Sunday Snippets #28 – The Iron Duke Week

Posted October 3, 2010 by Jen in Sunday Snippet Tags: , ,

This week’s Sunday Snippets is a special Sneak Peek for THE IRON DUKE WEEK.  This snippet was selected by author Meljean Brook just for you!  Enjoy!

Mina stepped into the lift, standing to the side to make room for Trahaearn and Newberry. The Iron Duke boarded and closed the cage behind him. Newberry abruptly stopped, staring at them through the grating.
Trahaearn locked the gate. “It will be too crowded and over its weight capacity, constable. I’ll send it back down for you.”
Mina looked at him in disbelief. Though it’d be a tight fit, the lift could accommodate her assistant. Then the duke glanced down at her, wearing that cold detachment she’d begun to hate, and Mina understood.
She’d rejected his offer outside and put an end to the matter. But the Iron Duke wasn’t done.
Anger balled tight and high in her throat. Swallowing it down, she looked through the grating at Newberry. “We’ll meet you on the third level, constable. Anne, will you show Constable Newberry to the stairs?”
As soon as they turned to go, Trahaearn started the lift. Metal scraped as he threw the lever forward. Mina stared at the gate’s flat steel panel, almost blind with rage.
So this is how it would be? When pirates took over a ship, they usually gave the crew a choice between keeping their positions under a new captain, abandonment, or death. What choice would he give to her? She accepted his offer, or he ruined her family? Or would he simply rape her here?
The noise of the fans assaulted her ears, then was muffled as they rose past the second level floor. Unlike the smithy below, this level had been partitioned. An empty corridor led from the lift to the rooms where the Blacksmith grafted his mechanical flesh to living tissue, and where those undergoing the excruciating process waited while the flesh grew. Mina’s mother had waited in one of these rooms, but had forbidden Mina and her brothers from accompanying her. Instead, her father had held her hand through each step, carried her home each night—and every morning, he’d had to convince her mother to return to the Blacksmith’s and finish it. By the end of the week, he’d been as pale and haggard as her mother.
Remembering that, Mina’s anger built into resolution. What could Trahaearn do to her family that the Horde hadn’t already done? Nothing. And her family had always fought back, always survived. The only danger he posed was to Mina’s person and her career—but no matter the damage he caused, she would survive that, too.
She looked up. The roof of the lift had almost reached the next floor. The duke still hadn’t spoken. Her tension began to loosen its grip. Had she mistaken his intentions, then? Perhaps he just hadn’t wanted to be crowded.
Metal scraped, and the lift jolted to a halt. Mina stumbled forward before catching her balance—and realized that he’d timed it perfectly. They’d stopped halfway between the floors. The lift’s roof concealed them from above, and if anyone entered the corridor below, the gate blocked the view of the lift’s interior.
Damn him. Damn him.
Mina wouldn’t make it out of the Narrow alive if she shot him, but he couldn’t know she wouldn’t be crazy enough to do it. She pushed back the sides of her overcoat to expose her weapons.
He remained silent, staring at her from the opposite side of the lift, his dark gaze searching her face. Was he waiting for her to protest, or just trying to intimidate her?
She was afraid. Not of him, or what he could do to her body. Her bugs could heal bruises and tears, inside and out. But by forcing her, by taking her choice, he’d rip away everything that he’d given when he’d destroyed the Horde’s broadcasting tower.
Never would Mina allow that. And on second thought, maybe she was crazy enough. Her hands slid from her hips to her holstered weapons. His gaze fell and lingered on her weapons—or her thighs. She repressed the urge to let her overcoat fall closed. He looked up again, meeting her eyes. Mina arched a brow.
His slow smile didn’t soften his hawkish features. “You’ll come to my bed. And you won’t think it a waste of time.”
“You’re wasting it now. Start the lift.”
“A blacksmith earns more than an inspector, yet you didn’t say that to the girl. You placed the ability to go anywhere ahead of money.” As he spoke, his detachment turned to speculation, but his gaze never wavered from her face. “I can offer you enough that you’d be able to go anywhere you’d like, too.”
Anger and unease mixed with surprise. He’d listened to her conversation with Anne? She’d have to be careful never to reveal anything of herself in his vicinity again, not if he’d use it against her.
“I’m happy where I am,” she said. “Except I’d rather be ascending.”
His short laugh made her stomach drop, her fingers tighten on her weapons. He crossed the lift in two strides, each step rattling the cage around them. Mina held her ground. He stopped with only a few inches between them—and blast his monstrous height, the top of her head barely reached his shoulder.
What did he mean to prove by stopping so close? Did he intend for Mina to tilt her head back, making it appear as if she lifted herself to his kiss? Resolutely, she stared ahead at the small brass buckles that fastened his waistcoat—and suddenly realized that her refusal to look up made her seem afraid.
No matter what her response was, she couldn’t win.
She stiffened as his palm cupped her nape. Hard fingers tilted her chin up; he lowered his head. Mina jerked her face to the side. She felt his rough laughter against her neck, the gentle touch of his lips to her throat. His hand tightened in her hair, holding her still as he inhaled, as if drawing in her scent.
Tremors started low in her belly. Fear, she recognized. Anger, she welcomed. But not the burn beneath her skin, so similar to when he’d taken her glove.
He lifted his head, but didn’t release her. His thumb brushed her bottom lip. “You will accept me. And now I will know you, even if you come to me in the dark.”
Know her? Arrogant, insufferable knacker. He knew nothing about her.
And she didn’t need her weapons to get him away from her. Not when he was so stupid as to come this close.
Her hand shot to the front of his breeches, making claws of her fingers and trapping his genitals in a tight grip. He froze. As if testing, she hefted the firm weight she found. Heavy, but so very delicate.
She bared her teeth. “And even in the dark, now I’ll know that I’m ripping off the right cods.”
His eyes narrowed, and the hot interest she saw in his gaze sent shivers skittering down her spine. That wasn’t just business now. She tightened her grip.
“Back away from me, Your Grace.”


Don’t forget about the giveaway… One copy of The Iron Duke to a lucky commenter.  While I love comments and encourage everyone to leave one, only people with a US mailing address will be entered in the contest. If you are not eligible for the contest, please just note that. Thanks! Full contest rules are HERE.

10 responses to “Sunday Snippets #28 – The Iron Duke Week

  1. Nice! Mina’s got some spunk. It sounds like the Iron Duke is a cocky bastard.