by Heather Massey
Book #1 in the Clockpunk Trilogy
ebook, 100 pages
Red Sage Publishing, Incorporated July 1st 2012
ARC provided by author for honest review
Amazon - B&N
The year is 1840. On the run after being caught in a scandalous incident, scullery maid Sarah Bailey must find refuge before her vengeful former mistress has her killed. When she stumbles upon a blacksmith’s shop in need of an apprentice in West Boylston, Massachusetts, she applies for the position. Viktor is a brawny, reclusive blacksmith who creates strange clockwork and steam-powered devices. The gruff man makes it clear that Sarah’s plight is no concern of his, but ghosts from his past dictate otherwise. Viktor agrees to protect the spunky maid, but only until her trail of henchmen runs cold. Sarah quickly discovers that the fire of this blacksmith’s forge runs volcanic hot. Unable to resist one another, she and Viktor begin a lust-filled affair. But how long will their idyllic arrangement last before Sarah’s former mistress destroys it? Reader Alert! Before reading, make sure you have enough protection—fire protection, that is! The heat running through the blood of this blacksmith is volcanic hot! Sarah and Viktor are the very definition of lusty, primal sex!
Scullery maid Sarah Bailey is on the run from her employer after being caught with her mistress' husband in a situation not of her creation. She knows she's going to be hunted and is desperate for shelter when she comes upon a blacksmith's shop needing an apprentice. Viktor is reluctant to take her in but eventually relents and they begin an amiable existence together. He also has some strange inventions in his workshop but Sarah ignores her curiosity.
The problem I generally have with short stories is that there isn't enough time to properly develop characters or relationships without feeling you missed something. Oddly enough, this story was able to create both in the space of about 80 pages.
Sarah has an immediate attraction to Viktor who keeps her at arm's length for weeks. She admires him from the emotional distance he creates, helping him in the forge as well as the household. When they eventually give in to their attraction, it unfolded pretty naturally. There was something very sensual about the romance of these two even though they are not in the mold of the typical hero/heroine. He's pretty uncommunicative and distant and she's a little too forward.
There's also a bit of excitement as Viktor and Sarah are confronted by her vengeful employer with an incredible showdown that caught me by surprise. Viktor's inventions come into play in a big way and somehow stay on the correct edge of credibility.
This story is a little gem that has its quirks but kept my interest from start to end. I got the characters, believed in their relationship and found it had lots of the erotic elements. This wouldn't have been something I would normally have chosen and I really enjoyed it.