by Stephanie Burkhart
Royals Edmund and Alice Windsor return to 2011 only to discover their world is now powered by gasoline and electricity - not compressed natural gas. Their attempts to persuade their grandmother, Queen Anne II, falls on deaf ears. Taking matters into their own hands, they enlist Jonas Byron's help and travel back to 1855 to set the time line right.
Now in Lincoln, Edmund is reunited with Lady Keira Russell, the love of his life, but if it isn't one obstacle, it's another. Keira does not want to fall in love with him again. Jonas Byron has taken up with Keira's father to build a windmill, and Edmund's brother, Richard, the Guardian of the Time Machine, has followed Edmund to ensure Queen Victoria makes the right decision when choosing the fuel of the future. Edmund has a choice - make mischief to ensure time marches to the beat of the right drummer, or trust in Keira and her belief that Queen Victoria will make the right decision on her own. Will Edmund lost Keira for good if he makes the wrong choice?
Alice dug into her reticule and removed a small slender cylinder. She pressed a button and a beam of light shot out.
"Amazing! How did you do that?" asked Keira.
"It runs on a battery that generates electricity." Alice walked over to the desk and examined the locks. She fussed in her reticule some more, pulled out some picks and went to work.
Edmund stood next to Keira and placed his hand in the small of her back. "She's brilliant, don't you think?"
"A girl after your own heart, I see."
"Alice may have popped my dirigible, but I respect her all that much more for doing it."
"You are incorrigible."
"Come, let's talk." He guided her away from the desk and next to the window. The drapes
were pulled back, allowing the dim, natural light from the stars and moon to filter into the room. Keira's heart pounded in her chest. Determined to stay strong in Edmund's tempting presence, she crossed her arms.
"Did you tell me everything back in my study?" she whispered.
He looked her over seductively, talking softly. "I told you I would the next time I saw you, and I have."
He placed his hand on her shoulder, trailing his finger up the soft skin of her neck, cupping her cheek. His eyes never left hers. "I want to see you again. Soon."
"It isn't wise."
"I know. I don't care." His voice grew low and husky.
Keira hesitated. Her body thrummed with warmth from his touch. Uncomfortable heat pooled in her core. She tried to fight, to set her resolve and step away from him, but she couldn't. His gaze riveted on her face and moved over her body slowly. "I didn't forget you. I couldn't. You're never far from my thoughts."
Logic. She needed logic. "You're from the future. I'm your past."
He shrugged. "I don't see it that way."
Her knees weakened. "How do you see it?"
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Author Bio: Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.
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4 out of 5 stars
A Gentleman and a Rogue by Stephanie Burkhart is Book 2 of the ‘Windsor Diaries’ series and centers around the attempts to repair the timeline after the events that took place in the first story, “A Victorian Scoundrel”. Edmund Windsor has returned to Victorian England along with his cousin Alice and her fiancé Grayson Kentfield to influence the inventions of Keira Russell. Complicating matters is the presence of two other time-travelers, each with his own agenda, plus the pull of romance as various couples pair up. The challenge of winning Queen Victoria’s approval for an alternative fuel source, deciding whether to share information or sabotage each other’s work, and minimizing the impact on the future creates a conundrum that requires each person to decide what he or she considers truly important…which may or not be compatible with the future that they envision.
This inventive steampunk tale provides an intriguing look at a pivotal era of history and gives it a different twist as modern concerns are mixed with the strictures of life at that time. The pairing up and romantic entanglements are a little too contrived for me, but I was happy that the relationship between Edmund and Keira was addressed. It was interesting to see how the various energy sources were explored and the advantages and disadvantages of each were highlighted. I think that it would be difficult to read this as a stand-alone because the stories are so closely connected, and my curiosity is definitely piqued by the twists at the end of this episode in the adventures of this intrepid family. I like the glimpses of society that the story gives and the creative weaving of fact and fiction that mirrors the explosive progress that took place at this time of history. This is a fun and educational look at a pivotal point in history and I look forward to finding out how some of the dangling threads are resolved in the future…or is that in the past?