Army of Brass comes out on April 27th and is on pre-order now at Amazon, but why wait to get a taste of exciting steampunk adventures? For your reading pleasure, here’s an excerpt:
Elaina sighed, stopping under the slanted ceiling. “Still no word from Fairport. We have no idea whether or not they’ll sue for peace. The city guards have been mustered to begin drilling, but no royal troops have been deployed. Lord Rotterdam insists that an advanced force, even of such small numbers, would ruin any chance of peaceful negotiations.” She said the last words in disbelief.
Jack’s voice rose up behind her, and his face soon joined it as he crested the stairs. “I thought you agreed to save your energy for the more important tasks ahead and not on the follies in the House of Lords,” he teased, then turned his attention to Tom. “Speaking of which, I am rather eager to get underway. If you can bear to tear yourself from your garret, Mr. Drubble.” Jack gave a flourish and bow fit for the king.
Tom didn’t give the Cartographer the satisfaction of receiving a reply. He tightened a final screw inside his device, snapped the cover closed, and stood to offer it and its companion to Elaina. The little box could fit into her palm and sported an array of dials, switches, and a miniature variation of a telegraph key on the top. The second cube, too large to be comfortably carried in hand, had a leather strap long enough to loop over the shoulder. A series of tumblers and small, colored crystals glinted from within its surface.
“What’s this?” Jack asked, stepping up beside Elaina.
“Nothing yet.” Tom couldn’t keep the annoyance from his voice. When the time came, he’d always imagined he and Elaina would share the triumph alone, not in the company of someone without the capacity to appreciate it. He picked up a device from his workbench—a duplicate of the smaller one she held. “If you’ll take up a position downstairs?”
Elaina’s eyes gleamed, and she nodded in understanding. When Jack made as if to follow her, she gestured for him to stay put. “This won’t take long.”
The two men stood together as her footfalls grew fainter and stopped. Tom felt the curious glare of the swaggering journeyman boring into him. The Tinkerer pointedly ignored him and tapped out a short code on his handheld device. Then he glued his eyes to the larger device lying on his workbench—the counterpart to Elaina’s. Jack tapped his foot impatiently until the crystals began to glow. The lights flashed on and off in a sequence Tom knew well. He held his breath as the flashing stopped and tumblers ticked into place. He entered another code—waited. The lights repeated their show, the tumblers clicked, and a very unladylike whoop carried up from below.
Elaina fairly galloped back up the stairway. She paused in the doorway, flushed with excitement and exertion, hugging both devices to her chest. “You got it got to work!”
“Got what to work?” Jack asked.
Tom only had eyes for Elaina’s elated grin. “At least over short distances.”
She swept past the confused mapmaker in a flurry of excitement and threw her free arm around Tom’s neck to pull him into a kiss. When she leaned away, Tom stared, her expression a mirror of his own surprise. Then she laughed, breaking the spell. Elaina turned back to Jack, and for better or for worse, the explanation came bubbling out of her.
“This transmitter. This is how we’ll send the signal to the antennae on the automatons.” She held first one of the devices out to Jack, then the other. “These are a smaller version than those we’ll need, but…
For an instant, it had been as Tom had imagined it—he and Elaina sharing a glorious moment. The heat hadn’t even left his lips yet, but he felt his heart breaking as the secrets of their discovery tumbled from her. Jack couldn’t really appreciate any of it, and the tone of affection in her voice filled the Tinkerer with a bitterness he hadn’t expected. He shoved it down and replaced the tools in his kit, then stuffed it and his set of prototypes into his pack waiting by the door.
Pre-order your ebook copy of Army of Brass for $.99 and receive it on Friday, April 27!
Want more excerpts? Read Chapter 1 in full or get a sneak peek at Chapter 3. If you’d like to meet more of the CWC writers, you can find an interview with writer Jason Pere, who wrote the starter chapter, and an interview with Jean Grabow, who helped to end the story, as part of our blog tour, now until May 13. Plus, Join us on Facebook April 28-29 to get to know some of the writers writers, participate in giveaways, and more!
Speaking of giveaways, we’ve got one going on for the entire blog tour, so between April 13-May 13, enter to win ebooks from our writers.