “If I recall, you owe me a kiss.”
“You owe me a note,” Mina shot back, her hands clutching the edge of the bath and her heart hammering.
“A kiss,” he repeated, “if I managed to get you out of there safely.” His face lowered toward hers, candlelight turning his skin a delicious golden hue. Thick lashes shadowed his eyes and a strand of hair fell over his forehead. “The note was for another payment indeed.”
Her whole body burned. The fist in her hair tightened, as if warning her that he had her at his mercy. “I’m already naked,” she replied flatly.
“But clothed in bubbles, my dear.” That smooth voice turned molten. “Bubbles and candlelight.”
The tension between them changed. She could feel it, thickening the air around her. The bastard was daring her, a little smile playing around his lips. Knowing that she did not want to pay her dues.
Mina’s heart pounded. “So be it.” She forced her whole body to relax, her fingers releasing their claw hold on the lip of the bath. “You’ve earned your kiss. I do hope it’s all you imagined.”
Reaching up she slid a hand through his hair, tearing it loose from its velvet thong. Palm flat against his scalp, she dragged his head down, tilting her lips to his.
They were softer than she’d expected, melting over her own and sucking her breath into his lungs. The intimacy of that thought burned between her thighs, a hollow, empty ache that seemed almost alive...waiting for something more. She brushed her mouth against his once. Twice. Licked at his tongue, then sucked it into her mouth as she slid both hands up to cup his cheeks.
Each sensation ignited something dangerous within her; the scrape of his stubble against her chin, the firm pressure on her hair as he held her locked in place... submitting to the mastery of his kiss. It shouldn’t have mattered. She shouldn’t have felt anything, but something inside her kindled to life at the way he pinned her down. A fever burned beneath her skin. It made her aware of just how large he was, how strong, how easily he held her down...
Want kindled in her. A fierce desire, not unlike the rush of need through her veins when her hunger rose. She wanted to drag him into the bath with her, to let him put hands and mouth to her body, to fill this unknown void within her. Dangerous things to think, to feel, for she shouldn’t be feeling anything at all.
Mina broke the kiss with a gasp.
Barrons’ chest rose and fell, his eyes heavy-lidded. His fist in her hair kept her there as they stared at each other, and then those devastating lips curled in a slow, entirely too-pleased smile.
“Was the payment to your satisfaction, my lord?”
“Worth the risk of life and limb?” His gaze dropped to her mouth, dark eyes blistering in their intensity. “Yes.” His voice roughened. “Worth dying for.”
“No kiss is worth dying for.”
“Then you’ve never had the right kind of kiss.”
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Hope you enjoyed my little excerpt!