I’ve featured fellow Carina author Cindy Spencer Pape on Boosting the Signal before, with her book Dragons & Dirigibles. I’m thrilled to feature her again today, with the latest installment of the Gaslight Chronicles, Ether & Elephants! And don’t forget–if you like the sound of this book, Carina has a 40% off site-wide sale going on till Monday, so you can get this book as part of that sale! Her character for this piece is Thomas Devere, and his goal is simple: win back the love he’s lost, and become a proper father for the child who’s most likely his son. Take it away, Cindy!
My life was simple when I was a kid. Pick a few pockets, dodge a few coppers, maybe cheat the occasional sailor in a game of cards. Whatever it took to find a little food and a place to get off the streets at night, since the slums of London were rife with vampyres in those days. I teamed up with some other street rats, we learned to kill the vampyres, we got a permanent room over a tea shop, and life was pretty good. Then when I was fifteen, it all went crazy. We got ourselves adopted by one of the best monster-hunters in England. I found out I wasn’t a bastard at all, but the legitimate heir of a bloody baronet! In just one day we were off the streets of Wapping and into a St. James mansion. Even then, I knew, and my new mum knew, that I was in love with Nell, the younger girl in our crew. So they didn’t legally adopt me. Someday, Nell and I would be married.
That was before I did something so devastatingly stupid that it destroyed everything. In university, for a while, I let my little head do the thinking, and wound up married to a barmaid who claimed I’d gotten her pregnant. Day after the wedding she disappeared, and I never heard from her or the child again. It didn’t matter though. I was married, so Nell and I were doomed. She took a job teaching music to blind children, and I did my best to avoid her as much as possible.
Then, Fate intervened. One of Nell’s students went missing—a boy with supernatural gifts, not unlike my own. As soon as I began to investigate, I knew there was a good chance that young Charlie was my missing son. Finding him and his mother became the sole focus of my life.
Now, we’ve discovered hints that I might not be legally married after all. That Charlie, who may or may not be my son, might be better off if I did have the marriage ruled invalid and simply claimed him as my son, despite the stigma of illegitimacy. His mother appears to be involved with an old enemy of ours—an Alchemist who uses children to test his chemical and magical potions.
So I might be free to marry Nell, but now she wants nothing to do with me. And it looks like we’re heading to India. It’s a three-day airship ride. Her natural father might be waiting on the other end, as we hunt a criminal and a little boy through a foreign land. Anything could happen. Anything at all.