Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
Genre: Steampunk/Paranormal Romance/Western
Wilder Harding is a bloodhound, created by the Guild to hunt down and kill vampires on America’s frontier. His enhanced abilities come with a high price: on the full moon, he becomes capable of savagery beyond telling, while the new moon brings a sexual hunger that borders on madness.
Rescuing a weapons inventor from undead kidnappers is just another assignment, though one with an added complication—keeping his hands off the man’s pretty young apprentice, who insists on tagging along.
At odds with polite society, Satira’s only constant has been the aging weapons inventor who treats her like a daughter. She isn’t going to trust Wilder with Nathaniel’s life, not when the Guild might decide the old man isn’t worth saving. Besides, if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that brains are more important than brawn.
As the search stretches far longer than Wilder planned, he finds himself fighting against time. If Satira is still at his side when the new moon comes, nothing will stop him from claiming her. Worse, she seems all too willing. If their passion unlocks the beast inside, no one will be safe. Not even the man they’re fighting to save.
Warning: This book contains a crude, gun-slinging, vampire-hunting hero who howls at the full moon and a smart, stubborn heroine who invents mad-scientist weapons. Also included: wild frontier adventures, brothels, danger, betrayal and a good dose of wicked loving in an alternate Wild West.
Ask me to give you a good example of what steampunk is and I’ll probably direct you to Gail Carriger’s terrific Parasol Protectorate series – sort of fussy Victorian people in nice suits and dresses with awesome inventions. I wouldn’t have thought to put steampunk in the wild west, then naughty it up and throw some vampires in the mix, but if you’ve followed any of Moira Rogers’ other series, it shouldn’t be too surprising that if anyone could do it, they could. And look at that yummy cover!
In this wild-west, a woman’s career choices are limited to prostitution and mostly just other kinds of prostitution. Against all convention, Guild weapons inventor Nathaniel took Satira under his wing and nurtured her love of chemistry and science and in return, earned her loyalty and love. When he’s kidnapped and taken into the Deadlands, even though the Guild has sent their best bloodhound to track and rescue him, Satira couldn’t stay behind. Wilder expected to have to spend his time protecting Satira until he saw her bag of chemical weapons and gadgets and found she had an attitude as stubborn as his. Knowing there was a possibility they’d be trapped in the Deadlands during the new moon, Satira told Wilder that she wouldn’t be unwilling if they ended up together.
Unwilling turned into enthusiastic by the time they reached the Deadlands border and everything heated up (and I mean everything). Creepy creatures started coming out from all over the place, Satira started unloading some awesome weapons, there was treachery around every corner and Wilder discovered his bloodhound was a little protective and possessive. They also ended up stranded in the Deadlands during the new moon. Oops.
As a geek, I was duty-bound to be half in love with scientist-girl Satira before I even opened this up. When the story started, she was inside a steam-operated elevator, in men’s clothing with a tool case, trying to figure out how to fix it. She travels with a saddlebag full of bottles of chemicals that when mixed, can blow up a building. Swoon. I loved her unwavering loyalty to Nathaniel and her willingness to risk everything to get him home even if some of her reasons were selfish. She didn’t let Wilder intimidate her and their conversations were wonderful to read. Satira ended up as the super sexy one when during the new moon she told Wilder it didn’t matter what he did, if he wanted it, she trusted him to take care of her. She said she enjoyed Wilder talking dirty but the girl could give him a run for his money. Rawr.
Wilder is rough and dirty and half-hound – what’s not to love? He’s also dedicated to his job with the Guild and determined to find Nate no matter what. The first thing he notices about Satira are her assets (he uses a different word, rhymes with bits) and it’s a cute joke a couple of times. He’s got a wry sense of humor and an unexpected tender streak. He’s very much a loner – because he’s a bloodhound, because he’s bound to the Guild, because of what happens during both the new and full moons, he’s always set apart from everyone else. When Satira offers herself unconditionally, it makes him vulnerable. More swooning happens.
Obligatory sexy part discussion: Wilder and Satira are stuck in a hotel for several days and then again in the Deadlands for a few days during the new moon. In the hotel, Wilder and Satira are practicing their “let’s not go all the way,” thing. In the Deadlands, it’s the new moon and Wilder’s in the grip of a sexual fervor, wanting to pleasure Satira until she’s senseless before he takes his own. This is Moira Rogers’ most explicit book so far. There’s more serious swooning occurring, seriously.
The kidnapping plot wraps up in a way that makes sense, although it’s a little hurried which I’d expect for the length of the story and the right amount that was dedicated to the couple. I loved that Satira finally gets to use some things in her bag of stuff plus a new invention and there’s more geek talk. There’s some good action, followed by a neat little resolution – maybe a little too clean, but I don’t know enough about the big bad Guild yet, so I’m holding judgment on that one. I’m hoping the continuation of the series will explain more about the Guild, the origins of the hounds, the vampires and the Deadlands.
My Summary: I’m really excited about this series. To be honest, a lot of steampunk doesn’t have enough romance for me, but this had it in spades. Wilder is sexy, determined and more than a little dangerous and Satira is his perfect match (plus all sorts of smart-girl awesome). The wild west setting was gritty and the perfect setting for the bloodhounds and I can’t wait for the next book.
My Rating: B+