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The Girl with the Mechanical Hand

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She’s lost one hand. Can she afford to lose another to save her mother?
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Description

The Girl with the Mechanical Hand

by  Jacqueline Corcoran

Imprint  MuseItUp

Genre  Steampunk/Historical Fantasy/Romance

Tags  YA, Steampunk, Victorian, Alternative History, Paranormal, Romance

Release  October 28, 2014

Content Editor  Christine I. Speakman

Line Editor  Lea Schizas

Cover Designer  Carolina Bensler

Words  36385

Pages  115

ISBN  978-1-77127-619-1

Price  $4.50


Back Cover

In London when Jack the Ripper haunts the dark streets, eighteen year old Eva and her mother, struggling seamstresses, are dismissed from their positions after Eva’s forbidden kiss with the lord of the manor’s son, Nathan Holgrove. Forced to seek other livelihood, they turn to factory work, but Eva suffers a severe industrial accident her first day. To make up for her deformity, her mother must reveal her past secrets. A Russian immigrant neighbor, a toymaker by trade, fashions a mechanical hand for Eva. When her mother goes missing, Eva has to make a final sacrifice and come into her powers to rescue her, while evading the clutches of Jack the Ripper.


Excerpt

London 1888

The sun fought its way through a gap in the heavy, maroon drapes covering the windows in the sewing room. The room was a tiny space off the servant's quarters, not much smaller than the garret where Eva and her mother lived. The shaft of light exposed dust motes, like tiny stars in the reflection of the iridescent, lavender-blue satin of “Evening,” Lady Holgrove's costume for her annual ball. The back and forth rhythm of Eva’s sewing summoned a dreamy state that pulled her away from her usual dreary day-to-day life as assistant to her mother, the seamstress for her ladyship and her society friends.

“Eva!” She stood at the sound of the voice of the young man who entered the room, the son of her employer. As she bowed, the material slipped from her grasp, falling into folds, slithering over the skin of her arms with a rustle, and onto the floor.

“Master Holgrove.” Eva had thought of him so many times, although she had no right. She was just a servant in his household.

“Please, call me Nathan. I’ve told you that,” he said, his voice deep with warmth. His fair hair waved to his shoulders.

“Your mother would not approve of my being so familiar.” She bent over, embarrassed, to pick up the fabric, and felt tendrils of her hair tickle her face. As he moved toward her, she caught her breath. She’d never before beheld him so closely, never seen that his grey eyes were flecked with yellow. What an unusual color.

“You have come so often with your own mother, surely it is all right.”

Arms overflowing with the star-flecked satin, she straightened. “You have returned from University.”

“Yes, for the summer holiday. Now please, sit.” He gestured toward the chair, his gaze intensifying. “That color against your hair—exquisite.” The last word, he breathed.

Flustered, Eva plopped onto the claw-footed chair, and in the process, pricked herself with the needle. His presence was making her so clumsy.

“Have you hurt yourself?” he asked when she flinched.

“I am all right.”

He rushed to her side. “You are bleeding.”

“Oh!” A drop of blood had leaked out onto the satin. Lady Holgrove would consider it ruined—a commoner’s stain on her beautiful costume. Clutching the material, Eva stood again. “I must scrub it before it sets.”

“But you’re hurt.” He grabbed the finger where more blood bloomed. “You’re so beautiful, Eva.” His eyes fixed on hers.

She dropped her head and trembled as if cold, despite the heat building inside her. His gaze dragged her eyes to lock with his. He leaned in, touching his mouth to hers. How could a man’s lips be so full and soft?

“Nathan!”

They ripped apart at the harsh sound of his mother’s voice. Eva’s eyes, wide with fright, saw Lady Holgrove’s brimming so full of disgust, Eva had to look down.

“You will leave now with your mother.” Lady Holgrove bit out each word.

“Mother, please—”Nathan said. “It was me—I took advantage.”

“I cannot have such temptation here. She must go.” Lady Holgrove’s eyes narrowed. Surely, she couldn’t see the tiny drop of blood on the fabric. But then she snapped, “Give me the dress.” Her eyes were the same color as Nathan’s, but on her the grey, with no warming flecks of yellow, were as cold as a bitter sky.

Her fingers clawed the fabric until she had pinpointed the stain, always ready to find imperfection. That was why she had initially hired Eva’s mother—her renowned skill among Lady Holgrove’s circle.

She bunched up the material. “Take this away. I can no longer use it. You’ve ruined the cloth.”

“Please, my lady. My mother has already paid for the material.”

Where is Mother? In her mind, Eva scaled the stairway to Lady Holgrove’s quarters where her mother must have been gathering her things after doing a fitting. Her mother’s livelihood—and her own—was at stake. She will be so angry with me.

Lady Holgrove stretched to her full height, which was almost as tall as her son’s. “I do not owe you for anything, considering the way you have acted in my house.”

Eva shot a look at Nathan, but he had turned away, his jaw hard, his lips tight. Eva found it hard to believe now they had touched so soft and full on hers.


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