SKIES OF STEEL: The Ether Chronicles is the exception to that rule.
When I went to Las Vegas last Spring with a group of romance authors, the plan was to hang out in the Jacuzzi of our rented house, have a few drinks, talk a lot, eat things that are bad for us, and maybe see a show or two. Sure, we had a signing planned for the end of the trip, but that was just the excuse for us to take a break from our husbands, children, jobs and deadlines and just enjoy ourselves. And, yeah, we might all bring our laptops, maybe get a little bit of writing in, but the goal was always fun.
We were super disappointed to learn that the all-male revueThunder From Down Under was sold out. Fortunately, a reader in the Las Vegas area was able to help us secure tickets to whatever Cirque Du Soleil show we wanted. There are almost a dozen different Cirque shows in Las Vegas, but we settled on Zumanity, aka the “naughty” one. (What do you expect when a group of romance authors hang out together?)
The theater in which the show is held is very sensuous—covered in velvet and patent leather. And the show itself… Whew! I thought the desert was steamy! Not only did the performers put on an amazing show full of incredible acrobatic feats, but they were sexy as hell, celebrating human sensuality in all its forms. It’s definitely not for prudes.
But one performer caught all the writers’ attention. He wore shiny leather pants, was as cut as a Waterford vase, and, best of all, had a Mohawk. Whenever he was on stage, none of the writers (me included), could take our eyes from him. I was disappointed to learn that he actually has his own aerialist act that uses chains instead of ropes or silks, but he didn’t perform it that night. It didn’t matter, though. Cue seven romance authors thinking how they could work a Mohawk-wearing hero into their books.
Sadly, the historical authors were out of luck. But the erotic, paranormal and sci-fi authors were all wracking our brains about where we could put a Mohawked hero in a story.
Inspiration struck me almost immediately: my hero with a Mohawk had to go into my next steampunk romance. And as soon as I made the decision to give Captain Mikhail Mikhailovich Denisov a Mohawk, aspects of his character started fitting into place. Mikhail is a Man O’ War—a man who’s been technologically enhanced to be stronger and faster than a normal man. Those same enhancements also enable Man O’ Wars to power and pilot airships. Most Man O’ Wars are in the aerial navies of different nations, like England or Russia, but some, like Mikhail, go rogue.
Obviously, the break from his country had to be harsh, and full of defiance, thus resulting in Mikhail cutting his hair in such an outrageous (but sexy) style. Mikhail is a dangerous mercenary who follows no one’s orders. The only code he adheres to is following profit.
So when a prim-looking academic Englishwoman approaches him with a plea for help, Mikhail immediately says no. Though Daphne Carlisle intrigues him, he’s not interested in helping rescue her parents from a vicious warlord. Only when Daphne promises substantial financial compensation does Mikhail agree to the mission. And the scoundrel in Mikhail thinks he might be able to have a little fun with the professor along the way. For her part, Daphne believes Mikhail is just as dangerous and unpredictable as his appearance (especially his Mohawk) would have her believe.
But appearances are deceiving in this steampunk world. As Daphne and Mikhail’s adventure will prove.
Now I’ve broken the cardinal rule, and shared a Vegas experience with the world. It actually shaped the hero of SKIES OF STEEL. So if the Vegas Silence Squad comes after me, I want you all to know that it was worth it.
So, my question to you is: do you find Mohawks sexy? Or are they too outrageous for you? If you had to pick the sexiest hairstyle for a romance hero, what would it be? Long, flowing locks? Close cut? A mullet? Leave a comment and follow me on my blog tour for SKIES OF STEEL, and you could win a copy!
SKIES OF STEEL
In the world of The Ether Chronicles, the Mechanical War rages on, and appearances are almost always deceiving . . .
The prim professor
Daphne Carlisle may be a scholar, but she’s far more comfortable out in the field than lost in a stack of books. Still, when her parents are kidnapped by a notorious warlord, she knows she’ll need more than quick thinking if she is to reach them in time. Daphne’s only hope for getting across enemy territory is an airship powered and navigated by Mikhail Denisov, a rogue Man O’ War who is as seductive as he is untrustworthy.
The jaded mercenary
Mikhail will do anything for the right price, and he’s certain he has this mission—and Daphne—figured out: a simple job and a beautiful but sheltered Englishwoman. But as they traverse the skies above the Mediterranean and Arabia, Mikhail learns the fight ahead is anything but simple, and his lovely passenger is not entirely what she seems. The only thing Mikhail is certain of is their shared desire—both unexpected and dangerous.
Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there's nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master's degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Her steampunk romance, SKIES OF STEEL, is now available from Avon Impulse, and Nico’s steampunk Western, NIGHT OF FIRE, is also available now. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.