Clara Allen needs a husband in order to keep a roof over the heads of her assorted dependents, a roof her nasty grandfather will re-appropriate unless she is married by her 21st birthday, only a few days away. Strong-minded, unwilling to take orders from any man, she decides to solve her problem by raising a murdered prisoner from the dead and marrying him. She expects an empty-headed puppet; she certainly never dreams he’ll be so devastatingly handsome.
Liam McMahon doesn’t recall much about his life before his hanging in the prison yard, other than being Irish. He does remember the kiss Clara bestowed as she brought him back to life. Every time he looks at her, his desire gets out of hand. But his former life is chasing him down like a steam engine, and when a couple of mad geniuses decide he’d make a fine experiment, he wonders if he’ll live long enough to claim Clara’s heart or if he’ll die all over again.
“Another load of coal,” Clara fretted. “I don’t know how we’re going to pay for it.”
“Have you considered sending me out to work? I could probably earn twice as much as those lads.”
“No. You are supposed to be,” she waved a hand at him, “a gentleman.” He did not look it. At the moment, with his collar wide open at the throat, eyes bright and hair tumbled over his forehead, he looked all rogue. One with whom she ached to go to bed. It was no wonder she couldn’t sleep; she spent all her night time hours thinking about that, about him.
“I’m bored, Clara. I’ve little to do but think, and there’s precious little in my head to think about. You want me to stay here shut in like a damned convalescent. You’ll have to give me some way to occupy myself.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Her days were so full with the children—especially Cassie—and the household, she hadn’t considered how his must drag.
“Do you think of me at all?” He stepped closer and her breathing immediately hitched. “Do I mean anything more to you than that steamie?”
“Of course. Though I value Dax very highly, and—”
He stepped still closer; she promptly lost her train of thought.
“Clara, I can’t stand this. Why won’t you come to me at night, if only for the sake of my sanity? This feels like being starved by bits. Do you feel nothing, no want? No need?”
Did she feel nothing? She closed her eyes a moment against the intensity of emotion. He had to know some of what she felt, must feel it the way she gleaned the overflow of the turbulence he experienced.
“Liam, I am trying to protect myself, to protect both of us.”
“How? By killing me over again? You must know how it feels, being denied your presence.”
“You are not denied my presence. You can be in my company any time.”
“Except at night, when I need you most, when I lie there with my sanity in shreds, straining to hold on to myself. You don’t turn Cassie away. Why me?”
“You’re much more dangerous.” The words slipped from Clara before she could hold them back.
“Me, dangerous?” He widened those sky- blue eyes, and Clara’s pulse sped up another notch.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Born in Buffalo and raised on the Niagara Frontier, Laura Strickland has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. To her the spunky, tenacious, undefeatable ethnic mix that is Buffalo spells the perfect setting for a little Steampunk, so she created her own Victorian world there. She knows the people of Buffalo are stronger, tougher and smarter than those who haven’t survived the muggy summers and blizzard blasts found on the shores of the mighty Niagara. Tough enough to survive a squad of automatons? Well, just maybe.
Author web site: www.laurastricklandbooks.com
Author page Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Strickland/e/B001KHSACW/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1422994343&sr=1-2-ent
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I’m currently working on Fire Storm, Book 2 in the Gathering Storm Series