I’ve been fascinated with steampunk for as long as I can remember. I didn’t always call it by this name, but it’s been around in some form or another for many years. I love not only the historical aspect, but also the super sexy outfits! It is a perfect genre in which to set an erotic romance.
Officially, steampunk is s a sub-genre of science fiction, fantasy, alternative history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s that involves a setting where steam power is still widely used. (There are many resources for steampunk – I pulled this definition from Wikipedia). Although many steampunk stories are set in Victorian England, or similar setting, my story is set in an alternate western reality.
THE OUTLAW tells the story a Damian Junter – a Bringer who works for the Eastern Aristocracy. Damian’s job is to bring the guilty to justice. He is judge, jury, and executioner for those accused of violating crimes against the East. Damian’s mission takes him to the farthest reaches of the West. In Terra Noir, Damian discovers much more than he bargained for – the man he is sent to kill, Kell Laughlin, is innocent. Kell also stirs passions in Damian he has tried a lifetime to avoid – sexual feelings forbidden in the East.
Here’s an excerpt:
The steel beast floated just above the wooden tracks.
When the engine started, it sounded more like the bellow of a monster than the hiss of steam. The hull of the beast was coated with a three-inch layer of dark gray soot and had long ago lost its luster, the once-brilliant shade of red now completely obscured. Black windows kept onlookers from seeing who was riding the locomotive, no view from within or without.
That suited Damian Junter just fine.
“Are you coming aboard, sir?” The shrill voice of the conductor was enough to make Damian’s skin crawl. It seemed to Damian as if the conductor was trying to burrow straight through his Italian leather trench coat with those beady eyes. He eyed Damian suspiciously in an attempt to figure out Damian’s past, present, and future—all in a single glance.
Apparently the conductor had never seen a Bringer before. If he had, he wouldn’t be so skeptical of the hulking man boarding the train. Compared to the thin and lanky conductor, Damian was Herculean. Ripped in hard muscle from head to toe, Damian was a force to be reckoned with to anyone unlucky enough to be placed on his hit list.
The black leather, itself coated in a black dust similar to the soot coating the train, strained over Damian’s broad chest. His massive forearms bulged from beneath the tight sleeves, undulating with each movement he made. His thick thighs threatened to burst from the skin-tight pants.
“Yes.” He handed the scrawny man his ticket.
“Traveling far?” the conductor asked.
“Yes.” Damian was going to the outermost reaches of the west, to the Pacific coast, farther than he’d ever traveled. But he only gave single-word answers to strangers. It was better that way. The less they knew about his travels, the safer they’d be.
The conductor looked disgruntled by the lack of information but let Damian pass. With a paying fare, there wasn’t much the man could do. Refusing him passage would be tantamount to theft. Not that Bringers punished average eastern folks, even if they violated the law.
A Bringer’s purpose was far loftier.
Damian climbed aboard the steel ship. If he were wearing anything but black, the soot would have left a permanent mark. But black hid everything.
And not just dirt. Even though Damian’s clothes were stretched over his massive frame, they nevertheless obscured the weapons fastened to his thighs and ankles. Most Bringers hid the tools of their trade in their luggage when they traveled. Not Damian. He was too brash, too confident for that.
Damian was not like most Bringers. He considered himself to be the Bringer. The best.
Damian had exacted more justice and taken down more outlaws in his time on the force than all other Bringers. Combined. He’d been on the front line since he was old enough to hold a gun straight and fire.
How long had it been? Two decades? Three? He’d lost track. Days melted into months that melted into years. One job after another. Bringing justice to the world, one outlaw at a time.
Being a Bringer was a job Damian loved. Hell, he cherished it. In Damian’s eyes, he did more for the country than any of the politicians of the east. Officials passed laws, spoke on boxes, made promises. But Damian made the world a safer place. Only justice could do that.
And Damian relished bringing justice.
He moved quickly down the row of seats. His long, black trench coat whipped the sides of his legs with each step he took. His knee-length, metal-heeled leather boots clinked against the steel floor of the train. Passengers, already seated and ready for the beast to fly, looked toward him with fear in their eyes.
Unlike the conductor, these people knew a Bringer when they saw one. Even men who’d never made a mistake in their lives feared Bringers. They’d quake in their polished, patent leather shoes and wet themselves at the slightest hint that a Bringer might be coming their way.
The aura of dread that accompanied the presence of a Bringer was one of the key elements of their success. No one dared disobey the ones who doled out justice, lest they find themselves on the wrong end of a Bringer’s gun.
The metal monster roared to life, and spires of dark gray steam billowed through the air. Damian’s body lurched when the engine jutted forward. He grabbed the side of one of the seats to keep from falling over.
The woman next to him gasped and looked at him with her big, blue eyes. “Pardon me, my dear sir.”
“Sorry, ma’am.” He tilted his leather Stetson in her direction. He might be able to make a grown man cry, but Damian was still a gentleman.
She batted her eyes. “Would you like to join me?” The look of fear she’d shared with the other passengers just moments before melted away and was replaced by a look of lust.
Women always reacted to Damian that way. The combination of the panic he prompted and the power he exuded was more than the female mentality could withstand, especially when confronted with his ruggedly handsome good looks.
Every woman Damian had ever been with had commented on his long black hair and how they liked the way it smoothed over their skin when he fucked them. They would remark about his green eyes, often referring to their emerald appearance. They swooned over his muscular build.
Not that he cared. He’d never found a woman yet that caught his fancy. He fucked them, but he didn’t much enjoy it.
“Thank you.” He took the seat next to the window and stared at the countryside as it shifted slowly by. Dirty, black buildings gave way to green-grassed landscapes. The gray sky was replaced by blue. Soon, even the beauty of the eastern outlands would be gone, only brown rock and dirt in its place.
The metal beast glided easily over the rugged land, guided by the rails several feet below the unnecessary wheels. But the train did not move quickly enough for Damian’s tastes. He wanted nothing more than to get to the badlands and start his next assignment. The urge to bring justice was nearly overwhelming. He cursed under his breath.
One of the most common comments I received from readers is that they’d wished THE OUTLAW was longer – that the Damian’s and Kell’s story and their battle against the East had been more fully developed.
I had always intended on THE OUTLAW to be the first in a series. It may have taken me a while, but I’m super excited to reveal that the second novella in the series will be released soon by Dreamspinner Press.
Here is an unofficial blurb:
After months of hiding out in the badlands of the west with his lover Kell, Damian finally returns to the Outlander stronghold of Terra Noir to plan a war against the east. With the tide of pubic opinion turning against the corrupt Statesman Pauline, the Outlanders make the only move they can for peace – revolution.
Although both sides are equipped with steam-powered mechanical beasts – only one side will prevail. But more than a revolution against the Aristocracy is being fought. Damian must battle his own demons too. Damian must learn whether hot sex and battle are enough to keep him with Kell, forever.
I don’t yet have a cover to share – but as soon as I do Kayla will be the first to know!
Mahalo to Kayla for having me. Damian and Kell are my two favorite characters out of all that have come to visit me in my writing cave – I hope you enjoy them as much as me!
To learn more about the Bringer and the Outlaw, please visit my website: www.rebeccaleighromance.com