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The Jackal's House
Lancaster's Luck #2
|Cover: Reese Dante|
Something is stalking the Aegyptian night and endangering the archaeologists excavating the mysterious temple ruins in Abydos. But is it a vengeful ancient spirit or a very modern conspiracy…
Rafe Lancaster’s relationship with Gallowglass First Heir, Ned Winter, flourishes over the summer of 1900, and when Rafe’s House encourages him to join Ned’s next archaeological expedition, he sees a chance for it to deepen further. Since all the Houses of the Britannic Imperium, Rafe’s included, view assassination as a convenient solution to most problems, he packs his aether pistol—just in case.
Trouble finds them in Abydos. Rafe and Ned begin to wonder if they’re facing opposition to the Temple of Seti being disturbed. What begins as tricks and pranks escalates to attacks and death, while the figure of the Dog—the jackal-headed god Anubis, ruler of death—casts a long shadow over the desert sands. Destruction follows in his wake as he returns to reclaim his place in Abydos. Can Rafe and Ned stand against both the god and House plots when the life of Ned’s son is on the line?
I like kissing.
Like Ned, I’d spent years in hiding. His constraint had been matrimony and the sense of honor and duty that would never have allowed him to be unfaithful to the mother of his sons. Only her untimely death had released those bonds. Mine had been less noble: I had no desire for a court-martial and a dishonorable discharge from Her Imperial Majesty’s Aero Corps. Most of my encounters over the years had been quick and furtive, but I’d taken every chance I could to practice my technique.
I not only liked kissing, I was good at it.
Fast little kisses to start with, kisses that barely made contact with the skin of Ned’s throat, kisses meant to tease. He tilted his head back to let me in, closing his eyes. His mouth opened on a soft sigh. I hoped he was giving himself up to the pleasure, losing himself in it, that nothing mattered to him at that moment except the feel of my mouth on his throat and lips. I hoped so. I wanted to please him.
I kissed and licked the delicate skin under his ear until he choked with laughter at the tickling. He tightened his grip on my hands and tugged at them until I raised my head. Ha! He’d lulled me into trusting him there and took full advantage of it. He swooped to capture my mouth with his, cutting off breath and thought, bringing a dizzying warmth with his hot tongue, and making me moan.
Of course, they were very manly moans.
About The Series
Lancaster’s Luck is set in a steampunk world where, at the turn of the 20th century, the eight powerful Convocation Houses are the de facto rulers of the Britannic Imperium. In this world of politics and assassins, a world powered by luminiferous aether and phlogiston and where aeroships fill the skies, Captain Rafe Lancaster, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Aero Corps, buys a coffee house in one of the little streets near the Britannic Museum in Bloomsbury.
So begins the romantic steampunk adventures which have Rafe, a member of Minor House Stravaigor, scrambling over Londinium’s rooftops on a sultry summer night or facing dire peril in the pitch dark of an Aegyptian night. And all the while, sharing the danger is the man he loves: Ned Winter, First Heir of Convocation House Gallowglass, the most powerful House in the entire Imperium.
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A Steampunk Hallowe'en
One of the big advantages of having a book come out at Hallowe’en is leaping with delight on the idea of spookiness and trick-or-treat, and trying—hard!—to work out how to fit Hallowe’en into a blog post about your steampunk m/m romance novel set in 1900 Aegypt… mmmn.
This requires some lateral thinking.
While it’s fun, Hallowe’en isn’t such a big thing here in the UK as it is across the Atlantic. When I was a kid, we didn’t go Trick or Treating—and to be honest, not many kids here do these days either. At least, not in my part of the UK. In my village last year I saw only a handful of houses decorated for Hallowe’en and sporting welcoming signs.
We did sometimes go ‘guising’, but there wasn’t much in the way of the ‘give us sweeties or we’ll toilet paper your car and egg your cat’ mentality of the US Hallowe’en. More that we’d trail around the streets with a hollowed-out turnip (‘rutabaga’ to you speakers of strange English) with a stump of candle inside, since pumpkins weren’t as common here then as they are now, and try to drum up a few pennies towards our fireworks for Guy Fawkes Night on 5 November.
These days the shops try to puff up Hallowe’en by putting out racks of costumes for kids and piling up boxes of sweets in the hope we’ll bite and spend zillions on trying to be more like the US. Usually vast quantities of these go on sale on 1 November, which is a great time to stock up on cheap sweeties.
Despite their smaller size, turnip (or ‘neep’) jack-o’-lanterns are seriously more sinister than their pumpkin counterparts – points upwards. See what I mean? Something to do with colour graduation perhaps, and how the bottom half has an unhealthy pallor topped by the darker red on the crown. This creepy lantern is from a museum focused on Irish social history. Compared to that, the pumpkin is a jolly old fellow, out for a laugh rather than something that would suck your brains out as soon as look at you.
While I could try and twist the mummy-like turnip lantern into a connection with The Jackal’s House, I have to confess that it would be a very, very thin one, since there isn’t a mummy to be seen within the covers of the book. So here where’s the lateral thinking comes in.
On the admittedly unlikely and flimsy premise that my heroes Rafe Lancaster and Ned Winter decided to go out guising, they’d need some seriously steampunk-y lanterns to take with them. And here they are:
Aren’t they marvellous! Gena Rumple provides a tutorial at instructables.com (CLICK here) for making her fabulous steampunk pumpkins. She is ingenious at using everyday things, such as a tea strainer, and comes up with some fabulous results. Why not give them a try?
Have a fun Hallowe’en!
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