Kiss of Steel is a fast paced, action romance that will leave you swooning and make you wonder why you haven’t picked up this series before.
[Some Spoilers; Mature Audiences]
Rating: 5 of 5 stars
Almost three years ago, Funmbi recommended this book to me. If she loves something, chances are, so will I. Needless to say when spring break rolled around, I picked it back up and gave it a re-read because we all need those comfort books! The ones that take us to a completely different time and feel like we’re visiting old friends again.
Her gaze flicked his way. “You’re staring.”
“Can’t ‘elp meself,” he replied. “You were made to be stared at.”
That’s what Kiss of Steel is for me.
This novel is a paranormal steampunk romance, and the first in the London Steampunk series by Bec McMaster. She creates a detailed and vivid world with her reimagining of London.
The city is ruled over by the Echelon. They’re blue bloods, which is a lesser version of a vampire. They can control their thirst and believe themselves to be above humans. As a blue blood ages, they begin the Fade which turns them into a vampire.
Vampires are slaves to their hunger and have no way of controlling themselves. They’ll kill indiscriminately until they’re put down. Because of their nature, and a rash of killings years earlier by several vampires at once, the Echelon decreed that any blue blood near the Fade would be killed before they’re able to turn.
This prompts the blue bloods to fund scientists that search for a cure for the virus or at least slow it down.
Honoria Todd worked with her father in such a laboratory for one of the ranking family’s of the Echelon. However, their master turns on them, causing Honoria’s father to help her and siblings flee. He stays behind, and they never hear from him again.
Six months later, Honoria is living day-to-day in the rookeries while supporting her brother and sister. Lena, her younger sister, works in a clockwork shop, and Charlie is sick. In fact, he’s so sick that Honoria isn’t sure how she’s going to pay the doctor’s bills.
Whitechapel isn’t the safest place in the city, but it’s a good place to disappear. She’s successfully done so for months, then she finally gets a call from the Devil of Whitechapel himself, Blade. He’s ruled the rookeries for years and the Echelon dare not cross him. He’s what they consider a rogue blue blood. He was turned at fifteen, but he doesn’t come from one of the upper crust families. Normally, he would have been killed or sent to work in the guard of Nighthawks that are blue bloods that were accidentally turned and proved to be worth something.
Blade escaped the Echelon and their Ivory Tower, though, and made a home in Whitechapel.
When he meets Honoria Todd, he knows exactly who she is, but he keeps that close to his chest. She’s been living under a false name this whole time, but Blade’s a smart man and put two-and-two together when a bounty went up for a group of siblings and their arrival in Whitechapel coincided with it.
The time has come for her to ask for protection, though. She can only stay hidden for so long before someone comes for her or a Slasher gang decides to cash in on the reward. So far they believe she’s under Blade’s protection, but now is the time for it to really happen.
“You’ve been six months in me turf and not paid a visit,” he said. “That ain’t polite, dove. It ain’t wise for a woman to be without protection. You been lucky so far. People been wonderin’ if you and I ‘ad struck a deal. Now they’re wonderin’ if I woulda care if you went missin’.” He flicked the cheroot over a small tray and the ashes crumbled. “Consider this a polite warnin’ and an offer. You won’t be unmolested for long.”
What follows is an amazing romance riddle with mystery and action. The steampunk London setting is so cool. Their weapons, the mechanical engineering of the carriages and even people’s limbs is incredible. It’s still so very historical in custom, but little things are weaved throughout so seamlessly, that you don’t even question them.
Then there are the characters. The supporting ones are all well-rounded and not just background. They have lives and personalities. Their loyalty to Blade matches his to them and solidifies that family isn’t something defined by blood relationships.
I cannot say enough good things about Honoria Todd either. She’s had such a hard life and upbringing. She was emotionally abused by her father’s master, and pursued by him after she escaped. He wants to break her, but he doesn’t understand that Honor can’t be broken by him. After she’s lived in the rookery, there’s not much that frightens her.
Her relationship with Blade starts out strained, but as she realizes he’s not like the other blue bloods she has known, she opens up to him. There’s so much going on in her life, and she has no one to lean on because she has to be strong for her siblings.
As Charlie’s illness gets worse, and she loses her job, Honoria knows she has to agree to Blade’s proposal and become his thrall.
Blade knows from the beginning that Honoria is different to him. He doesn’t just want her in his bed, he wants to protect her…he wants her stay. He jealous and stubborn but so very loyal. His family is his life, and once Honoria becomes his, her family becomes his own.
The urge to protect her was suddenly overwhelming. Honoria was not the sort of women to welcome such attentions, and he wasn’t sure why he felt such a strong inclination. After their first meeting, he was fairly certain she’d spit in the eye of the devil himself. She needed someone to watch over her, but she’d be damned if she’d admit it.
Throughout the novel, they weather storms together and gain strength as a couple. Tied with the blood taking is some serious sexual tension and situations. You’ll finish reading them and be a bit flushed and that’s no lie at all.
“I want to be inside you,” he growled. “I want to feel you come ’round me.” Standing, he dragged her hips to the edge of the dresser. The towel hit the floor. “I want to own you.”
“You do.” She gasped as he rubbed his erection between her thighs. It was exquiste torture against her heated flesh. She writhed helplessly, tormented by the brooding storm beneath her skin. It hurt to keep it contained.
“Only me,” he demanded.
Just…UNF. And Blade, yeah, he has a cockney accent. I was of little use while reading this book, to be honest, and most of it has to do with Blade, his accent, and his possessiveness. He’s the hero you want, need and deserve.
The main conflict of the story is a vampire that is loose in Whitechapel. No one knows who he is or how he was able to reach the Fade before he was executed, but Blade must stop him before he brings the Echelon down on the rookery and they decide to never leave. It’s through this vampire, that all sorts of secrets start spilling out from the highest members of the Echelon.
There are so many twists and turns in his book, and Bec McMaster artfully handles this world. The final showdown will keep you on the edge of your seat.
One click this book immediately. You don’t know what you’re missing!