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Thursday, 14 February 2013

The Tinkered Pinkerton by Helen Louise Caroll

Pinkerton agent Brom Donker’s arm and legs were taken from him during the American Civil War. Now, ten years later, although he’s adjusted to the metal limbs that replaced his real ones, there are times when he still feels like less than a man. Especially when he’s near Simon Wain, his physician/mechanic.

Simon has cared about Brom for years. As his patient. Lately, though, he’s been seeing the handsome agent as more than that. But how can a lowly physician/mechanic fit in with a man from a powerful and influential family?

As Brom deals with missing gun shipments, rogue Sasquatches, and disaffected Southerners, he and Simon confront their feelings about themselves and for each other.

Genres: Gay/Steampunk/Action/Adventure
Heat Level: 2
Length: Extended Amber Kiss (17k words)

Read a short excerpt...

...“Are you almost finished?” Brom’s voice was strained.

Simon looked up. “Almo…” The word died on his lips. Brom’s face was flushed. Sweat beaded his forehead. “What’s wrong?” Simon leaned against Brom, concern replacing his earlier embarrassment.

“N-nothing.” The color in Brom’s face darkened. “B-but could you move your hand?”

Simon looked. Without being aware of it, he’d begun to stroke the scar crossed skin of Brom’s thigh. He pulled back his hand as if he’d been scalded, but he couldn’t help noticing that there was a definite bulge pressing against the soft material of Brom’s underwear.

“Thank you.” Brom’s voice was rough with embarrassment. Or something else.

“You’re welcome,” Simon muttered, bending to his work again.

Could Brom be interested in him? In that way?

The thought sent a shiver of excitement through him. His body tightened.

Did he want Brom to…want him? To…to…

He’d never considered it before.

No, that wasn’t strictly true. Simon’s cheeks burned. There had been dreams, half-remembered when he woke.

He defended himself. Brom was an attractive man. And desirable.

Simon’s heart rate increased.

It was impossible. He was Brom’s physician. His mechanic. It would be unethical. He would be taking advantage of him.

Not if Brom wanted it, too.

Simon closed the panel with more force than necessary, trying to shut out the tantalizing thought.

He couldn’t think like this. It was… He had to stop. He was probably only imagining Brom’s interest. Why would someone like Brom desire him? He was…ordinary and Brom was… Brom was older. Wealthy. He could be a man of influence, if he chose. His family regularly dined with senators and the president, offering advice over cigars and brandy.

That was a foreign world to Simon.

No. He had to put these foolish ideas and feelings aside.

He stood and stepped back. “Try standing now.” He kept his gaze lowered, focusing on Brom’s bronze feet and finely jointed toes.

There was the slightest hint of a hissing sound as the pneumatics in his legs allowed Brom to bend his knees and stand.

“How does that feel?” Simon didn’t wait for the answer. His eyes were on the left knee. The plates seemed to be aligned improperly. “Try walking.”

Brom moved his left leg forward. The plate at his knee slipped. Simon heard him swear. Brom started to totter. Simon reached out to catch him.

Simon’s arms wrapped around Brom. Brom’s arm pressed Simon tightly to his chest.

He could feel Brom’s heart pounding. Or was it his own?

Simon was conscious of the heat of the body pressed so firmly against his own. It burned through the layers of material separating them. Did Brom have a fever? Or did he?

He felt like he was spinning. He tightened his grip on Brom. In response, Brom crushed him to his chest.

Simon inhaled the moist, sweaty scent of the man. His hands, moving of their own accord, ran over the broad back.

Somehow in catching the stumbling man, he’d trapped Brom’s leg between his own. Brom’s thigh rubbed against his.

Simon moved against him, his body growing heavy and hard. His head fell back. He lifted weighted eyelids to look into Brom’s face. His breath caught. He had never seen that expression on Brom’s face before. It was a look of desperate hunger...

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