Clockwork Bargain by Therese WoodsonRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance | Amazon UK
Length: Novella

Malachi and Ian have been together for six months. On board the Mockingbird, they’ve traveled around the world, embarked on explorations of exotic places, and fallen deeper in love with each other.

In this second story in the Aerial City series, we learn living in an airship isn’t exactly the high life. These exotic locales hide threats from pirate attacks to insects bites. Ian suffers from a deadly illness and air pirates board their ship. To save his comrades, Malachi has to make a terrible deal with the pirate captain, sealing all their fates.

Woodson’s engaging writing style ratchets up a notch, bringing forth fast-paced action and first relationships turmoils. The passion Mac and Ian feel for each other has to contend with the fact they don’t know each other all that well yet. Male pride especially fuels their first rows, but also leads them into trouble. I liked this aspect of their relationship, since no affair is simply lying blissfully on a bed of roses. This vulnerability added a sense of realism to the tale.

Plotlines that drive the main couple apart for a lengthy period rarely work in either novellas or the romance genre. Here we have a romance novella, so the choice to separate Mac and Ian for nearly half the book for a variety reasons proved problematic. The relief for the two men to rediscover one another smooths away the rough edges born of rows and unresolved matters, which is a flimsy way to deal with conflicts. I’m hoping in the next installment Mac and Ian deal with their issues like normal people, by talking about their problems.

What I appreciated was getting to know more about Ian’s background and family. He even got a surname. Once we met his folks, I could understand Mac’s gratitude and caring of becoming a part of that family. Ian’s mother, Deidre, especially was a wonderful character, a devoted mother, but also a competent airship captain in her own right.

This is a wonderful, thrilling, and sensual series set against a steampunk background. Definitely a series worth recommending to all friends of romance and steampunk alike.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

susan sig

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