Please welcome today’s guest blogger, Leslie Dicken. (I keep wanting to put an S on the end of her name; I guess I keep thinking Charles Dickens.) Leslie writes HOT historical romances for Samhain and also for Harlequin’s Spice Briefs. This week she’s ventured into the Steampunk realm with her newest Samhain release, The Iron Heart. So I asked her…
How much of a leap was it to go from historical to steampunk?
Actually not much of a leap at all. Steampunk by definition is bringing today’s technology back to the Victorian era but making that technology run on steam instead of electricity or batteries. So I really wrote a book like any of my other historicals, but I added in some really cool sciencey stuff — like automatons, personal flying machines, and clockwork gadgets.
Tell me about Bennett, the hero – what makes him tick?
Well, I have a tendency to write very dark and/or scarred heroes and Bennett is no different. He feels he is to blame for the madness of the murderer loose on the city streets. Although his intentions at this creation were good and noble, he never anticipated the possible consequences. And so he struggles with wanting to make things right by catching the killer on his own, yet he doesn’t want to stop progress.
Do you find it easier or harder to write the hero over the heroine?
Hmm, I think it depends on the book. In most stories, one of the characters comes to me much stronger and fully formed. I know KNOW them. Then I struggle with finding the right counterpart to them.
Is there a scene, or a moment, you’re particularly fond of within The Iron Heart? Can you share a tidbit?
My favorite scenes in The Iron Heart are always the love or romantic ones between my hero and heroine, which really goes back to the fact that this is a ROMANCE more than anything else. The tension on the page when the two are together is electric! In this scene, Bennett has come to the little shop where Ella lives with her uncle. He wants to know why she snuck into his rooms back at his manor earlier that day.
“Good evening, Ella.”
Her eyes narrowed. “What are you doing here?”
“I come into Lundun every night.”
“You don’t come to my uncle’s shop. What do you want?”
He moved closer to her, partly to intimidate her, mostly to breathe in her divine aroma. “I want to know why you were in my rooms the other day.”
Instantly she went rigid. Her mouth tightened. Clearly it was a secret he would not get from her so easily.
She set her chin and crossed her arms. “You came here just for that?”
“There must be more.”
He grinned. “You are avoiding my question.”
“Certainly you could have waited until the next time we crossed paths.”
“And when would that be? The next time you came to my house unexpected?”
She brushed dust from her skirt. “As you have often said to me: ‘I have my reasons.’”
Bennett laughed. Took a step closer. “This is true.”
He stood before her, just inches from her body. As expected, heat exploded in his bloodstream. Her mouth parted. “And what are your reasons, Ella? What were you looking for?”
“I told you that day. I was there for the same reasons as before.”
He reached out and pressed his palm to her waist. She gasped, but didn’t move. “Oh? And did you lie in my bed waiting for me?”
A slight nudge and she was back against the table. He brushed her hair with the back of his fingers.
“Did you undress and lay yourself across my blanket, your hair spread across the pillows like liquid gold?”
Her breath hitched. His trousers tightened.
“And while you lay naked, in hopes of surprising me, I foolishly took my time coming up from my workshop. Then looked for you in the front parlor.”
Bennett pressed his full body up against hers. Every inch of him throbbed, craved, hungered.
“When I didn’t find you…” his breathing grew heavy “…you redressed, fixed your hair, and came downstairs.”
He leaned forward and inhaled in the tantalizing scent of her hair.
“Is that what happened, Ella?” The words were a whisper.
Her eyes drifted closed. The tip of her tongue darted out and licked her bottom lip.
Bennett leaned his weight against her, pressing her to the table, angling his legs and hips to match hers.
Her breasts crushed to his chest, begging his hands to cup them. His mouth to taste them. His tongue to lick them.
Not just her breasts, he wanted to savor every inch of her skin, from her ankles to her knees to the inner nectar of her womanhood.
He wanted to devour her.
“Ella…” Lord, why didn’t he take her when they were on his bed? Now they stood in her uncle’s shop, where people passing outside could see. Mr. Cooper could enter at any time.
Yet, this hunger could not be denied. Not any longer.
“Come.” He cleared his throat. “Come back to Barrington Manor with me.”
What’s next for you?
I have a Spice Brief coming out from Harlequin in April – THE LADY’S BARGAIN.