by Bec McMaster
TANTALIZINGLY SEXY WITH a degree of danger, Heart of Iron (London Steampunk 2), by Bec McMaster, skillfully blends steampunk and paranormal romance into a captivating and entertaining adventure.
Helena Todd – or Lena – appears to be a flirtatious debutante mingling in London’s dangerous blue blood elite world – the Echelon. Nobody suspects her of being a sympathizer for the humanist organization determined to destroy the Echelon, making her the perfect spy.
Will Carver, “The Beast,” is ruthless and deadly. Fiercely loyal, Will’s priority is to keep Whitechapel safe from the Echelon. When the beautiful Lena visits Whitechapel, Will accidentally uncovers a cryptic message on her very similar to the one he pulled from a rebel suspect. He realizes she’s in danger. Stubborn as she is beautiful, Will must learn that the way to gain Lena’s trust is not through brutish demands but a game of seduction – a game he is determined to win.
I like Heart of Iron even more than Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk 1) because I connected with Lena and Will better. I appreciate their imperfection and enjoy their growth. Lena is initially introduced as a slightly immature, young lady with a grudge against Will for an unreturned kiss some years ago. And Will is a werewulfen easily driven beyond reason. But as the story unfolds, Ms. McMaster grooms Will into a hero of ages and matures Lena with a “heart of iron.”
Will and Lena’s romance was very sensual and tasteful. On the surface, both are constantly at odds with one another. The tension is pleasant with a bit of give and take. I didn’t feel like I wanted to strangle them for their insufferable blindness to the other’s true intentions. When a key event puts Lena’s life in danger, the walls they resurrected around their hearts come crashing down and they finally succumbed to their true feelings for one another. Their story becomes immensely better as their dialogue becomes more honest. Their flirtatious conversations were sweet with a touch of humor. It will no doubt appeal to romance fans as their happiness is very infectious and dare I say…cute? Yes!
Though I’m happy to see Will and Lena at peace, a far greater threat is brewing in the streets of London as vampires, werewolves, humanists, and a clockwork army are on the verge of a battle. I look forward to finding out what happens next in My Lady Quicksilver (London Steampunk 3).