As the French army leader’s bastard son, Cornelius Stevens enjoys a great deal of latitude. But when he saves an enemy soldier using clockwork parts, he’s well aware he risks hanging for treason. That doesn’t worry him half as much, however, as the realization he’s falling for his patient.
Johann Berger never expected to survive his regiment’s suicide attack on Calais, much less wake up with mechanical parts. To avoid discovery, he’s forced to hide in plain sight as Cornelius’s lover—a role Johann finds himself taking to surprisingly well.
When a threat is made on Cornelius’s life, Johann learns the secret of the device implanted in his chest—a mythical weapon both warring countries would kill to obtain. Caught up in a political frenzy, in league with pirates, dodging rogue spies, mobsters and princesses with deadly parasols, Cornelius and Johann have no time to contemplate how they ended up in this mess. All they know is, the only way out is together—or not at all.
As one might surmise from the blurb and cover, this is a steampunk adventure romance. It has a lot going for it- despite the time it is set, it has a contemporary vibe in tone and doesn’t bog itself down in trying to be overly historical. It stays true to it’s aim, that of of providing swashbuckling adventure with pirates, soldiers, airships, and clockwork while serving up a dollop of romance. It’s a sweet romance on many fronts but this is Heidi Cullinan so it’s not syrupy and there is a definite edge to how our heroes like to play.
The villains are properly heinous, though much less fully fleshed out as characters than our heroes. The plot itself is fast moving though the late introduction of the parasol wielding princess felt a bit overly convenient. All in all though, this was a great way to spend some time if in the mood for something lightly spiced and most definitely fun.
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