One of the ways I keep motivated while plotting and writing is to use a Pintrest board for inspiration. For a particular book or world it can hold all kinds of inspiration and ideas that I may incorporate as I write it. Here is a glimpse at my board for the newest story I’m working on, Seducing The Assassin (The Ladies League). It is chock full of fun steampunk renderings by artists, models wearing steampunk inspired fashions, and some totally hot dudes…’cause, you know…hot dudes. 🙂
(Click the image to see the full color board on Pintrest)
London 1842, New Victorian Era
Josephine Stanton, Madame and assassin, has received another assignment from her primary client, Her Majesty Queen Victoria. Granted, most of her jobs come from The Bureau of Steam Technology on her behalf, but she prefers to think of herself as working for her Queen. Content with her life, she sets up her mark only to have her entire world turned upside down and everything she’s worked for put in jeopardy.
John Griffin, the Earl of Melton, is a man of many secrets. A former soldier, he was recalled from the life he loved in order to replace his father as Earl. But with the advent of steam technology, he has found a way to re-engage his analytical side–too bad its more controversial than is proper for a peer of the realm. Walking a fine line as he balances appearances he is not prepared for the beautiful woman who has come to kill him.
Neither of the pair expects the heat that steams them up between the sheets and ultimately sets New Victorian London on its ear.
And here’s a little sample…
Jo tracked the incongruous gentleman from beneath lowered lashes as he lumbered through the grand foyer of The Market. Her special customers were not typically challenging to spot, especially for someone of her specific skill set. But this man was more disparate than normal.
Regardless, his presence made it clear she would be required to kill again. Soon.
The actual act of killing someone had long ago ceased to bother her, but something about this man caused uneasy ripples to slither across her skin. Despite her discomfort, she had a role to play and a brothel full of guests as her audience. After all, as Madame La Roux, the owner of one of the most exclusive houses of pleasure in all of London, she could never let them see her sweat, no matter how much society turned the steam up.
Taking a deep breath in fortification, she glided down the steps to welcome her newest customer. He glanced up at the first rustle of her dress and stood waiting for her as she descended. A calculated study in sensuality, every movement was practiced with the purpose of stoking a man’s desires. The short fringe of ruffles guarding the apex of her thighs but left every tantalizing inch of her hosiery clad legs exposed until they disappeared into her calf boots. A purposeful–and practical–display, that by all accounts left the man’s frigid stare unmoved. Not a flicker of desire. She suspected the differences from the usual messengers would only continue from there. Normally they stood there waiting for her, nervous and twitchy. She would arrive in front of them and they would stammer and stare as they presented her the token. Hands warm and clammy, the metal disc transferred from their hand to hers.
Would this cold man’s hands be warm and clammy as he handed over the disc? Would the aura of excitement be palpable when he came into proximity? No, not this man. This time they sent her someone who knew what he was doing, knew that he was initiating a chain reaction that would result in a life being snuffed out, and he could not have been more indifferent to the whole situation.
Arriving in the foyer, she strode across the empty space allowing her confidence to shine through. She would not allow him to sense her fear of him, or more correctly his indifference. “Good evening sir, I understand you wished to speak with me?” She allowed her long lashes to dip and shield her eyes from his probing gaze.
“Madame La Roux it is a pleasure to meet you. I was told to present this token and I would be treated accordingly.” He held out the coin pinched between two fingers.
Jo held out her palm, letting it drop into her hand while avoiding touching him in any way. Now she would have to determine which of her girls could handle this man. Indifference was a danger in a man seeking the company of a woman, she should choose a girl strong enough to manage him without getting herself into trouble. There was only one available girl she could trust, Katerina. Accomplished in both the sexual arts and the more lethal arts of an assassin she could manage this man and extricate herself if required. “I believe I have the perfect lady for you, monsieur. Please follow me.” She allowed her fake French accent to lace her words.
“Of course, I defer to your expertise Madame.” He bowed and held out his arm for her to take.
Jo placed her hand in the crook of his elbow, suppressed the urge to shudder, and then led him into the main salon. “La, you must tell me your name.”
“You may call me Mr. Xavier.”
She nodded, easily accepting what she knew to be a false name. It was part of her daily business life whether working as an assassin or arranging a client for one of her girls. The ladies of The Market were some of the most beautiful in London, and maybe even all of Europe, though that may have been her overweening pride. The steamlanterns cast a soft glow around the room illuminating the ladies in the most artful way. Katerina sat near the fire allowing the orange flames to catch the golden flecks of her hair highlighting the flattering fall of silk over one shoulder. Her blue eyes slanted up at the corners, not unlike Jo’s own, and were framed by khol smudged lashes that were the envy of every woman in London. She led Mr. Xavier over to Katerina and made the introductions. Jo casually fluttered her fingers at her neck as she spoke, letting Katerina know that this one was to be handled carefully. He was a wild card and not to be trusted.
The gentleman joined the blonde on the couch where they began to chat intimately. Jo departed quietly, letting the pair go about their business. With the heavy token searing her skin like a brand, she made her way upstairs to change her clothes for her meeting. Her services were required by Queen and country.
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