Dead Handsome: A Buffalo Steampunk Adventure
by Laura Strickland
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.
Read an excerpt:
The man leaned in, and the mechanical eye adjusted disconcertingly. But Liam had passed far beyond being disconcerted.
“You’re a fine specimen,” the man said. “I’m pleased.”
“What are you going to do with us?” Fagan croaked the words as if he couldn’t prevent them. The man’s head swiveled to face him.
“Nothing very pleasant, I assure you,” he said without much emotion. “But comfort yourself with knowing you’ll be part of a grand and important experiment, and significant portions of you will live on.”
“Jayus,” Fagan wailed.
The black-haired man advised, “I really shouldn’t bother calling on him, if I were you. He never comes here, though many have called.”
“Do you have a name?” Liam snarled. “Your buddy there is called Charles. But are we not to know the name of the man who murders us?”
“You may call me Master Mason, since I am a member of that noble, ancient, and venerated society. And I’m no murderer.”
"Right. You usually have your meat brought to you —fresh hanged.”
“Usually, and only the finest. You should consider yourself honored to be amidst an august company. The Irish have many faults—many—but they do grow fine examples of manhood, strong and tall. And, so very often, dispensable.”
“He’s not dispensable.” Liam jerked his head at Fagan. “A policeman—”
“Unfortunately, a victim of a tavern brawl while off duty. Someone saw him going into the river. Lost.”
“Get on with the job.” The steam-burned man, Charles—he with the horrific hands—appeared at Mason’s side. “Must you toy with them? Just end it, and let’s get to work.”
“Me? Why me? You do it.”
Liam bared his teeth again. Aye, they had no liking for the ugly deed Maynard usually accomplished for them.
“You’re the man who’s so good with the saw,” Charles said.
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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