For this month’s guest author feature I recruited Elle Clouse. Elle is a fellow member of the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group, where she serves as our treasurer. She writes what’s known as steampunk romance — a genre that’s somewhat unfamiliar to me – so when she asked for reviewers for her latest book I volunteered and asked her to share the book with us. I’d always been a fan of the 1960s television show The Wild, Wild, West (as well as the 1999 movie staring Will Smith), and I’d expected the book to have similar elements – somewhat modernistic machinery in a nineteenth century setting. Besotted features elaborate “airships” which the characters use to travel from one place to another. Here are the basics about Elle and her book:
Bio: Elle has been writing fantasy and science fiction romance for years and is an avid participant in the NaNoWriMo. Her debut novel, Stealing the Wolf Prince, a fantasy romance novel, is available through Etopia Press.
Elle is happily married to a martial arts instructor. She’s also the mother of two small boys and is constantly talking her husband out of adopting a new pet. She knits and stamps in her spare time as well as feeds a latte addiction.
Blurb for Besotted:
Tamsyn’s attraction to Slade is deep, but is love worth the price of dreams?
A trailblazer, Tamsyn Bradford graduated as Royal Academy’s first female alumnus, with the fighting skills and cunning fitting a member of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Selected to teach at an elite school for female spies, Tamsyn attends a friend’s class party only to fall into the lap of temptation that is Prince Slade Faust. Will a drunken night of passion ruin her career forever? Before we can find out, an evil scientist steps in and abducts Tamsyn, sending Slade and Tamsyn’s group of friends on a hunt to save her very life.
They all turned toward the new voice, one Tamsyn had hoped to hear. Tall and blond like Edge, this man was built like an ox and barely fit into his suit. His eyes were a piercing blue like Edge’s but held compassion.
“Ah, Tamsyn Bradford, let me introduce my twin brother Slademont Foust.” Edge led her forward with a hand on the small of her back. Tamsyn had met Slade once or twice before, in school, and she’d been smitten each time.
Slademont met her gaze then bowed. She curtseyed, and heat rushed through her as he took her hand and pressed his lips to the back of it. His skin was coarse but warm, and he ran his thumb over her knuckles before releasing her.
Tamsyn glanced at Edge and it seemed he hadn’t noticed their moment. He hugged his brother around the shoulders, and side by side, Slade dwarfed his brother. “He’s a machinist, don’t you know? Works on all those giant engines that make trains and airships move.”
“That’s right.” He smiled at his brother, a dazzling sight that made her heart skip a beat. “Keeping all those fancy designs, you create, working for the normal folk.”
Edge laughed. “Rightly so. Designing them is more fun than building them. Too dirty.”
“There’s nothing wrong with a little hard work.” Tamsyn’s gaze kept seeking Slade, and her heart thrilled when their eyes met. Never in all her years had a man made her react that way. Time to change the subject. “What about Axel, will he be joining us?”
Edge guffawed. “That old pirate had better things to do than visit his prince. Something about a new opera? A soprano? I don’t care.”
She turned to Zeke. “How is your sister?”
“Good. She should be done with school soon, and I do believe my father has a debut ball scheduled, already.” Zeke topped off all their glasses with champagne before he sat down on a plush armchair. “Although, when I told her what you’ve done, she said she wanted a transfer. I doubt she could take a knock like you, Tiny.”
“Wait, this is Tiny Tamsyn?” Slade strode to her side. “The woman who wrestled Edge to the ground first day of classes? I’d have paid anything to see that fight.”
“I let her win.” Edge snickered and sat at his desk, glass in hand.
“He had that black eye for a month.” Slade picked up her hand and inspected her knuckles. “I thought I was the only one able to wallop him.”
“He brought it on himself, you know.” She smiled up at Slade. “He said no man could best him in a fight. And none did.”
Slade bellowed with laughter, throwing his head back. “He never mentioned that!” He wiped a tear from the corner of his eyes as his laughter subsided.
“Tamsyn was ours from that moment on,” Zeke said. “And we wouldn’t have it any other way. Feared by every male student, revered by every lady. Top of her class in every subject from history to telegnosis. I might have failed arithmetic if it weren’t for her.”
“Just being a good friend.” Tamsyn smiled. She’d forgotten the late night study sessions with Zeke. Toward the end of their final year, he reviewed all his work with her.
Slade glanced at his brother. “Speaking of being a good friend, Edge. You invited all these people to your house, and you’re hiding in your study. You should get out and mingle.”
“Yes, we should all get out and go have some fun.” Edge jumped up from his desk and pressed Slade and her together as he passed. “There is plenty of champagne, and I shall call dinner. Then we can dance. Come along.”
Slade offered her his arm. “If we play along for a bit, he’ll get distracted. Then we can be left to ourselves.”
Alone with Slade. If her heart rate was any indication, she was in trouble. No one had ever piqued her interested like he did. It had been easy to ignore when they’d both been busy with coursework and easier still when they’d lived separate lives. But now that she had his undivided attention, she was doomed.
You can read about this and Elle’s other books at her website: http://elleclouse.com
My thoughts: This book is the first I’ve read by Ms Clouse, as well as my first steampunk romance. If this is a true example of what the genre is all about I may be an eager fan. I enjoyed Tamsyn and Slade’s story, and now I want to go back and read Book One in this series. There is plenty of action, danger, and romance. I became so invested in the story I continued to read while eating dinner.