Welcome to the Spotlight for Vesta’s Clockwork Companions by Juli D. Revezzo. Read below for the blurb and an excerpt from the book. Hope you get the chance to add something new to your TBR pile!
Genre: Steampunk (sweet) Romance
Published: July 20th, 2018
When Vesta Bartlett, a wealthy alchemist and inventor, arrives in England to finalize an arranged marriage and help overhaul a family friend’s outdated ironworks, she never expects to find the family so secretive, nor to develop feelings for her fiancé’s younger brother, Henry.
But the growing attraction between Vesta and Henry is just the beginning of their troubles. Things really heat up when they’re drawn into a secret project for Queen Victoria’s military, one that requires Vesta’s knowledge of clockwork and Henry’s iron.
An epidemic has wiped out all the dogs in Britain, and beyond. If the military fail in their effort to restore the species, a clockwork creation may be all that stands in the way of a world without canine companionship.
Are Vesta and Henry up to the challenge?
Henry tugged a steamer trunk into his arms. The weight of the trunk caused his jacket to tighten over firm muscles. “Packed light, did you, Vesta?”
She turned her head, meeting Henry’s deep blue eyes. “Only the necessaries.”
Percy struggled with another of her trunks and proved weaker of the two. If he had any muscle mass at all, the jacket he wore concealed all. “By God, Miss Vesta, what do you have in here, an entire blacksmith’s forge?”
Her father winked at her. “Give or take an anvil or two.”
In truth, she knew the size of the tools she’d packed might surprise them. Her father’s tools, filling one of his trunks, were even heavier.
“My kiln. A small one.” Along with a vial of aether or ten, plus a few other tools she’d need when she set to work. She wondered where they might procure more aether, when they needed it. Best not to ask and reveal their secrets so soon.
“Don’t listen to their complaints. Come in.” The elder Mr. Colchester rumbled past them.
Henry followed, while his father led them around the main house to a second, smaller, stucco-faced house behind the Colchester’s residence. “We thought you’d like this to yourselves. For a little more privacy.”
In the short foyer, Vesta noted the potted lilies in a vase under a mirror in a white oak frame. To her left, an entryway opened up onto the small living room decorated in drab yellow wallpaper. Coffee-colored velvet curtains opened over double windows let the day’s weak light in.
Mrs. Colchester soon joined them. She was a little younger than George, with dark hair, thin and graceful, despite her voluminous emerald skirt, handmade, Vesta guessed.
Henry said, “Miss Vesta, do you remember my mother?”
“Of course.” Vesta curtseyed. “Mrs. Colchester, thank you for your invitation.”
“My dear Miss Bartlett.” The woman embraced her as if they were lost cousins. “Welcome to my home.” She took her arm. “You must be tired, my dear. Tea will set life right again.”
“I rather doubt that,” she muttered.
“I think my daughter would prefer to freshen up first.”
“Oh!” Her host unwound their arms. “Right. Annie!” she called over her shoulder. “See you bring her some tea and whatever else she requires.”
The maid took her coat. “Miss, would you like to get into some dry clothes?”
Vesta looked down at her olive green skirt, rumpled, the hem smudged with a hint of mud. “No, I think I’m fine. May I wash my face?”
“Of course, miss.” The maid entered the bedroom and soon, water gurgled into the porcelain washbasin.
As Vesta followed, she noted a matching mustard drape in this bedroom encircled a bed with oak headboard and thick down pillows and patchwork quilt. Perfume bottles and an ivory comb sat atop an oak dresser. Judging by the thin layer of dust on them, no one had used them, lately. A wardrobe stood open and empty in the corner. Vesta found someone had situated her steamer trunk by its side.
Vesta opened her trunk and retrieved an embroidered pouch containing her brush and toiletries.
Her father’s voice came from the hallway.
“Just a moment, Father.”
“Come join us when you’re finished freshening up.”
She pulled the brush through her hair, and considered the filled basin. The water’s temperature a little chilly for her taste, she dipped a finger in. Warmth. Not too much. I don’t want the Colchesters to see steam on the window.
As her father had taught her, she took a deep breath, and mentally reached for any heat in the air, willing the water to warm. A small pain surfaced in the base of her skull. The water remained cool.
Still can’t do it. Scolding herself, she finished washing. She’d hoped the trip by airship, or Nottingham itself, would ignite in her a bit of her father’s skill with alchemy. The cool water proved otherwise.