Title: Geared for Pleasure
Author: Rachel Grace
Genre: Erotic Steampunk Romance
Series: Elemental Steam (Book 1)
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback, 368 Pages
ISBN-10: 0425245667 (Penguin/Berkley)
ISBN-13: 978-0425245668 (Penguin/Berkley)
Reviewed by: Sheila
The world of Theorrey runs like a well-oiled machine. The elements are in balance, passion is tamed, and the young queen is the heartbeat of it all. But in these two all-new stories of elemental steam, nothing is ever as it seems.
Demeter “Dare” Senedal is the Queen’s Chalice-her protector and closest companion. So when the queen goes missing, Dare rushes to locate her, even though the search leads her straight into trouble.
A gentleman who trades in secrets and sin, Bodhan revels in carnal delights, but when a naked and bound woman appears on his shore, he finds his hunger to possess at odds with his need to protect. As Bodhan shares his knowledge of pleasure, Dare must decide if she can trust him, both with her mission and her heart.
Seraphina always lands on her feet. After all, she is a Felidae-more feline than human-and an excellent thief. There has never been a job Phina wouldn’t take or a man who could tame her…until she meets Cyrus Arendal.
As the Queen’s Sword, Cyrus should have known better than to fall victim to a beautiful bandit. Now, to find and retrieve the moonfire dagger, he’ll need to convince Phina not to judge a man by his station, but rather by how completely he can satisfy her desires.
Quick & Dirty: A steampunk fantasy world fraught with lots of danger and “steamy” love scenes.
Opening Sentence: Dare lifted a hand to her temple and grimaced at the rough and unpleasantly aromatic material of her woven glove.
Geared for Pleasure is like a boat rallying against a storm that cannot be denied. From machines never before dreamed of in their world, to the inevitability of passion; each one is a force unto nature that you can either join in or get swept away. The epic feel of this book leaves a reader’s spirits high with the joy and rightness of fighting for what you believe in.
In the world of Theorrey, Queen Idony the Ever Young rules with two people perpetually at her side: Dare the Chalice and Cyrus the Sword. These positions are for life and are the queen’s companions and protectors. When a plot to overthrow the queen is put into action, Dare and Cyrus are set out to look for help. The first story, Earthly Desires, is about Dare’s journey whereas Fiery Temptations, is more about Cyrus’s.
This book is set up in such a way that there are two stories in one. Each story is about one couple and a single perspective but the overall plot is ongoing between the two. Reading them individually would not make any sense. Therefore, I will review them initially as separate stories.
Dare has been sent by secret messenger to seek out the ship, Deviant, and her captain for help. Unfortunately, Dare is kidnapped and knocked out cold before finding her guide. She awakens to find herself aboard a submarine that doubles as a brothel/gambling casino. For someone deathly afraid of large bodies of water, her imprisonment is two-fold. The only good thing about it is the ruggedly handsome captain, Bodhan.
Bodhan knows that the girl he saves is more than what she seems. For a man that prides himself on knowing secrets, he finds himself at a loss. She is strong yet naive, sensual yet innocent, and though she appears to be a half-breed Wode, she carries herself far above her apparent station. There is instant attraction between them. But can Bodhan find it in himself to trust someone so obviously full of secrets? Will Dare choose to honor her duty to her queen or will she give it up for the chance of happiness with Bodhan?
Dare suffers from guilt. Bodhan suffers from loss of control. But can the two find a way for all parties to come out on top? Little do they realize that they both are fighting for the same cause; Queen Idony.
Cyrus was sent out on a secret mission but was side-tracked by a beautiful vixen named Seraphina. The one time he loses his focus and gives into passion, he is captured and sold into slavery. After escaping, his only thoughts were of revenge against the woman he once burned for. But fire cannot be so easily dowsed.
Seraphina is feeling guilty; not an emotion she is familiar with. She realizes too late that an innocent favor ended up causing so much damage. When the crew of the Deviant finds the lost Cyrus, she is forced to face the consequences of her actions, no matter how little her overall part was. But maybe being dominated by a man such as Cyrus is not the hardship it appears to be.
They are forced to find a compromise if they are to work together to find the missing Queen Idony, even if it means that Seraphina finds herself taking Cyrus’s “punishment” in the bedroom. They are both drawn to one another as though by fate. And we all know that fate will not be denied. Can Cyrus forgive her past offenses or will it remain forever between them? Can Seraphina bend her independent spirit in favor of sharing a love that she never thought could be hers?
Though the emphasis may be on the couples, the overall story is quite intriguing. The world of Theorrey is full of fiefdoms and loyal, though slightly shady, subjects. The queen is a woman that is eternal and can see events yet to pass, including her abduction. She counteracts this with people that she can trust and rely on to save her. It gives the feel of much larger players moving pieces on a worldwide chess board; fortifying areas while seeking out the weaknesses within the other’s strategy. I look forward to seeing such a match unfold in future books.
Both stories are full of very sensual and erotic play. Though the scenes are “steamy”, they do not overshadow the main plot. I really enjoyed how each story was told from a new perceptive while not losing the continuity of the storyline. Even the steampunk aspects are used to enhance the world and its inhabitants rather than replace them. There are many ways for this series to continue, but I am hoping for something with the seriously hot and short-tempered Captain Amaranthe of the airship, Deviant.
Though I realize that with most erotic-stamped books, what they lack in plot they make up for with sex, this book is not one of them. It is everything that I could hope for in an erotic steampunk. I look forward to reading the next installment of the Elemental Steam series.
She released the second button, knowing she wore nothing beneath but a thin muslin band to restrain her breasts. Would he be shocked by it? As aroused as he had been in this very room, when she’d worn nothing but a strategically wrapped scarf? When he’d had her bound? Perhaps he would take her breasts into his mouth again, or change his mind about whatever it was he was trying to do.
Perhaps, in lieu of that, he would be distracted enough to remove himself from her path of escape. She could return to the safety of the guard barracks below and wait to surface.
The idea was not as appealing as she’d imagined it would be.
Need. There was no disguising how each newly revealed inch of her flesh increased his arousal. The vulnerability beneath his desire.
Bodhan’s mercurial behavior made Dare waver as she unhooked the last button. What was he really after? The truth he’d said. But what truth? That she wasn’t to be trusted? That she was Wode? Or that he could resist the feelings she could clearly sense. Feelings she shared.
The Elemental Steam Series:
FTC Advisory: Penguin/Berkley graciously provided me with a copy of Geared for Pleasure. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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