Book Blitz & Excerpt: The Courtesan and Mr. Hyde, by Catherine Stein

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The Courtesan and Mr. Hyde

Mad Scientists Society, Book 1

by Catherine Stein

Historical Romance, Steampunk Romance

Date Published: August 16, 2022

Publisher: Steam Cat Press

 

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Sometimes the path to true love is a walk on the wicked side.

Dr. Henry Jekyll has—almost—always lived by the rules. Hoping to improve society by separating a person’s good and evil halves, Hal tests an experimental potion on himself. When the drug lowers his usual inhibitions, Hal crashes a high-class party, downs a strong drink, and propositions a sophisticated courtesan. All in the name of science, of course.

Calliope Finch needs only six more months as a glamorous mistress to earn enough to open the library of her dreams. So when Callie meets the awkward, bookish party crasher calling himself Mr. Hyde, she knows nothing can come of it. Not when his curious charm and unfailing honesty come at the expense of his bank account. All she can spare him is a kiss and maybe one night.

Spurred on by their unwavering attraction, Hal and Callie soon become friends and scientific collaborators. But Callie’s list of potential protectors is dwindling, Hal’s potion might not be the solution he hopes, and a mysterious enemy is making mischief at every turn. With their goals slipping ever further from reach, Hal and Callie must put their minds and hearts to the test. Even if it means freeing sides of themselves they’ve long kept hidden.

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Excerpt

She needed to get back to work. Nothing could come of wasting her time flirting with this mysterious party-crasher. No matter how intriguing he was.

“It is quite the extravagant affair,” the man said. His gaze fixed on Callie, sweeping up and down her body. “I’m glad I came. Mr. Ackner’s stoves may be second-rate, but his guests certainly are not.” Again, his face twitched a bit. Callie had the impression he wasn’t accustomed to speaking so boldly. Perhaps the alcohol had loosened his tongue.

She tried to quash her curiosity. It was time to move on. She glanced around, seeking potential wealthy lovers. That bastard Hinsberg caught her eye and gave her a wink. Callie quickly turned her gaze away. She could overlook the fact that he was twice her age, but he was cold and cruel, and that was entirely unacceptable.

She took hold of the party-crasher’s arm and steered him toward the exit, telling Hinsberg without words she was otherwise occupied. The young man flinched at her touch but didn’t try to pull away, allowing her to lead him out into the hall.

“Are we headed to a private chamber for amorous purposes?” he asked, a hopeful note in his voice. He thrust a hand into a pocket. “I brought coins. How much do your services cost?”

Callie shook her head, trying not to laugh at his bizarre naivety.
“More than you have.”

“Oh.” His shoulders slumped.

Callie tossed back the remainder of her champagne and set the empty glass on a decorative table in the middle of the corridor. Ackner could pay for new furniture if it left rings. Her companion looked down at his own half-finished drink, then shrugged and discarded it.

“Perhaps a small subset of your services?” he offered. “I have…” He made a quick check. “Two dollars and forty-seven cents.”


 About the Author

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort.

She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

Her books are full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious kids. She loves steampunk and Oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in Renaissance Festival clothing, drinking copious amounts of tea.

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Book Blitz & Excerpt: Dead Dukes Tell No Tales, by Catherine Stein

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Dead Dukes Tell No Tales
Sass and Steam, Book 3

by Catherine Stein

Steampunk Romance, Historical Romance

Release Date: July 9, 2021

Publisher: Steam Cat Press

Airship pirates, mysterious inventions, and a treasure beyond compare? All in a duke’s work.

Chicago scrap metal mogul Clifford Kinsley has never encountered an obstacle he couldn’t dismantle. Until he inherits a dukedom burdened with mountains of debt, stifling rules, and people who want to ship his seven-year-old daughter off to boarding school. He’s stuck with the title for life. Which leaves only one solution: kill the duke. And for that, he’ll need the assistance of a professional.

Sabine Diebin, the infamous pirate captain La Capitaine, has one final treasure to find before she settles down to a well-deserved retirement. Unfortunately, the key to finding her prize is buried somewhere in the mess left behind by the late Duke of Hartleigh. To speed up her search, Sabine makes a deal with the oddly charming new duke-next-door. If he sorts through her clutter, she’ll help him disappear.

Working together, Cliff and Sabine uncover a trail of clues that sends them on a world-wide search for a potentially life-changing device. With their combined skills, they can dodge murderous enemies and unravel baffling messages, but they can’t deny their growing bond or the desire sparking between them. Pirates don’t have partners. But if they dare to open their hearts, they might discover that the greatest treasures of all can’t be buried.

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Excerpt

The leftovers of the Mad Duke.” He huffed a little laugh.

Yes. I understand you run a scrap collection business? Perhaps I could employ you to haul everything away.”

I was in the recycling business.” His mouth tightened into a hard line. “Now, unfortunately, I’m a goddamned duke, if you’ll pardon my French.”

Sabine tried not to laugh. She really did. But he was so delightfully, blunt-spokenly American.

Has your new title destroyed your ability to pluck valuable bits from the rubbish?”

He adjusted his spectacles, assessing her with a steady gaze. His eyes were an icy blue, like the glacial caves in the Alps—quiet, still, and eerily beautiful.

I don’t expect it has, no.”

Since we are neighbors, maybe you would like to lend your expertise and help me straighten out this mess of a house? As payment, you may keep what you wish of the saleable items. After I have taken any that are of interest to me, of course.”

Hartleigh folded his arms across his chest. “Why, may I ask, did you purchase this house and all the items in it if you didn’t want them?”

I do want them. Or, rather, I want some of them. There are items in this collection, purchased long ago, that are of great interest to me, if only I can find them in the mess.”

So you’re a collector yourself, then.”

She chuckled. “More of a treasure hunter.”

See, Daddy?” Lola grinned at her father. “I told you!”

You told him I was a treasure hunter?” Sabine asked.

No. I told him you were a pirate.”

Oh, God.” Hartleigh put a hand to his temple. “I’m so sorry. Pirates are her new favorite thing. The trip across the ocean was very long, and we’d just read Treasure Island together…”

Please, don’t apologize.”

He leaned so far forward he rocked the piano bench onto the front two legs. “No, I must. I’m sure there’s some way I could have better explained that you don’t call your new neighbor a pirate, even if she does collect treasure, and…”

But I am a pirate,” Sabine said. “Haven’t you heard of the infamous La Capitaine? I am she.”

Hartleigh gaped at her. “I, uh…” Before he could stammer a coherent word, the piano bench slipped, sending the peculiar new duke tumbling to the floor with a resounding crash.

Dead Dukes Tell No Tales Blitz

About the Author

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her books are full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious kids. She loves steampunk and Oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in Renaissance Festival clothing, drinking copious amounts of tea.

 

 

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Spotlight & Excerpt: Priceless, by Catherine Stein

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Priceless
Sass and Steam, Book 2
Catherine Stein

Steampunk Romance

Date Published: November 20, 2020

 

He’ll pay any price to win her. But her artist’s heart is not for sale.

Raised in a squalid factory, Evan Tagget has battled his way to the top. Now a multi-millionaire, he runs a global empire of telecommunication devices, mechanical dragons, and clockwork gadgets. Evan can buy anything he wants.

Except the love of the brazen artist who barges into his life.

Violet Dayton has made her living painting forgeries, scrimping and saving toward her true passion: a grand Paris art exhibition to display her work and the art of the friends who have always looked out for her. But a corrupt police inspector knows her secrets, and the only way to escape his clutches is to track down the master art thief plaguing museums across Europe.

With the aid of Evan’s money and connections, Violet knows she can catch her thief, but she hadn’t counted on her powerful attraction to the arrogant millionaire, or the complex, passionate layers beneath his cool exterior. With enemies everywhere, she’ll have to trust Evan with her life. Her heart, though, she guards closely. And the only way he’ll ever win her is to prove he knows the true value of love.

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Excerpt

I have a proposition for you, Mr. Tagget.”

His neatly trimmed eyebrows twitched. “Excellent!”

Ack, that smug smile. The man was too handsome for his own good, and he knew it. Vi didn’t know whether she’d rather kiss that mouth or punch it.

The grainy magazine photograph she’s scrounged up hadn’t done him justice. It made him look older, more serious. It didn’t show the single stray lock of hair curling across his forehead or the dimples at the corners of his mouth, too prominent to hide beneath his short goatee. It failed entirely to capture that wicked glint in his eye. He wasn’t the cold, merciless industrialist she’d imagined. His blood ran hot.

She’d also imagined him to be quite a bit taller. Standing here, staring at him, they looked exactly the same height.

You and I are going to enter a partnership, Mr. Tagget.”

Oh, are we?” He managed to both leer and sound suspicious.

You have heard, I assume, of the rash of art thefts over the past few months?”

That fool who styles himself ‘l’Exploiteur’? Is he the mastermind he claims, or just a braggart?”

I’m told he has stolen near to fifty works of art, mainly from private collections and small galleries. His thefts grow bigger and bolder, and he has begun to taunt major galleries and museums with the promise of the greatest heists ever seen.”

Well, that does sound dire, though I fail to see how it is of relevance to myself.” His dark brows quirked again. “Unless you are this Exploiter? If so, then I absolutely agree to join you on your next heist. What are we stealing?”

No!” Vi put both hands on her hips. “Oh, for heaven’s sake, I’m not an art thief.”

More’s the pity. I could use an interesting challenge.”

I’m an artist,” Violet huffed. “I create, I don’t destroy. I want my work on display, where it can be enjoyed by all.”

Tagget stroked his beard. “Hmm. What, then, is your concern with this pilferer of cultural treasures?”

I’m trying to learn his identity and put a stop to his crimes.”

How noble,” he chuckled. “Standing up for the dead masters who can no longer defend their works?”

Obnoxious ass. She really was going to punch him right in his pretty mouth, then storm out and find herself a different assistant.

Violet clenched her fingers. Rich businessmen with questionable ethics and worldwide communications networks couldn’t be found loitering on any street corner. She was lucky to even have the opportunity to speak with him.

I was asked to help in this case because of my own connections in the art world,” she explained, trying not to glower.

He frowned at her, causing a small furrow in his brow. “Your connections? What sort of connections would a lady artist have that would be of any use in this situation? Unless…” The frown twisted into a smile. “You’re involved in illicit dealings yourself, naturally. A forger, perhaps?” He twitched. “Well, I’ll be damned. Are you Vérité? But of course you are. ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty.’ Though you look rather youthful for someone who they say has been working for fifty years and faked three hundred paintings.”

Ten years, twenty-seven forgeries. Many haven’t been discovered, and many works have been incorrectly attributed to me.”

With her police file as thick as a Bible, Violet didn’t see any need to hide her deeds, and she was proud of the work she had done. Tagget looked momentarily surprised by her admission, then his smile returned.

Fascinating. You made a deal with the authorities, I presume? But you need assistance. Why me?”

I heard you were kicked out of the United States for spying.”

Tagget’s green eyes twinkled. “Now, my lovely blossom, you mustn’t believe every rumor you hear. I bent some laws, perhaps, but didn’t precisely break them. People did take exception, however, so I thought it best to focus on my European interests until the furor dies down.”

Violet turned up her nose at him. “I don’t care about the details. I care that you’re a teletics expert. Can you or can you not record information over a telephone or telegraph line?”

I can. Most of it is irrelevant chatter. Sifting through is usually a waste of time.”

And you’re an inventor?” she pressed on. “You can build things, and understand how machines work? You could dismantle them if necessary?”

A smile of a different sort touched his lips. More boyish, maybe even happier. “I could break through that mechanical door behind me with no more than a screwdriver, given enough time.”

Then you’re the man I need.”

He fixed her with a heated stare. “I’m pleased you think so.” The husky timbre of his voice sent a shiver down her spine. “I accept your proposal. When do we begin?”

About the Author

 

Award-winning author Catherine Stein believes that everyone deserves love and that Happily Ever After has the power to help, to heal, and to comfort. She writes sassy, sexy romance set during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her books are full of action, adventure, magic, and fantastic technologies.

Catherine lives in Michigan with her husband and three rambunctious girls. She loves steampunk and Oxford commas, and can often be found dressed in Renaissance Festival clothing, drinking copious amounts of tea.

Contact Links

Website

Twitter

Facebook

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