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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Iron Eyes by Vivien Dean

For three years, Cap Kaufman has been trying to make amends to his war buddy’s orphaned daughter—building her a safe home, and even finding her the best nanny. Now, he’s kidnapped the man her doctor says is the best bet for fixing her blindness.

When Hector Gabourel wakes up on a boat in the middle of nowhere, he’s confronted by a man determined to get his own way. He has no choice but to play along and wait for a chance to escape. What he doesn’t count on, however, is learning to respect the man who uprooted him from everything he knew, all for the love of a child.

For Hector, it’s a challenge. For Cap, it’s penance. For both of them, it’s a chance for love. All it takes is opening their eyes to see what’s right in front of them...

Genres: Gay/Steampunk
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Novella (36k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...Hector leaned against the iron railing that protected anyone from falling and stared long and hard at the machine in question. Disappointment didn’t even begin to cover how he felt when those inscrutable eyes swiveled in his direction without a single comment or thank you.

“I don’t see Doc’s bed,” Hector said.

“That’s because his room is inside.” Cap wandered over to the nearest bench and ran his fingertips over its pristine surface. The weight of Hector’s gaze made him oddly self-conscious, his muscles restless under the regard. “I told you. This is all yours.”

“I thought I was working with him.”

Cap savored the use of Hector’s present tense. “Your part of the job comes first. You’ll consult with Doc, sure, but I thought you’d prefer the privacy. You can work to your heart’s content in here without interruption.”

“Just because it’s big doesn’t mean it’s not still a prison cell.”

His hand jerked back, and his eyes jumped to Hector’s. “You’ll have free access to the rest of the house. Meals, the library, whatever you’d like.”

Hector snorted. “I was talking about the island.”

Perhaps it wasn’t as straightforward as he had hoped. “I didn’t have a choice.”

“People always have choices.”

“I told you. You wouldn’t have left your job behind.”

“I guess we’ll never know, though, will we? Because you couldn’t be bothered to approach me like I was a man instead of a tool for you to use.” His words stung, mostly because they were true. “Are we going to play twenty questions about what you want me to do? If that’s your plan, I pass. I’ll just get some of that sleep you told Diana I was getting.”

Enough was enough. This wasn’t how he’d envisioned this scenario playing out, but Cap’s imagination was notoriously flawed. “She’s the job. I want you to give Diana her sight back.”

Startling Hector was turning into one of Cap’s favorite things to do.

Hector stiffened and straightened, the near hostility he’d been showering down about his so-called prison overwhelmed by his shock at Cap’s simple statement. “That’s not possible,” he said.

“Doc says it is.”

“Then he’s a quack.”

“He’s the best optician in the country,” Cap countered. “And he says, with the right lens, she’ll be able to see again.”

“And you think I can make it for you?” Hector was incredulous. “Did you see where I worked? Not a white coat or nurse in sight.”

“A lens is a lens.”

“If you think that, then you’re an idiot.”

“You think otherwise?”

“I know otherwise.” He marched hard enough back to the stairs for the iron railing to rattle slightly, but Cap remained in his place even when Hector towered over him. “Do you know what glass is made of?”


“Silica,” Hector corrected. “Among other things. Each ingredient is unique. Each piece you add changes it some way. Whatever you cut out to make your lens will be totally different to the piece you cut out next to it. It’ll have its own life.”

“I know. Doc explained all that to me.”

“And he still thinks this is a viable plan?”

“Who do you think helped me find you?”

Another revelation to visibly shake Hector. His head swiveled to take in the waiting machinery around him, the empty surfaces hungry for his clutter. “A little girl is not a projector.”

“But an eye is,” Cap countered. “You don’t even have to worry about the surgery. Doc’s got that covered. All you have to do is make the lens he needs to replace what he cuts away.”

“Can’t be done.”

“Really? That doesn’t sound like the Hector Gabourel I heard about. Oh, yeah,” he went on, when Hector’s jaw firmed. “I know all about the nineteen-year-old kid who sneaked into the studio workshops after hours. The one who switched out the primary lenses on every camera in stock with his own design. The one who recreated the most complicated lens on the lot under the watchful eye of a dozen suits when they called him a thief. That Hector Gabourel doesn’t say it can’t be done.”

Fury bloomed in Hector’s face. His nostrils flared. “I was an arrogant kid who thought anything was possible.”

“Then I guess we have that in common...

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