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Gilded Hearts

AmazonB&N | iTunes
Forever Yours (Grand Central)
Genre: Steampunk
ISBN: # 9781455550500

FIRST LOVE IS NEVER FORGOTTEN

Piper Smith is an Archivist, one who extracts memories from the dead—and her first job is more difficult than she ever imagined. Not only is her subject the victim of murder, but the first man to arrive on the scene is the last man she ever expected to see again: handsome, tormented, and devilishly sexy Samuel Hawkins. Years ago, he fled the Archivists’ Guild unceremoniously, leaving behind both unanswered questions . . . and Piper’s aching heart.

Sergeant Samuel Hawkins of the King’s Sentry can hardly believe the strong, beautiful woman before him is the same shy girl he once knew. His instincts scream to hold her, to kiss her, and to make amends for disappearing from the Archives—and her life. Yet when Piper’s extraction of the victim’s memories reveals something unsettling, the line between ally and enemy suddenly begins to blur. And the question becomes whether their fragile love will blossom or fade like a distant memory.


Read Excerpt | Read Reviews

Reviews

"Blew me away! Set within a dark, richly layered steampunk world, D'Abo pens a sweetly romantic yet steamy love story with a fresh, inventive spin on the Jack the Ripper tale that kept me guessing until the end. Loved it!" --Bestselling author, Kristen Callihan on GILDED HEARTS


Excerpt

A rush of frustrated embarrassment rolled off Timmons and through Samuel. Timmons had become quite protective of him over the years since Samuel had joined the King’s Sentry. He’d been surprised by the steadfast relationship, but had few enough friends to question Timmons’s motives and welcomed the brotherhood. “It’s fine.”

He had to consciously stop himself from holding his breath when the carriage door hissed open. This wasn’t anything new; it shouldn’t still bother him. But every time he came face to face with the archivists, he once again became a scared nineteen-year-old wandering the streets of New London, driven forward by the need to rise from the ashes of his old life, instead of the twenty-four-year-old man who’d fought the odds to earn a post with the King’s Sentry.

And every time that carriage door opened, he was still looking for her.

Clenching his jaw, Samuel took his hands out of his pockets and straightened.

An old man emerged first, white head bobbing as he stepped down onto the stones. He was clad in typical archivist attire—black pants, waistcoat, and overcoat that highlighted a stark white dress shirt. The man was without a top hat, despite the chill in the air. His gaze roamed over the scene, pausing on Samuel.

Master Ryerson.

Blast it boy, again. Again! Until you get it correct you won’t leave this room.

Of course it would be him.

Ryerson’s gaze was as cold as the night air and cut as deep as the bitter wind. The old man’s lips turned up in a sneer even as his gaze roamed over Samuel, no doubt cataloguing his appearance for future reference. Another set of data gathered and stored in that cold, clockwerk mind. Hate coursed through Samuel, though for once he didn’t know if the emotion came from Ryerson or himself.

Empathic, that had been the term Ryerson spat at him when Samuel was barely old enough to understand the meaning. A curse Samuel was constantly punished for possessing, despite not being able to prevent it from happening. It took him years of practice, of shutting everyone out, before he’d been able to function in the Archives as a member. Not that Ryerson ever gave him credit for his accomplishments, instead radiating disgust as he beat Samuel for his faults.

Since joining the King’s Sentry four years ago, Samuel had managed to avoid seeing the Guild Master. The halls of the Tower were a safe haven for him, one where he could burrow deep, far away from the prying eyes of the Archives and the Masters who ran it. Of course now that he had risen to the rank of sergeant and was the lead investigator on many cases, a meeting had become inevitable.

You’ll never make apprentice if you don’t listen. Now stop crying, boy. Do it again. Properly this time.

Ryerson deserved no reaction from him. Samuel wasn’t a child to be bullied any longer.

He should have suspected that fate was working against him when Ryerson’s sneer turned into a smirk. With his gaze still fixed on Samuel, he stepped to the side and held out his hand. Samuel’s heart rate increased as Piper Smith slipped her fingers into Ryerson’s waiting grasp and gracefully stepped from the carriage. Looking up, Piper observed the scene, her gaze landing immediately on the corpse.

She’d grown even more beautiful than the last time he’d seen her. And this time she wasn’t crying.

Those tears were one of the few things he could clearly remember from that night five years ago. Her thick brown hair unbound and blowing around her, and tears that streaked her cheeks. Blinding panic had muted him of his words, robbed him of his reason and eventually sealed his memories away behind a silent chant of run, run, run.

“Pip.” He shouldn’t have spoken, it went against protocol, but he needed her to see him.

Sam, don’t leave me.

Her body stiffened and her lips parted as her gaze snapped up to his. Her surprise was easy for him to feel, the warmth of her shock and pleasure stretched out to fire every fiber within him. He’d missed that, the brush of her emotions against his mind. She’d been one of the few who’d always been able to soothe him, her kindness a balm against his battered soul.

His Piper.

Christine d'Abo © 2013

 

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