But really, it wasn't all that long ago that I didn't even know what steampunk was and I think that's part of what fuels my continued disbelief....that and the fabulous company I've found myself in. Again. My antho sisters are awesome. Do I have great luck in author groups, or what? I love this anthology. It contains four stories guaranteed to steam up anyone's winter's night--in more ways than one!
And since both the anthology and my own story were such group efforts, I've decided to talk about all the stories here today, instead of just my own. So bear with me, this might get a little long (oh, like that would surprise anyone!)
I've written about all the stories on my own blog in the past few days as well. You might want to check that out, if you haven't already, since I've got a bit of a giveaway going on over there too. But since I don't want to repeat myself, what I'm going to do here is simply share a really short excerpt from each one. Oh, and yeah,before I forget, I'll also be lurking around Erin's group today 'cause she was nice enough to include the antho in her holiday giveaway. So, be sure and stop by there as well. Now, on to the stories...
First up is Stacy Gail's Crime Wave in a Corset. This story pretty much defines steampunk, in my opinion. It may also re-define holiday stories for me too. There are those who might think a holiday steampunk anthology is kind of "out there" as an idea, but that's just because they haven't read Crime Wave yet. I think it fits right in with any of Dickens' Christmas stories, for putting you in a mood of Christmas cheer.
"Feverish heat swept over her like a strange, invisible fire. Her bones melted with it until she thought she might be glowing. Her world rocked like her steam-powered dumbwaiter did when it blew a gasket, and it took her a moment to realize it was because her knees were on the verge of taking a holiday. Instinct had her wrapping her arms around his shoulders so she wouldn't fall in a heap, but it was another instinct that had her fingers spearing through the cool silk of his golden brown hair. This new instinct was so powerful it demolished her rule of keeping her distance. In that moment, distance was the one thing she didn't want.
What she wanted was Roderick.
"Cornelia." She felt her name more than heard it, the merest disturbance of breath that nevertheless raged with a desire so fierce it would crush anything in its path. For a sweet moment stolen from the stream of time, she wallowed in the possibility he might be as overwhelmed by this seductive retribution as she. How wonderful it would be to explore this sensual fire Roderick ignited in her. He was such a driven, passionate man, and he knew her as well as she knew herself. She would never have to hide what she was from him; he already knew her every dirty little secret.
And he hated her for it."
Next, is my own story, This Winter Heart. I'm not entirely sure where my conscious mind goes when I plot my stories, because I know I didn't set out to write a "secret baby" story, it just happened. I'm glad it did, however, because I fell in love these characters and, as it happens, that "baby" forms a large part of their story.
"It was not often she chose to tell her only child an outright lie, but in this case, what else could she do? Arthur would be more than a surprise to his father, he’d likely be an absolute shock. And, as Ophelia’s all-too-brief experience of the man had taught her, Dario Leonides did not respond well to shocks.
Influential, aristocratic, overly impulsive and completely impossible to reason with while in a temper, Dario could make it very difficult for her to enter the country if he chose, and if he had the chance to do so. Ophelia would very much rather he not get that chance.
She needed to speak with her husband in person. She needed to appeal to his better nature. She was sure he still had one, even if it had been years since he’d shown it to her. Most of all, she needed to win his cooperation. Even if she could no longer hope to win his love, at least he could give her that."
Jenny Schwartz' story, Wanted: One Scoundrel, left me wanting to go back to Australia, and not just because apparently those lucky Aussies get to celebrate Christmas in both the summer AND the winter. I love stories that transport me to another time and place--and this one definitely does that! I also love stories with handsome, intelligent and slightly mysterious heroes. Yum.
"Jed bit back a smile as he realised Miss Smith had pegged him as a con man, and far from disapproving, was offering him a better con, one with assured winnings. She wanted him to take up politics. He played along. "You said Captain Fellowes recommended me?"
He adjusted the cuff of one sleeve. "Miss Smith, what exactly did you ask your uncle for?"
A delightful pink carnation colour flushed her cheeks. "A scoundrel."
"A scoundrel." He laughed. "You would trust your political venture to a scoundrel?"
"I intend to supervise you."
Finally, we come to JK Coi's, Far From Broken, another story featuring an estranged couple trying to piece their marriage back together and one I'm pretty sure will break the heart of anyone who reads it--but in an awesomely good way. JK and I have been arguing a bit over whose story is the more heart-wrenching, but I think we'll have to let the readers decide...
"She didn't acknowledge him, but he watched a small shiver move through her and stifled a wince at her visible rejection. After a long moment, he realized he remained standing just inside the doorway like a dumbstruck idiot.
This wasn't the reunion he'd expected. He didn't know what he'd expected, but not this painful, absolute silence.
And there you have it. Both the anthology itself and all the individual stories can be found at Carina Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Books On Board, and probably a bunch more places as well. Enjoy!