Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dead Handsome by Laura Strickland Excerpt & Giveaway

Clara Allen needs a husband in order to keep a roof over the heads of her assorted dependents, a roof her nasty grandfather will re-appropriate unless she is married by her 21st birthday, only a few days away. Strong-minded, unwilling to take orders from any man, she decides to solve her problem by raising a murdered prisoner from the dead and marrying him. She expects an empty-headed puppet; she certainly never dreams he’ll be so devastatingly handsome.

Liam McMahon doesn’t recall much about his life before his hanging in the prison yard, other than being Irish. He does remember the kiss Clara bestowed as she brought him back to life. Every time he looks at her, his desire gets out of hand. But his former life is chasing him down like a steam engine, and when a couple of mad geniuses decide he’d make a fine experiment, he wonders if he’ll live long enough to claim Clara’s heart or if he’ll die all over again.

“Untie me.”

This time she ignored the request.

He rasped, “Please.”

“A few more minutes.”

“Are souls tied up in heaven, then?”

“My good sir, you are not in heaven.”

“No?” Confusion gripped him, dark and terrible. He strained against his bonds.

She bent closer.

“Miss Clara, be careful,” said the other woman.

“But the angel—Clara—disregarded her. Gaze fixed on his, she demanded, “Do you remember your name?”

He shook his head.

“Tell me,” she said again, very slowly this time, “exactly what you do remember.”

Very hoarsely now he said, “Noose. I died.”

“Yes,” she told him implacably, “and I brought you back to life.”

’Twas just a terrible dream. Surely he’d got hold of some bad liquor somewhere. Half the fellows who ran these saloons made their own drink in a shed out back. A man might have some wicked dreams after drinking that. Because the lass with the pixie’s face—Clara—could not possibly have claimed what he thought.

“Shut the boiler down, please, Georgina.” When she spoke, he could hear so much in her
voice. She sounded calm, yet she wasn’t. False calm, as if she schooled herself fiercely. Yet she was but a wee slip of a thing. Not an angel, then.

The pounding in his ears that he’d taken for his heartbeat ceased abruptly. But his heart carried right on thudding in his chest.

Alive, sure.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Born in Buffalo and raised on the Niagara Frontier, Laura Strickland has been an avid reader and writer since childhood. To her the spunky, tenacious, undefeatable ethnic mix that is Buffalo spells the perfect setting for a little Steampunk, so she created her own Victorian world there.  She knows the people of Buffalo are stronger, tougher and smarter than those who haven’t survived the muggy summers and blizzard blasts found on the shores of the mighty Niagara.  Tough enough to survive a squad of automatons? Well, just maybe.

Laura will be awarding a pair of hand-crafted, Steampunk-style pierced earrings - US only - to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a hand-crafted book mark, US only, to a randomly drawn host.
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway