This novella is steampunk erotica at its best! The author sets up a unique alternate Victorian world where readers will become wrapped up in both the sizzling romance between Mary and Nicholas and the political maneuverings of the Lamplighters guild. The story is told almost entirely through Mary’s point of view and while it would have been nice to get a peek at Nicholas’ thoughts, he is more than willing to admit to his strong feelings for Mary. Nicholas’ honesty and unconventional seduction tactics win over Mary and will have readers wishing they could step into this world of steamcars and corsets.

Apprentice Lamplighter Mary Cross is one of a handful of people in Victorian England who is capable of monitoring the engines of London. From supervising the city’s transportation system to keeping its lights on, the Lamplighters Guild literally ensures that London and its inhabitants survive. Mary has been training to become the head Lamplighter since she was a child. However the position requires more than just skill and dedication; a Lamplighter must sign a ten-year contract which states they will live, eat, work and sleep in the city’s underground engine rooms. Mary had been resigned to leading this lonely life, but that was before she realized she has fallen in love with the current Lamplighter, Nicholas. He will soon be available as his tenure as head Lamplighter is just finishing up — but if Mary replaces him, the chance for a relationship between these two dedicated souls is doomed. (ELLORA'S CAVE, Sept. 2011, dl., $5.60)

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Reviewed by: 
Dawn Crowne