As a direct result of mentioning Russian dudes on Twitter, I got a recommendation for a second book with a hottie hero. The Blacksmith's Lover by Heather Massey. Talk about different! This book was a delightful, quirky discovery. It is set in the 19th century, and it's about a secretive, super sexy Russian blacksmith with a very heavy accent (hot!), who takes in a scullery maid on-the-run. She is hiding from her vindictive former employers, and Viktor chops off her hair and disguises her as his apprentice.
This book was a totally refreshing, outside-of-the-box take on steampunk romance. Massey's voice is wonderful, and worked perfectly for this tale. The 19th century setting comes alive in this story, and the characters and their relationship were earthy, primitive and sometimes rough around the edges. Sex is not glamorized or romanticized. We get real sounds and real smells during the sex scenes--no rose-scented hair or sandalwood fragrance. Just a big, sweaty, hot, hairy Russian blacksmith...uh...*Penny slaps her own self again* I'm back!
The steampunk climax was fantastic! Massey somehow manages to mix romance, sex and steampunk inventions into one entertaining novella. This is definitely not a traditional romance, but I loved the unique aspect of the story and I will be reading more by this author. I love it when writers take a chance in our genre.