Thursday, March 14, 2019

The Heart Collector by Barbara Russell







The Heart Collector
Auckland Steampunk Book 1
by Barbara Russell
Genre: Steampunk, Romantic Suspense
Auckland, 1884
The Supernaturals are frightened. Despite being able to do extraordinary
things like teleporting or lighting a fire with a stare, a serial
killer, the Heart Collector, is slaughtering them. He rips their
chests open and removes their hearts.

While other aristocratic, nineteen-year-old girls spend time dancing,
Isabel trains hard to become an MI7 agent—Military Intelligence
Seventh Division, a crime squad run by Supernaturals. The Heart
Collector murdered her best friend, and enrolling at MI7 is the best
way to help catch the killer.
Isabel senses other people’s feelings as if they were her owns. But MI7’s
leader is too worried about Isabel’s safety to let her join the team.
Eager to prove that her power is valuable, Isabel volunteers to meet Murk,
a dangerous Supernatural man who can turn himself invisible. MI7
desperately tried to recruit him and failed.
She believes that her power is enough to convince Murk to become an MI7’s
agent and help apprehend the Heart Collector. If he wants to attack
her, his feelings will broadcast his intention, and she’ll be ready.
What Isabel isn’t ready for is to fall in love with the man who will
collect her heart.



Auckland, 1884

One of the perks of being a duchess and the lady of Hastings Manor was that I could make my own decisions.
Most of the time.
I bunched a corner of my long brocade skirt and climbed the sweeping stairs toward Victor’s office. The bustle, heavy with satin ribbons, bounced lightly, tapping on the small of my back.
On the landing, one of the little cleaning machines that roamed the house trotted around, buzzing as its brushes dusted the white marble floor. A puff of steam trailed behind it while its wheels and pistons whirred. I strode on, the star-bright tiles sparkling under my velvet slippers.
The butler bowed stiffly, carrying a tray with tea and cakes that smelled of cinnamon. “Your Grace.” He stepped aside to let me pass.
“Hollom.” My heels’ click-clacking noise died down on the blue rug covering the entrance in front of Victor’s office.
I raised my fist to knock but stopped inches away from the gleaming, polished oak wood, needing a moment to collect myself. Victor had to see reason. Convincing him that my role in the investigation was vital wouldn’t be easy, but I was nineteen and properly trained in combat. More or less. The point was, I could face danger.
My resolve wavered, and I bit the inside of my cheek. On light feet, I turned and slid inside my late father’s personal library. Victor’s supernatural hearing wouldn’t catch me in the room protected by thick walls, and the old leather-bound volumes calmed my nerves.
I cleared my throat before rehashing my speech. “Victor, you’re the leader of Military Intelligence Seven, but as Duchess of Sussex, I have the right to  . . .” I shook my head. This sounded patronizing. I took a deep breath to slow my pounding heart, glad that I wasn’t wearing a corset. Another perk of being a duchess.
I squared my shoulders. A wrong word and Victor would dismiss me. “Victor, I kindly request… would you… I would appreciate if you assign me to the ongoing investigation on the Heart Collector, since I believe my skills can be an asset.” There. Simple, polite, and to the point.
I jutted out my chin and smoothed my bodice. I should’ve worn my dark green dress. It made me look taller and older. This blue gown gave me a childish air with its velvet ribbons and budding roses.
Too late.
After another deep inhalation, I marched toward Victor’s office again and knocked on the door.
“Come in.” The thick door muffled his deep voice.


I’m an entomologist and a soil biologist, which is a fancy way to say
that I dig in the dirt, looking for bugs. Nature and books have
always been my passion. I was a kid when I read The Lord Of The Ring
and fell in love with fantasy novels.
When I discovered cosy mystery and crime novel, I fell in love with
Hercules Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. Then I grew up and . . . Nah,
I’m joking. I didn’t grow up. Don’t grow up, folks! It’s a trap.
PS I hate gardening. There, I said it. Sorry fellow Kiwis.
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3 comments:

Barbara Russell said...

Thanks for having me! I really appreciate it!!

Marcy Meyer said...

I like the cover. Looks really pretty. The book sounds good.

Barbara Russell said...

Thanks! I agree about the cover. Anna Spies did an awesome job :)