Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts by Heather Massey
The West just got a whole lot wilder.
A woman on a mission… Scientific achievement isn’t enough for Violet Whitcomb. Life working alongside her renowned scientist father is filled with intellectual challenges, but what she truly craves is love and adventure. She’s resigned to a fate of academic pursuits–until a fateful trip across the American frontier changes everything. A rogue inventor known as the Iron Scorpion kidnaps Violet’s father and she alone is left to plan his rescue.
A man with a secret… Logan McCoy knows firsthand going up against the Iron Scorpion is suicide, but he can’t let Violet waltz into the villain’s lair alone. She may be a stranger, but she’s also the most compelling woman he’s ever known.
A perilous quest… Their attraction is undeniable, but their alliance turns contentious when Violet insists on including a third partner on their mission: her father’s latest invention and the world’s most advanced automaton, Arthur. The reason for Logan’s resistance isn’t clear until Violet comes face-to-face with the Iron Scorpion’s diabolical devices, and by then, it’s far too late.
Wakefulness smashed into Violet like a blow to the head–abruptly and unwanted. The first sensation she registered was agonizing stiffness, especially in her legs. The second was the temperature of her body, which felt unevenly warm and cold. The third feeling she noticed was her uncomfortably full bladder. Unable to ignore it, she forced her eyes open. They came into focus upon a pockmarked wall of weathered granite.
Blinking, Violet realized she was not at home. She wasn’t on aboard the Golden Arrow Express, either. Choppy bits of memory emerged. Then yesterday’s events hit her with the force of a hurricane. Oh, heavens–Papa!
What horrors had the Iron Scorpion inflicted upon her father while she lay sleeping? Even if that hadn’t been motivator enough, the hard ground beneath her had worn out its dubious welcome. She stretched her right arm. Her fingers met resistance in the form of a blanket, one that cocooned her from neck to feet. How had she become so wrapped up?
Violet started. When had she become so wrapped up?
As she worked to extricate herself, she heard the pip-pop crackle of a fire. Smelled the sharp bite of coffee wafting through the air. Violet shoved the blanket from her shoulders and sat up. Desiring comfort, she turned toward the warmth.
And a man.
Logan sat nearby, extending a tin cup full of a steaming beverage toward her. “Coffee?”
“Thank you.” But a parched, raw throat made the words sound more like a gravelly “Thaacku,” so she nodded to reinforce her need. Though unrelenting muscle spasms screamed for her to do otherwise, she shifted into a sitting position so she could accept the cup. Then she shoved her chilly feet closer to the fire. Violet wiggled her stocking-covered toes while pursing her lips in confusion. She didn’t remember removing her boots.
While taking a cautious sip of the hot, bitter brew, she glanced skyward to gauge the time. Unfortunately, a haphazard formation of boulders blocked her view of the horizon in all directions. Further assessment revealed that they were sitting at the mouth of a cave–no, more like an ambitious overhang of rock. But it receded so far into the ground that it provided a natural canopy.
Her gaze came to rest on Arthur, still standing against the rock wall like a frozen sentry. The automaton was safe and unharmed. Violet breathed a sigh of relief.
“We can’t be easily spotted here,” Logan said as if in response to her thoughts.
Violet turned back to her other companion. He had already removed his dustcoat and boots. Despite his matted hair and the scant layer of stubble on his face, he appeared alert–and, astonishingly, even more handsome than on the previous day. “I take it you’ve camped here before?”
Logan stoked the fire a long time before responding. “Could be. I do get around.”
She silently questioned his reserved manner until she remembered he probably had trade secrets to protect. “I imagine someone in your position certainly does.” She grasped the cup in both hands, savoring the warmth, if not the taste, of its contents. “What time is it?”
Logan produced a gold Lepine pocket watch. “’Bout twenty minutes past six. Sun’ll be up shortly.” He stood. Padding around in his socks, he searched among the saddlebags and withdrew various items. “Are you hungry? Got bread, some cheese, couple apples.”
Before Violet could even answer, he had assembled said food upon a torn but clean bit of white linen and was handing it to her.
Nodding gratefully, she accepted the meal and placed it on a small, flat rock beside her. She placed her cup down as well. “I’m starving, actually. But would you mind if I…” Violet couldn’t help but smile at the recollection of their impromptu meeting in the water-closet on the train, “…take care of my necessities?”
Logan shot her a sly look. “Just so long as you don’t aurally assault me with your highly explosive discharges.”
Violet blushed even as she attempted a half-hearted scolding. “You, sir, are a scoundrel of the worst sort!”
Logan laughed. A charming, carefree grin accompanied the deep, earthy sound. Violet giggled in response. Their combined mirth was the beginning of a wonderful symphony. But then their eyes met, and he smothered his laugh as quickly as it had come.
Q: Tell our readers why you think they’ll enjoy Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts
A: Mysterious gunman hero + imaginative scientist heroine = a couple from wildly different worlds. Despite their common goal and fierce attraction to one another, Logan and Violet don’t always see eye to eye. Their disagreements lead to delicious conflict and delightful sexual tension. Plus, IRON GUNS, BLAZING HEARTS will transport readers to a fantastical place filled with strange inventions, steampunk cyborgs, and an automaton gunslinger of many surprises!
Q: You may have noticed we like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts?
A: My favorite quote from Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts is:
The way he spoke her name, with a gentle inflection that rolled from his tongue as “Vahlet,” melted her insides like ice cream on a hot day.
Heather Massey would like to give away a copy of Iron Guns, Blazing Hearts. (ebook) To enter, just answer her question:
What’s your favorite adventure romance story in books, film, or television?
Giveaway is open to all (where allowed). You have until end of day Feb 8 to enter, winner will be announced soon after.
Giveaway sponsored by: Heather Massey. No purchase necessary to win. You must be 18 or over to enter, void where prohibited. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. FVBR is not being compensated for this giveaway. If the winner declines to accept or fails to claim their prize within 72 hours of the announcement they forfeit their prize. Prize distribution is the sole responsibility of the giveaway sponsor. Fiction Vixen Book Reviews will not be held responsible for lost or misdirected prizes or for circumstances beyond our control. More information here.