Sunday, December 30, 2018

Ruby Heart (Cry Havoc, Book 1) by Donna Maree Hanson

Release date: December 22, 2018
Subgenre: Steampunk

 About Ruby Heart:


A book of manners, magic and mayhem.
Jemima Hardcastle has a sad history. After her father was murdered by a secret society of magicians, her guardian and new heir to Willow Park, Edward Huntington, packed her off to boarding school. In the four years she was there, she never saw him again until she escaped from school to a house party and there he was. He did not recognise her and he even flirted with her.

A disastrous kiss, a murder and a stolen jewel herald dire happenings. Jemima is shipped off to Willow Park in the care of Fulton, Edward’s man, to be under the chaperonage of the odious Aunt Prudence and the meek cousin, Milly. While avoiding stitching in the evenings, she discovers Edward’s scientific genius and the artificial leg he made for Fulton. Her esteem for Edward rises and she is actually looking forward to seeing him again when he does not arrive as planned.

When they realise Edward is abducted, Jemima schemes to go in rescue. She has cunning and she has money and with these she plunges herself and her companions into the world of dark sorcery and London shopping.

In London, Jemima and Fulton lead a double life as they search for Edward in the slums, manufactureys and even a bawdy house. When she final discovers Edward, her life is on the line.

While a vicious and bloody fight for survival is going on around him, Edward has to choose between saving her life or unleashing the unholy, vampiric beast Geneck on an unsuspecting London.




The sound of Sylvia Horton’s familiar laugh drew Jemima Hardcastle to the rear garden of Primrose Manor, where the large party of house guests lounged on chairs and sipped cool lemonade. Under the shade of her parasol, Jemima walked with a light step. Last night’s introductions had been rather blurred as both Sylvia and Jemima had been tired, arriving well after dinner. Despite their fatigue, they spent half the night discussing the people they had met. One young man had already attracted Sylvia’s interest—Mr Jasper Heaton, who was a dashing medical man with dark hair, hazel eyes and a ready smile. Sylvia’s parents had assembled an assortment of young people for their daughter’s entertainment, the goal being a good marriage. Jemima had not such inclination for matrimony but had to admit the attention of the handsome and intelligent members of the opposite sex was diverting and flattering.
With a wave to Sylvia, who was dressed in pale pink, with her white blonde hair curled into tight ringlets, Jemima walked up to the party, not too ashamed of her own turnout. She was wearing a pale green day dress, trimmed in braid, with flattering sleeves. Her own strawberry blonde hair was swept up in a tall bun, with one trailing ringlet draped over her neck. Sylvia’s maid had dressed it for her and she felt so mature. No more school ringlets and pigtails.
A deep laugh drew her attention, a newly arrived guest, she surmised. Her gaze darted to the tall figure of a man, with a well-tailored morning coat hugging his broad shoulders. When he turned around, she saw dark, curly hair trimmed to frame his somewhat olive-toned face. Their eyes met. Her heart thumped, and she had to lock her knees before she collapsed. Sucking in a breath, she did her best to hide her trembling hands. How odious that he should be here. No glint of recognition flashed in his deep blue eyes, allowing her to relax somewhat. She smiled to hide her discomfiture and hoped she did not perspire too much. Had she changed that much in four years?
He stepped forward and bowed slightly. Sylvia performed the introductions. “Oh, Mr Huntington, please meet my friend, Jemima H Castle.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mr Huntington.” Jemima blushed, terrified to her heart at the out and out lie of her name. Sylvia had no trouble calling her by her school nickname, Jemima “H”, for Hard, Castle. And Sylvia knew she was using the name to avoid the notice of her guardian. The Hortons had accepted the name, swallowing the story that she was an orphan of no particular breeding, which meant of course, she was a nobody and less likely to compete with Sylvia in the marriage stakes. But now, what could she do? If she announced she was Jemima Hardcastle and that Mr Huntington was her guardian, there would be no end to the uproar. His was the exact circle she wished to avoid.
“A pleasure, Miss Castle.” He bowed over her hand, which quivered in his grip. A slight flicker of his eyelids betrayed that he noticed her reaction.
“The pleasure is all mine,” Jemima replied, while thinking she could not bear him calling her by that counterfeit name. Glancing about, she was in want of a seat before her trembling knees failed her completely.
“Will you not join us?” he asked pleasantly.
With a sigh, she relaxed as she was in no immediate danger. “With pleasure. Thank you.” Jemima gracefully lifted her skirt and sat down on the garden chair he held for her. She placed her parasol beside her leg and smiled nicely at everyone. She had no idea how long she would get away with it. When she was found out, all hell was going to break lose. At that odious thought, she began to look optimistically on her predicament. It was a good joke to play on him—mixing in society in front of his nose. That thought made her arch her eyebrow and consider her situation some fine fun, provided she had the nerve for it. Of that she was not convinced. Her smile widened. Those who dare win, they say.




About Donna Maree Hanson:

Donna Maree Hanson is a traditionally and independently published author of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She also writes paranormal romance under the pseudonym of Dani Kristoff. Her dark fantasy series (which some reviewers have called “grim dark”), Dragon Wine, was first published by Momentum Books (Pan Macmillan digital imprint) in 2014. Shatterwing: Part One, and Skywatcher: Part Two, are now re-published independently in digital and print-on-demand formats. The next two instalments of Dragon Wine, Deathwings and Bloodstorm, were published in 2017. The final instalments in the Dragon Wine series, Skyfire and Moonfall, were published in 2018.

In April 2015, Donna was awarded the A. Bertram Chandler Award for “Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction” for her work in running science fiction conventions, publishing and broader SF community contributions. Donna also writes science fiction romance/space opera, with Rayessa and the Space Pirates and Rae and Essa’s Space Adventures out with Escape Publishing. Opi Battles the Space Pirates was published independently in 2017. In 2016, Donna commenced her PhD candidature researching feminism in popular romance at the University of Canberra. Also available is her epic fantasy series The Silverlands: Argenterra, Oathbound and Ungiven Land. The Cry Havoc series is a steampunk-themed fantasy, with romantic elements, starting with Ruby Heart and Emerald Fire. It is based in Victorian England and features magicians and a very precocious Jemima Hardcastle. Another book, Amber Rose, is planned in the series.

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