Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
A Spy. An Airship. And a Broken Heart.
After losing her husband to a rogue French agent, Charlotte Moncrieffe wants to make her mark in international espionage. And what could be better for recovering secret long-lost documents from the Palais Garnier than her stealth dirigible, Gossamer Wing? Her spymaster father has one condition: He won’t send her to Paris without an ironclad cover.
Dexter Hardison prefers inventing to politics, but his title as Makesmith Baron and his formidable skills make him an ideal husband-imposter for Charlotte. And the unorthodox undercover arrangement would help him in his own field of discovery.
But from Charlotte and Dexter’s marriage of convenience comes a distraction—a passion that complicates an increasingly dangerous mission. For Charlotte, however, the thought of losing Dexter also opens her heart to a thrilling new future of love and adventure.
I'm sure many of you are familiar with the name, Delphine Dryden. She made geeks sexy with The Science of Temptation series (The Theory of Attraction, The Seduction Hypothesis) which I'm sure a lot of you have either read or want to read. I, for one, wasn't so keen on reading that particular contemporary series because I'm a little wary of erotica right now. Then I saw Steam and Seduction and I knew that there's no way I'm going to pass up reading this instead.
Steam and Seduction is a Steampunk series and GOSSAMER WING is the first novel about spies, gadgets and lots of virginal but raunchy sexy times! I enjoyed the world-building of this series, it's like a Victorian cold war where the action happens behind the scenes and a great crisis is avoided because of stealth and cunning courtesy of unsung and undercover heroes. The technology described and altered versions of France and other places were fascinating and very imaginative which fired up my imagination and provided a great escape.
She's intriguing, this Lady Moncrieffe, with her mourning turned to espionage and her father who was willing to pander her to him on a temporary basis is necessary.
For novels in this vein, I'm used to the hero being in the forefront and carrying the novel with the heroine, side by side. It's a great change to have the heroine do that instead and Charlotte Moncrieffe didn't let me down as she held up to her spy status really well. Her character holds interesting contrasts which I liked: she's brave, cunning and a daredevil spy; soft, flirty and girly as a woman; and a passionate virgin in bed. She's what I consider a Lady in the parlor and a Mistress in the boudoir.
And I guess DDryden didn't stray too far from her sexy geeks because Dexter Hardison is one gorgeous brainiac. He's an inventor and his knowledge about technology and what-not proved to be instrumental in the success of Charlotte's mission. But don't let his high IQ fool you, Dexter is a frickin' stallion in bed and he really brought a lot of punk and steam in the sack.
Loving her as he did, so furiously that it pained him, he should surely be able to keep her alive through sheer force of emotion.
DDryden nailed the romance part perfectly. However I can't share the same enthusiasm over the narrative, it was a slow start and dragged on some parts. I personally would've preferred more dialogue than narration and more combat side by side with the spying. But like I said, the world building was pretty cool and I also loved how the villain's POV was incorporated into the story instead of staying in the shadows.
Overall, GOSSAMER WING is a good first book, it may be a slow start for me but it has enough grit to get me reading the next book. And unlike other Steampunk series, Steam and Seduction didn't have paranormal elements to it which is a good switch from the ones I've previously read. In hindsight, maybe that's also one reason why I struggled getting acclimated to the story because I have to 'adjust' to the texture of the setting. Steam and Seduction also features different couples and storylines in every installment so we get to explore more of this fantastic world DDryden created and not be stuck in one specific setting.
Other books in the series