Iron Seduction

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Iron Seduction -- Out Nowfrom Ellora's Cave

Chinese Steampunk!

British Military Ambassador Lady Jane helped free China from the tyrannical rule of the evil Empress Cixi. But now the Empress is fighting back with ancient, unnatural warriors under her command.

As Jane and compelling mercenary Jian Danzen struggle to the Great Wall to stop Cixi, all the excuses Jane has been using to keep the sexy Dance at arm’s length become less convincing. The overwhelming attraction she’s pushed aside for so long since their one night of passion threatens to consume them both.

The danger they face this night might mean Jane never leaves the Wall alive again. If so, she wants it to be a night without regret. But only one night, because even if they survive the Empress and the even greater foe waiting for them, Jane knows there can be no future for two people from such different worlds.

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Copyright © J.K. COI, 2011
All Rights Reserved, Ellora's Cave Publishing, Inc.

Another one of her own went down.

Lady Jane didn’t pause to watch the poor bastard fall, much less try to catch him, her attention focused on the horde of walking abominations advancing through the streets like a tidal wave of locusts. She found herself wishing for Soo-Ming’s holo-goggles so she could convince herself none of this was real.

But the clay warriors marching into Beijing weren’t an illusion. The men dying all around her were no illusion.

She trained her pistol and pulled the trigger, letting a dangerous smile play across her lips as a length of electrical blue fire burst forth and another of the unnatural things lost a head and keeled over, where it lay still as stone. That seemed to be the only way to take these creatures down and keep them down.

But her perfect aim hadn’t even put a dent in the line. Without pause another stepped forward like the Black Czar’s infamous iron automatons.

They weren’t even real, she marveled. The warriors marching through her city and attacking everything that moved looked as if they had been molded from clay and carved from stone, even down to the monochromatic ancient-looking Chinese uniforms. But they didn’t shatter like clay when she hit them with either bullets or gel fire. In fact, they were virtually indestructible unless separated from their heads, where a bright green light glowed from their eyes. Jane was certain this light was somehow the source of their eerie and unnatural animation.

Her men couldn’t possibly hold them back for much longer.

Waves and waves of them had begun to descend hours ago. They had cut a swath of unrestrained blood and violence across the city until all of Beijing was now in utter chaos.

Jian Danzen hunkered down beside her, his strong, lithe body blocking the light from the fires raging behind them and casting her in shadow. “Boss. Your move?”

Her move? As in…a plan? That would probably be a good idea, wouldn’t it?

She fired her second pistol as a creature grabbed one of her men, then dropped both pistols to the ground at her feet. Useless. The weapons took too long to recharge. Good thing Jane always carried a saber gun and rifle in a dual holster at her back.

She reached for the rifle, but grabbed only air. “Ah, rub it,” she muttered with a glance down at the heavy silk skirts of her state robes. So maybe she didn’t have her saber gun and rifle.

With a groan, she remembered she wasn’t wearing her holster because there had been no time to change clothes when her assistant Soo-Ming had run in with the messenger, bringing news of the invasion. The visiting sovereign she’d abandoned in her haste to get out to the streets might have something to say about her rudeness, but thankfully that would have to wait…and given the looks of things, she could be dead by then, and off the hook.

She held out her hand. “Dance, I need a weapon.”

Her First Domestic Lieutenant slapped a fresh saber gun in her open palm. Lifting his own, he took down another of the creepy invaders with a shot to the head, sending a spray of rock that unfortunately couldn’t pass for brains in every direction. “Boss, you’ll notice we may need more than a couple of good shots if we are to come out of this one.”

Jane ignored the sarcasm in his tone. “I did notice, Dance. Thank you.” Aim. Fire. The sound and flare of an explosion rocked their little slice of warzone and she winced. She’d hit the fuel bucket of a public motorcab. “Are the Chinese units backing us up yet?”

“General Tsao just arrived, along with more of yours.” Hers would be the contingent of British soldiers that stayed in China after the Alliance freed the people of Xinjiang, Mongolia, and Beijing from the tyranny of Empress Cixi. That one had strategically retreated to the other side of the Wall after the final battle, trying to maintain what was left of her thwarted dynasty in the backward southern provinces. Rumor had it the former concubine was a little bitter over her new circumstances, which made her the perfect candidate to have perpetrated this unholy attack.

“It won’t be enough,” she said, “not unless we can find out where these creatures are coming from and plug that hole.”

“They’ve come from the Wall.”

She looked at the unsmiling face of her constant shadow. Sometimes it seemed this uncompromising, carved-from-stone look was the only one he was capable of—but she’d seen another. She’d seen the hot, dark look of passion and possession as he pushed inside her body.

With a shudder of barely repressed need she forced herself back to the present. “Not possible. We would have been warned. The signal fires—”

“The Wall has been seized.”