(Yes, that's a clockwork pun!)
I've been blogging all week all over the place about my new release, Steam & Sorcery. Today, I'm just going to leave you a never-before-seen excerpt, a peek at Caroline, the heroine of S&S. To see more of Merrick and Caroline’s adventures, I’d love for you to stop by the Carina Press website and check out Steam & Sorcery. To celebrate the new release, I’m running a contest. Comment on any (or all) of the blogs I visit on my blog tour this week. One entry per person, per blog stop. You can visit my blog to find the other stops. After the final stops on Sunday, March 13, I’ll draw one winner for a free download of Steam & Sorcery, or their choice of my other available titles. Happy Reading!
Steam & Sorcery
Gaslight Chronicles #1
By Cindy Spencer Pape
Sir Merrick Hadrian hunts monsters, both human and supernatural. A Knight of the Order of the Round Table, his use of magick and the technologies of steam power have made him both respected and feared. But his considerable skills are useless in the face of his greatest challenge, guardianship of five unusual children. At a loss, Merrick enlists the aid of a governess.
Miss Caroline Bristol is reluctant to work for a bachelor but she needs a position, and these former street children touch her heart. While she tends to break any mechanical device she touches, it never occurs to her that she might be something more than human. All she knows is that Merrick is the most dangerously attractive man she’s ever met—and out of reach for a mere governess.
When conspiracy threatens to blur the distinction between humans and monsters, Caroline and Merrick must join forces, and the fate of humanity hinges upon their combined skills of steam and sorcery…
“Now I’ve got you, girl.”
The voice whispered gleefully at the same moment as a large hand clamped down on Caroline’s left breast. The voice was that of her employer, Mr. Willis Wemberly. At the same instant her brain registered that fact, her body reacted of its own accord. Her booted foot stomped down on the arch of his dress pump-covered extremity, while her elbow slammed back into his solar plexus, causing him to expel his breath in a loud whoosh. Before she could get herself under control, she’d spun on her heel, dislodging the offending hand and smashing her fist into his reddened, bulbous nose. Blood spurted, crimson and viscous, over the starched white linen of Caroline’s shirtwaist and an angry bellow assaulted her ears.
Caroline backed away from her employer, upsetting a Chinese porcelain urn as her derriere impacted the hall table. The crash of shattering china echoed in the wide foyer of the Wemberly’s fashionable townhouse, followed immediately by the clatter of footsteps running from several directions.
Damn and blast, there was no way out of this one. She’d be lucky if she was simply turned off, and not handed over to the constables. Thank heavens she’d thought to take precautions this time.
“Mr. Wemberly, whatever has happened?” Mrs. Wemberly’s shrill tones grated like lemon juice on a wound against Caroline’s senses. The lady of the house hurried to her husband, as quickly as her too-tight dancing shoes and even tighter corset would allow, while the butler and housekeeper hustled in with a mechanical whisk broom and some damp towels. The broom mechanism creaked and groaned as Mrs. Dennis, the housekeeper, used it to sweep up the broken porcelain.
His hand clasped over his abused proboscis, Mr. Wemberly pointed at Caroline. “That…that…” Of course with his swollen beak, it came out more like “Dad…dad…” making Caroline work to suppress an utterly inappropriate grin. His last word, however, came out quite clearly, and wiped any trace of a smile from Caroline’s countenance. “Hussy!”
Caroline bristled, though she should have expected him to blame her. They always did. Never mind that she’d never once given any of her employers the least bit of encouragement in a romantic direction.
“It seems Mr. Wemberly has slipped and fallen into the console table,” Caroline said evenly. “I’m sure he isn’t seriously injured.”
“Miss Bristol!” Mrs. Wemberly quivered in outrage as her husband roared his denial. “Do you care to explain this utterly unacceptable behavior?”
Caroline sighed and shook her head. “Not at all. My conscience is completely clear. It is certainly no fault of mine that Mr. Wemberly has consumed far too much brandy and fancies himself irresistible. I shall pack my things and be gone at once.”