This week Morgan and Whitney take a bite out of The Seduction of Phaeton Black, a steampunk story from author Jillian Stone. In this tale of love, lust and paranormal adventure, a detective on the hunt for a mysterious supernatural killer and an orphaned woman seeking justice for her recently deceased father will join forces, but will this unusual couple be able to find the right balance between work and pleasure?
Morgan: Before we start discussing this book, I feel like we need to get on the same page about character Phaeton Black. Hero or anti-hero?
Whitney: Hero. Sure he is a little … unusual, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t still able to make the heroine’s heart flutter.
Morgan: Her heart and the “hearts” of many other ladies (and I’m using that term loosely). I say this rogue is a total anti-hero.
Whitney: Make your case.
Morgan: Point one: He sees specters and not the nice ones. His connection to the paranormal makes it nearly impossible to even be in normal society.
Whitney: Counterpoint: He uses his ability to become a paranormal investigator so even if he can’t be in society, he is, technically making it better.
Morgan: Point two: Phaeton lives in a brothel where he uses absinthe and other drugs to numb his emotions.
Whitney: Counterpoint: He went to Trinity College and enjoys opera which means he is educated and cultured.
Morgan: Point three: He uses women shamelessly.
Whitney: Yes, but for the most part, these are women who want to be used (and or are using him). And from our heroine, America, to the prostitutes that Phaeton spends time with, and even the mystical female spirit who Phaeton is hunting, all of these women want something from this lusty hero.
Morgan: I’m not so sure if I agree. At the very least, there’s the fact that America knows Phaeton for about three seconds before they are having “adult relations” against a wall.
Whitney: In Phaeton’s defense, America has a knife to his throat and does say, “Any moment now, a number of pirates are going to round this corner. They wish to do me harm. I want you to convince them you are near to completing your satisfaction with a street doxy.”
Morgan: In that light, I guess he is doing what she asked …
Whitney: And while it’s a good deal more literal than she expected, she does enjoy herself and at no point tells him to stop.
Morgan: Well, it’s certainly unconventional behavior for a hero.
Whitney: Agreed, but I felt that the interaction was very in keeping with both Phaeton, the unique heroine America and the story as a whole.
Morgan: Okay, let’s tackle these things one at a time. First up, America Jones.
Whitney: Forget her “meet awkward” with Phaeton, the first time readers meet America, she’s in a pirate’s den, trying to prove that he swindled her late father. And when she gets caught, what does the brazen beauty do? She distracts them with the possibility of sex and then pulls a gun on the assembled men in order to make her daring escape —
Morgan: Where she runs right into Phaeton … knife first.
Whitney: And lady parts second! But, it turns out to be a good thing for both of the characters.
Morgan: True, America has just met the man who will help transform her from orphan with a grudge into a woman with a job and the potential to get revenge.
Whitney: And Phaeton benefits from America’s unusual heritage. Her mother was a Cajun witch, a vauda, and America inherited the woman’s sense of magic. This helps Phaeton during his day job, where he consults on cases for the Scotland Yard.
Morgan: Paranormal cases which not everyone at the yard actually believe exist.
Whitney: Phaeton is like Scotland Yard’s Ghost Busters.
Morgan: Can you be the Ghost Busters if you’re a team of one?
Whitney: Well, he’s not alone after America joins the team.
Morgan: Okay, so this couple is compatible outside the bedroom (or alley wall, if you will).
Whitney: And I feel like this hero and heroine perfectly fit the story. Because when you dive into TSOPB, you are not getting a typical adventure.
Morgan: Exactly, I’d call this steampunk story one-part paranormal, one-part erotica and one-part mystery.
Whitney: If you wished that The Count of Monte Cristo had ancient Egyptian gods, a host of various other supernatural creatures —
Morgan: A bevy of ladies of the night, a mysterious doctor and a bunch of steampunk gadgets —
Whitney: And a heat rating that will make you blush —
Morgan: Then this is the read for you!
Can't wait to find out how The Seduction of Phaeton Black manages to roll all of these unusual elements into one exciting story? You're in luck, you can pick up your own copy of the novel today. And while you are book-buying, we also suggest that you purchase Erin Nicholas' contemporary e-romance Anything You Want, the book that Morgan and Whitney will be Dishing about next week!