Author: Seleste deLaney
Genre: Steampunk, Fantasy, Romance.
Publisher: Carina Press
“After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.
Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.
As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands— if death doesn't find them first...”
Ever, Commander of the Queen’s Border Guards of the Badlands finds herself in the middle of battle after a surprise attack in their lands. Soon after, she learns that Queen Lavinia has been assassinated. As her duty she needs to bring back as soon as possible the heir to the throne, Princess Laurette who is in Philadelphia. Before the Badlands get affected with more chaos after the dead of their leader the new ruler must be instated.
Ever is gravely injured in battle, but this doesn’t stop her. From the top of a hill she is able to signal an airship, the Dark Hawk, and is brought on board.
Captain Spencer Pierce is in route to the Badlands to make delivery of goods. He needs the money of this delivery to pay off the debt he has with Congressman Mason for the Dark Hawk to be his. After picking up Ever, he learns that the Badlands are under attack and it will be impossible for him to land and finish this run.
Ever asked for his assistance in exchange for the money he needs to pay off the Dark Hawk’s debt. He is intrigue by Ever and maybe a little bit attracted to her too. So he decides to help her and set course toward Philadelphia.
During their trip they will fight more than their attraction; they will fight forces that want them to fail in their mission.
Ever is a very likable character, she is strong and focus, completely loyal to the Queen and the Badlands. She is an Amazon style warrior in all the sense of the word.
Spencer is not your typical hero; he’s a mild mannered man, with a nondescript body but at the same time he has “something” that makes him a very attractive man. The development of their attraction is well pace and realistic.
The supporting characters are a nice complement to the story; they provide us with more than one “what” moment.
My final thought: This short novel was a very entertaining read. I like the steampunk factor. Setting the story in the dirigible Dark Hawk make it different and interesting.
I love the idea of the Badlands’ matriarchy, with its “Amazon” style warriors; I think this was a fresh difference from other books.
I would love for Mrs. DeLaney to have a next installment (full novel length) based more in the Badlands and its female power government.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other Reviews: Goodreads