Start: March 6, 2014 at 8:00 Pacific
End: March 12, 2014 at 12:00AM Pacific
Welcome to the Steampunk Revelry! Care to dance? How about a glass of merlot? Today we celebrate author AVA MORGAN’s newest release, THE ARMORED DOCTOR! It’s a romantic steampunk tale of mechanical armor, dangerous spies, and the power of compassion, set in her Curiosity Chronicles series.
Read the excerpt of THE ARMORED DOCTOR, play the TwoChops crossword puzzle game, and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win a sparkly Steampunk skeleton key necklace or a $10 Gift Card from the Coffee Time Romance eBook Store.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Mark and Sam!
Excerpt from The Armored Doctor
Abigail’s reaction to the gas was worse than Jacob thought. Even as its effects wore off him shortly after he entered the hallway outside of the auditorium, she did nothing but giggle as he led her to his office. Now, as he attempted to step over the correspondence he scattered over the floor in haste earlier, he grew concerned over her behavior.
“What a funny picture.” Voice inordinately high and giddy, she giggled at a painting of a pastoral landscape hanging on the wall above his desk.
He knew he should never have picked her out from the audience as a volunteer, but how could he ignore her when she pumped her hand in the air and stood on tiptoe? He reasoned that letting her assist him would cause less of a scene than her attempting to leap over the heads of the other lecture attendees.
How wrong he was. She hit the lever on the gauntlet gun and sent the whole lecture hall into a cloud of nitrous oxide. Students fled the hall, leaving books and overturned chairs in their wake. Judging from the cacophony of chortles outside due to the laughing gas, it would be several minutes before anyone could reach his office. Surely by then he could get Miss Abigail Benton to stop giggling.
“Miss Benton, I think you should sit down.” Jacob pulled out one of the chairs in front of his desk.
Instead of walking to the chair, Abigail plopped herself on the desk, oblivious to the stacks of papers that spilled under her. She wobbled, her shoulders tilting. “Oh, my, I feel quite dizzy.”
Jacob steadied her with one hand while touching her forehead with the other. “You’re a bit warm. You’re experiencing a side effect of the gas.”
“You have lovely eyes.” She raised her chin and gazed at him with large, dilated pupils. “They’re light blue and clear as icicles.”
“I—” Jacob pushed his spectacles higher on the bridge of his nose. “Icicles?”
“You really shouldn’t hide them behind those spectacles.” Abigail swiped at them with a clumsy hand, leaving three fingerprints on the lenses.
Jacob thought about the accident that made his eyes sensitive to bright light and forced him to wear them in certain environments. “It’s not something that can be helped.”
“I can help. Allow me.” She tugged the spectacles off his face.
“Give those back.”
Shaking her head with a lopsided smile, she him them behind her.
“I am not in the mood for games, Miss Benton. Ouch.”
She caught a portion of his hair between her fingers and tugged. “How peculiar your hair color. You’re too young to have gray.”
Jacob winced as she tugged again, attempting to keep his neck straight. “That hue is the result of a trauma experienced during the field campaigns in India. As is the scar over my left eye.”
Her features contorted as sympathy competed with the residual giddiness on her face. “You poor man.”
Despite the effects of the gas, Jacob sensed that her response was genuine. To which, he didn’t know what to say.
“I find your hair quite fetching.” Her fingers glided through the strands to land gently on the scar over his eye. “And your scar.”
He closed his left eye and froze as her warm touch caressed his brow and slid down the length of his scar to his cheek. She hadn’t the foggiest idea what she was saying. His injuries made him repulsive, not fetching. And the ones hidden underneath his layers of clothing were far worse. “Miss Benton, I think that you ought to lie down until the effects of the gas wear off. But first I need to take back that gauntlet.”
He took her hand from his face. She found the lapels of his coat to grab instead. With surprising strength, she pulled him down for a very passionate and unexpected kiss.
Abigail’s kiss was just as warm and fevered as her brow. Her soft lips moved under his as she pulled him further down. Jacob caught the edges of the desk before he could fall on top of her. Unaware of his flailing, Abigail continued to press her mouth against his, still holding him by the lapels in an iron grip.
Her scent enveloped him in soft vanilla. Jacob found his eyes closing, his tactile senses coming alive as he felt her creamy-soft skin and the tickle of her hair against his cheek. He had been without the touch of a woman for so long that he almost believed that Abigail’s contact was real, that she welcomed him with open arms.
But her embrace was only the nitrous oxide talking.
Jacob broke free and came up for air. “Get a hold of yourself.” He spoke for himself as much as he did for her.
Abigail threw back her head. Auburn hair, loosened of its severe knot, tumbled over her shoulders in tangles and embedded pins. Hardly a caption of coiffed glory, but the absence of structure lent a playful edge. A blush crept onto her cheeks.
“You need a glass of water.” Jacob extended his right arm to grab hold of the pitcher on a side table.
“Such a gentleman,” she uttered before slumping against his shoulder.
“Miss Benton?” He shook her. Her cheek squashed against the epaulet of his coat as she sank against him. Her eyes may as well have been welded shut. She passed out like a furloughed sailor on a tavern spree.
Jacob grabbed her around the waist and supported her weight as he pulled her off the desk. His right leg buckled under their combined weight, but he retained balance as he backed up to the armchair by the curtained window. The COIC Secretary’s alarmed voice sounded at the door.
“Valerian, what in heaven’s name are you doing to that woman?”
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a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you solve the puzzle, please let me know by including your score when you enter the Rafflecopter. Those who finish the puzzle and leave a comment will be entered into the drawing for a prize!
The contest will be open for five days, Monday through Friday.
Before we strike up the waltz, let me take a moment to introduce myself. My name is Ava Morgan. I’m a big history buff, a costumer, and an avid reader. It wasn’t until I attended a steampunk expo a few years back and met airship pirates that I realized my favorite genre actually had a name. I’ve been writing steampunk ever since.
The Curiosity Chronicles series is set in a fictional world, similar to what our own past looked like in the 1830s-40s. Yet amid this age of rival empires and steam-driven industry, you are sure to notice a few differences. This series follows the agents and affiliates of the Cabinet of Intellectual Curiosities (COIC), a group of brave men and women from very different walks of life who discover scientific feats, engineering marvels, and that most rewarding of findings, love.