THE SILVER SKULL
The Elemental Web Chronicles – Book Two
Trained for marriage to an assigned political target, her skills lie in programming household steambots to serve tea, dress her hair… and sound the alarm while she picks locks and listens at doors. Humiliated by a failed assignment, she decides to redeem herself by tailing a suspected double agent.
Lord Rathsburn must flirt with treason.
Struggles to cure a horrible disease have met with unexpected complications. The cells he engineered can make a man’s bones unbreakable, but the side effects are fatal. He believed the research terminated… until his sister was kidnapped by a German count. Her ransom? A cure.
Piloting a stolen dirigible, he uncovers an unlikely stowaway, Lady Olivia.
Arriving together at a crumbling castle, an impossible task is set before them: cure the count’s guardsmen. Amidst their fake marriage, a very real growing attraction, dying guardsmen and escalating hostilities, Lady Olivia and Lord Rathsburn are thrust deep into the world of international medical espionage from which there may be no return.
“…enough sexual tension to choke a kraken.”
“Steampunk at its very best!”
“I did not want to put this book down!”
Flirting. A skill he’d never cultivated, nor one that had yet been required of him in medical espionage. He preferred directness, but as there was no escape, it was time to change tactics.
Ian glanced at Lady Olivia, searching for something—anything—to comment upon. He swallowed. Hard. For his eyes caught upon a line of tiny pearl buttons that ran upward over the front of her form-fitting bodice, detouring quite some distance forward to accommodate the generous swell of her breasts, before continuing their march to her chin. Demure, yet so very tempting.
Yet even he was socially agile enough to know better than to comment upon her sumptuous bosom, especially in the presence of her mother. Instead, he fixed upon something safer: the decor of her voyaging bonnet. “The bird on your hat is quite…”
Bright? Fluffy? Large? He was hopeless. The right word escaped him.
“Dead?” She giggled. “Never mind. Scientists. Not a romantic notion in your minds.” She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “Though my sister insists a man of medicine knows his anatomy.”
He suppressed a grin and filed the comment away to hold over Thornton. “I do prefer directness.”
Her head inclined. “Then you should employ that to your advantage. What is my most attractive feature?”
Another trap. He kept his gaze above her neck. “Your lips.” He let his focus fall upon them. “They are a beautiful vermillion. And the peaks of your philtrum form an unusually lovely Cupid’s bow.”
“Philtrum,” she repeated. Her smile grew wider. “Good, Lord Stanton. Very good. I’ve no idea what that is, but you make it sound elegant.” She winked. “Perhaps I shall reconsider my stance on physicians after all.”
Ian tried to imagine himself standing before the duke, asking for his daughter’s hand, and failed. He barked a laugh at the very absurdity and impossibility of such an event. Marrying the daughter of a powerful gentleman he’d once accused of aiding and abetting a criminal? It didn’t bear consideration.
Lady Olivia came to a sudden halt outside the railroad station. Her enormous, ruffled reticule slammed against his patella, but before he could ask what she carted about, her face tipped upward to reveal a long, smooth neck. “Exquisite,” she proclaimed.
He couldn’t agree more. Trailing kisses, moving ever downward…
“Their sheer size.” Her voice held a note of awe. “And number. All floating above us. Have you ever seen anything like it?”
“No.” Neither her neck nor the airships.