SUE: I'd like to welcome Lady Keira Russell from "A Gentleman and a Rogue" (Book 2 in the steampunk Windsor Diaries Series) to the blog today. Keira, I'm curious, what's a lady doing working in a quarry in England in 1855?
KEIRA: I'm up to my elbows in compressed natural gas! It all started when my father, Sir John Russell, left his post as prime minister. He feels very passionately about finding alternate fuel sources. Sadly, London is full of coal dust and that's not good for the lungs. We settled in Lincoln and Papa decided to explore wind power. I share his passion for the greater good and I work with compressed natural gas.
SUE: Gosh, you sound so busy. Don't you have a social life?
KEIRA: I have to admit, I didn't have one for along time, but things are picking up.
SUE: Picking up? How so?
KEIRA: Edmund Windsor is back. That scoundrel! That rogue! He's a liar and a cheat and a mischief-maker.
SUE: That's harsh.
KEIRA: He told me he loved me and then poof! He took the time traveling machine back to 2011.
SUE: So, what's he doing back in 1855? Trying to win your heart again?
KEIRA: Him and his cousin, Alice, are up to their elbows in rivets, brass, iron, mischief, and steam.
SUE: I noticed you avoided that last question.
KEIRA: I'm sorry, what was it?
SUE: Is he trying to win your heart again?
KEIRA: One kiss does not mean I forgive him.
SUE: Do I detect a little too much protest in your voice?
KEIRA: None at all. Just because Edmund resembles Adonis, has a keen sense of wit, and a dimple to die for doesn’t mean I'm going to give my heart to him again.
SUE: So did Edmund come back to "woo" you, or does he have another agenda?
KEIRA: Another agenda, of course! He's trying to convince Queen Victoria to pick an alternate fuel source so his future time will right itself. It's all complicated – there's alternate futures, parallel universes, and time machines.
SUE: What's the alternate fuel source he wants Queen Victoria to select?
KEIRA: Compressed natural gas of all things!
SUE: I suspect he wants a second chance.
KEIRA: I’m highly skeptical. He's got to prove to me he's more than a good-looking man in a neck cloth.
SUE: Is Edmund a gentleman or a rogue?
KEIRA: Ladies never tell.
SHORT BLURB: When Edmund travels back in time to set the future straight, will his love for Keira derail his efforts?
ENJOY THIS EXCERPT:
The song ended and Edmund grabbed her hand, tugging her toward the nearest hallway. At first, she wanted to protest; call out for her father and defy Edmund's wishes, but then reason kicked in. She wanted -- no, needed -- answers. And, she had plenty of questions.
They entered the main wing, and passed two rooms before Edmund opened a door and dragged her inside. Books littered the shelves. The library. A beam of light from a full moon shined through the window, casting Edmund's features in sharp, contrasting shadows. He leaned against the door and crossed his arms. His eyes narrowed, giving his expression a dark, hard edge. He looked like a devil in this moment. She steeled her shoulders, ready to do battle with him.
Silence grew between them as they both set their postures. Damn Edmund. She wanted to kiss the devil senseless. Thankfully, she still had her wits.
"What are you doing with Jonas Byron?" Edmund's voice was cold and exact.
"Dancing." She surprised herself with the ease of her retort.
"Looked more like flirting to me."
A muscle twitched in his jaw. "No."
"You are a horrible liar."
"Keira, you can't trust him."
She placed her hands on her hips. "Curious, you're the second man tonight to tell me that."
"Grayson has your best interests at heart. You need to listen to him."
"He's been missing for four years." She paused, glaring at him. "Like you have. And I thought you weren't coming back."
"I'm here now, and I'm not leaving you again."
She tilted her head and laughed. Oh, yes, he'd leave her again, and she had no intention of letting her heart get broken.
Edmund lunged forward, placed his hands on her waist, and pulled her against the length of his hard, muscled body, trapping her arms between them so her hands rested on his chest. His emerald eyes flamed with desire. Her heart turned over in response. His unique scent, spice and currants, weakened her resolve. As her memories flooded through her mind, her lips ached for his.
"God, Keira, don't test me like this."
AUTHOR BIO: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 Dispatcher for LAPD. Victorian Scoundrel, Book 1 in The Windsor Diaries won BRONZE in the 2012 Reader's Favorite Contest in Romance: Historical.
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