I’m featured an article on females in Steampunk fiction. Just click on the previous sentence to read the article.
Continuing on with character inspiration for The Steampunk Chronicles. When I saw Lily Cole in St. Trinians I knew she was my Emily. Can’t you just see her with dreads and goggles?
Finley Jayne knows she’s not ‘normal’. Normal girls don’t lose time, or have something inside them that makes them capable of remarkably violent things. Her behavior has already cost her one job, so when she’s offered the lofty position of companion to Phoebe, a debutante recently engaged to Lord Vincent, she accepts, despite having no experience. Lord Vincent is a man of science with his automatons and inventions, but Finley is suspicious of his motives where Phoebe is concerned. She will do anything to protect her new friend, but what she discovers is even more monstrous than anything she could have imagined…
An ebook exclusive prequel to The Steampunk Chronicles.
It’s happening this weekend!
Bent low over the gleaming steering bars of his velocycle as he sped through the rainy darkness of Hyde Park, Griffin King felt a faint ripple of warning in the Aether a split second before the girl ran right out in front of him. The rune tattoos he had to heighten his senses and abilities blazed with heat, calling out the danger just in time.
He swerved, jerking hard on the bars to avoid her, but it was too late. The glare of the headlamp slashed across her surprised face and then she was thrown through the air as he struggled to maintain control of the machine and failed. The notched wheels tore into the ground as the cycle tipped to the side, tossing him to the path before skidding to a halt several feet away.
The leather duster he wore protected him from being torn up by gravel as he slid and rolled on the rough ground. When he finally came to a stop, he lay sprawled on the wet grass just for a moment to catch his breath and spit out the dirt that had flown into his mouth.
“Is she alright?” He called out, as he gingerly rose to his feet, flicking mud and grass from his leather gloves. Nothing was broken, but he still felt as though he’d been slammed into a brick wall, and tomorrow he’d have bruises to match.
In the glow of the light from the second cycle – this one upright and braced on its support bar — he saw his friend, Sam Morgan, kneel over the prone body of the girl. From this angle all Griff could see around Sam’s large frame was a pair of long legs incased in tall, thick soled leather boots and orange and black striped stockings. Servant’s garb.
At eighteen, Griff was at an age when all he should be concerned with was ensuring his allowance lasted a full term at Oxford. His parent’s death had made him the Duke of Greythorne at age fifteen, subsequently making him all too familiar with what servants wore, since he’d recently had to hire new staff. There were some chores machines couldn’t do – or weren’t wanted to do — and those demanded a host of human employees, all of whom were designated by the uniforms they wore. Orange and black made her a ladies maid. Too exalted a position for this girl to be out alone at this time of night.
“Sam?” He questioned, favoring his left leg as he moved closer to the pair. “Is she alright?”
“Got a pulse,” his friend’s low, laconic voice came from beneath the dripping brim of his hat as Griff crouched beside him. “It’s steady, but she’s bleeding. So are you.”
Pulling his smudged goggles down so they hung around his neck, Griff glanced down. His blood, coming through the shredded left knee of his trousers, glistened bright red in the light. “I’ll be fine. I’m more concerned about her.”
“Did you see her face?” Sam demanded, taking a handkerchief from his jacket pocket. “She looked almost wild.”
Griff had seen her face – just before he hit her. There had been something wild in her features. Something fierce and beautiful as well.
“What was she running from?” Sam asked, as he pressed the linen against the wound on her forehead. It was bleeding heavily. “Or who?”
Griff glanced at the girl whose head was cradled in his friend’s large hand and saw the red mark on her rain-soaked cheek, the blood at her mouth. Injuries from the accident, or something much more intentional?
Regardless, until he was certain she was unharmed, she was his responsibility.
“We’ll take her with us,” he decided, lifting the limp body into his arms.
“You reckon that’s wise?” Sam, Griff knew, wasn’t being cold, he was being practical. They already had enough to worry about with the recent robbery at the British Museum, and tension within their own little group. Adding this girl and her troubles into the mix could only make things worse. Strangers were always an issue in his house. Always the fear of someone uncovering too much.
“We can’t leave her.” It was as simple as that. Although, they could take her to a hospital, but Griff’s honor wouldn’t allow that. Besides, something told him not to let this girl out of his sight, and he’d learned to trust his instincts. The times he hadn’t always ended badly.
Are Griffin’s instincts right or wrong? Will he regret his decision rescue the girl? Find out in THE GIRL IN THE STEEL CORSET — May 31st from Harlequin Teen!