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A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious
Cover of A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious
A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious
Steam Guardian Series, Book 1
by Mary Wine
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Beneath the Surface of Victorian Life Lies a Very Different World...

Hated and feared by the upper classes, the Illuminists guard their secrets with their lives. Janette Aston's insatiable quest for answers brings her to their locked golden doors, where she encounters the most formidable man she's ever met. Darius Lawley's job is to eliminate would-be infiltrators, but even he may be no match for Janette's cunning and charm...

Praise for Highland Heat:

"Dramatic and vivid...Scorching love scenes threaten to set the sheets aflame." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"[The characters] fight just as passionately as they love while intrigue abounds and readers turn the pages faster and faster!" —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

Beneath the Surface of Victorian Life Lies a Very Different World...

Hated and feared by the upper classes, the Illuminists guard their secrets with their lives. Janette Aston's insatiable quest for answers brings her to their locked golden doors, where she encounters the most formidable man she's ever met. Darius Lawley's job is to eliminate would-be infiltrators, but even he may be no match for Janette's cunning and charm...

Praise for Highland Heat:

"Dramatic and vivid...Scorching love scenes threaten to set the sheets aflame." —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"[The characters] fight just as passionately as they love while intrigue abounds and readers turn the pages faster and faster!" —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

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Excerpts-
  • From the book

    One

    Great Britain, 1843

    "You are going to be caught one of these times, Janette."

    "Don't lecture, Sophia," Janette begged. "I get too much of that from my father. Sometimes he turns red because he won't stop long enough to draw breath."

    Sophia choked back a giggle. "Well, he isn't the only one who thinks the Illuminists are uncivilized. Besides, we well-brought-up girls must be...mindful of appearances."

    Sophia lost the battle to remain prim-looking and dissolved into laughter.

    "Their Solitary Chamber is anything but uncivilized. Look at those arches, just like the Romans built," Janette remarked in a hushed tone to keep her words from drifting to where Sophia's father was minding his shop in the front of the house. "Doesn't it drive you simply mad to not know what goes on in there?"

    Janette leaned on the windowsill, trying to gain a glimpse of what the large building kept so secret. On the outside, it was an imposing structure more suited to ancient Greece than England. Smooth columns held up the three-story roof, and all the doorways were constructed with arches. It was only the front of a four-block enclosure. No one outside the secret Order really knew what was inside, but there were plenty of rumors.

    Wild sexual indulgence...

    Strange science experiments...

    Satanic rituals...

    But the members coming and going looked normal enough. Even if their vests were constructed with additional pockets and the females among them were often seen openly wearing the pantaloons style so scorned by upper society.

    "I don't find it as fascinating as you do. So where's the science circular? You only come to see me when you want to buy one without your father knowing."

    "At least your father doesn't mind your reading them."

    "So long as I do so in the back room," Sophia remarked drily. "Society is unforgiving of ladies who try to expand their minds. Such drivel."

    Janette shrugged off her shawl. It was rolled lengthwise to contain the circular. Unrolling it, she began scanning the articles.

    "Isn't it fascinating, Sophia? Look at this one; it's about currents of electricity being used. There's a lecture next Tuesday in the Solitary Chamber. How I'd like to see that with my own eyes."

    Sophia scoffed. "It will cost you every friend you have to experience it."

    Janette looked up at her friend. "Including you? Would you shun me if I challenged the exam to become an Illuminist?" They were bold words, but a little jolt of excitement went down her body when she said them. Her father's insistence that she remain meek and obedient was overly constrictive, but what annoyed her was the expectation that she refrain from education. Her mother had secreted tutors into the house to instruct her. The circular in her hand was nourishment to her ravenous mind. Yet she was forbidden to discuss the tantalizing data because it wasn't considered ladylike. There were times she feared being crushed by the rules of her society.

    "Well, perhaps not me," Sophia muttered. "But my father would most likely insist on your using the back door if you started wearing one of those gold lapel pins of the Illuminist Order. Our esteemed clientele might find another designer if we had any Illuminists in the main salon. You wouldn't want my father to have to resort to producing clothing like a factory worker, would you? He must maintain appearances or lose his clients."

    And there was the bitter truth-the definite boundary between the Illuminists and society. You were either one or the other. "There are no demonstrators today. Perhaps everyone is ready to begin accepting the Illuminists since...

About the Author-
  • Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of erotic fantasy, romantic suspense, and historical romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives with her husband and two sons in Yorba Linda, California.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    June 18, 2012
    Steamy sexual tension and secret societies fuse together in Wine’s electrifying first steampunk romance. Janette Aston is fascinated by all things scientific, and couldn’t care less that her thirst for knowledge is regarded as unladylike by Victorian society. Enthralled by the Illuminists, a group of individuals committed to scientific discovery, she sneaks into their headquarters and is caught by Darius Lawley, an Illuminist Guardian. The attraction between the two is instant and magnetic. When the Illuminists realize Janette is a rare Pure Spirit who can harness the power of crystals, she’s targeted by a rival society, the Helikeians. It’s up to Darius to protect her for the sake of science and love. The pages spark with manners and mayhem. Wine (Unexpected Pleasures) has created a world readers will want to return to, especially after a conclusion that leaves many questions unanswered. Agent: Jill Marsal, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

  • Booklist

    August 1, 2012
    Steampunk fans will happily embrace the altered history offered by this escape into 1840 Great Britain as Wine steps away from her Scottish series (Highland Heat, 2011). After Lady Janette Aston sneaks into a Solitary Chamber enclave of the Illuminist society in London, much to her surprise she discovers that she's a Pure Spirit. This means Janette is able to handle Deep Earth Crystals, unlike most of those in the society, who must shield themselves from the crystals' powerful force. Charged with protecting Janette is Illuminist Guardian Darius Lawley. Both the Illuminists and their Helikeian rivals want control over the crystals' power, which in the right hands could rule the world. As she is captured and recaptured, Janette is taken by airship to the crystal fields in Hawaii, where she's forced to harvest some of the most valuable and dangerous crystals. Janette will need Darius' help and her own ingenuity to save herself and humankind from the Helikeians' dastardly plans.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

  • Publishers Weekly "The pages spark with manners and mayhem. Wine (Unexpected Pleasures) has created a world readers will want to return to, especially after a conclusion that leaves many questions unanswered."
  • RT Book Reviews "A fun, distracting and entertaining read with plenty of racy moments."
  • Night Owl Reviews "This fast paced unique Steampunk story has introduced me to a whole new world that I can't wait to read more of. ...A wonderful story. Wine... [is] making a distinct mark in Steampunk."
  • Bookmunchies "Overall the book was a good blend of science, adventure and romance. Recommended for those who like a little more action to their romance."
  • RomFan Reviews "I'm really starting to get into the Steampunk genre, and this book has made me fall in love a little more."
  • The Little Death "Found it very entertaining."
  • Long and Short Reviews "This story grabbed me right at the beginning and I had great fun seeing the world the author created."
  • Paranormal & Romantic Suspense "Love scenes were very hot and steamy"
  • Fresh Fiction "The chemistry between the two main characters is off the charts"
  • Book Liaison "One of my favorite things about this book is that it has such an amazing world."
  • Martha's Bookshelf "I really enjoyed the underlying story of the battle for the crystal energy source and I loved the steampunk elements with all of the inventions used by the Illuminists in the 1843 setting."
  • What I'm Reading "It was an interesting read and it peaked my interest to want to read the next book whenever it comes out."
  • The Good, The Bad and the Unread "A Lady Can Never Be Too Curious, is very different from what we've read about in history books or traditional romance novels set in this time period."
  • Royal Reviews "This was my first voyage into the steampunk genre and I must say that I was indeed curious so when the book arrived, I immediately devoured it."
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Steam Guardian Series, Book 1
Mary Wine
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