Heart Of Iron By Bec McMaster
Not Quite The Fairy Tale
Lena is not like her sister Honoria in the slightest.
Although their father's death some years ago drove the family to poverty after Honor lost her employment which lead to being in service to the vampire that later became her husband, Lena still has a job at the clockwork shop and uses her former debutante status to her advantage as a spy for the Echelon and for the side of the Humanists in Bec McMaster's Heart of Iron.
The second installment of the London Steampunk series, this time following Lena as the main character, we find Honor has been married for three years to vampire leader, Blade and living happily in the home that he shares with those in service to him.
A kind leader, Blade worries greatly about his second in command whom has recently left his home after a sort of disagreement with Lena. Blade begs for him time and time to come home even after an attack leaves Blade terribly wounded and having a hard time healing from the injury as Honor had been trying for the last few years to lower the CV levels in his blood to keep him from going out full blood rage.
The effect had made Blade too human and a stab wound that he should have shrugged off was wearing on him terribly.
Still Will couldn't come back.
Not while Lena was part of the household.
Fighting to keep from The Fade, a blood rush where the vampires have lost all control and sense of their humanity, Honoria had been treating Blade with methods that her father had been working on before his death, and after life as a vampire himself. She hopes to never lose another loved one to the Blue Blood disease, but her young brother had recently been discovered to be a vampire well. Both Charlie and Blade could be treated and be almost human again if the treatment worked.
A Forbidden Love
When vampires remained the controlling class, the werewolves were always a step under mostly used for guard duty to their masters.
Although Blade never mistreated his best friend and second, Will, the world was not cut out for the wolves in the same way as the vampires.
Strict rules forbid the humans from having relationships with the werewolves punishable by execution as unlike the vampire virus were offspring already had a predisposition to be one of them, the werewolf virus could be transmitted from wolf to human lover as well as the potential offspring.
Mating between humans and werewolves was restricting frowned upon. And there was always the chance of losing control and killing a mate.
Will knew all the risks and had never been with any woman because of it.
But since she was young, Lena teased at him batting her eyelashes and laughing.
Much prettier than Honor, there was always something that gripped his heart about Lena. He swooned at the sight of her and there was nothing he wanted more than to be able to act on his feelings.
Will wondered if Lena had felt it too, but it was strictly forbidden.
Then one night in the study she had leaned over and kissed him, innocent at first then wanting more. Her mouth demanding as she crawled up his lap and tried to move closer.
Will was torn between his desires and protecting Lena from what could happen so he shouted at her and a day later moved out of the home.
Blade and Honor had never understood what had happened.
Putting herself at risk for the spying on the Echelon, Lena was trying to keep anyone in her family from finding out what she had been doing in her spare time. It was only when Will came across her dangerous hobby that he was willing to put himself into character as a bodyguard when she was around the other vampires. Spending so much time close to Lena was torture to them both. So many times Will wanted to just give in but what Lena was attacked he knew that he could never leave her side.
In Another Life
Back when Honor was working to keep a roof over the heads of the family before meeting Blade, Lena had been working at the clockwork store.
Becoming bored with the constant werewolf babysitter of Will perched on their rooftop while Honor and Blade were off falling in love between the hours of his English lessons, Lena had been attacked one evening.
The scars of the bites from the vampire had covered by her skirts and no one was ever the wiser but it made Lena tougher when it came to dealing with the Blue Bloods.
The same vampire that had sprung on her in that alleyway long ago was back on her trail since attending a ball and she flung herself into Will's embrace after fleeing from the vampire a second time. Telling everything to Will, he also let go some of his secrets.
Appearing in her room one evening Will almost surrendered to his desires as Lena begged for him. He tried to explain to her that humans couldn't be with werewolves in the same way that vampires could have a mate. It was illegal, it was too dangerous that he could turn her.
Lena didn't care.
Slaves to their lust for each other, they shared a few kisses and embraces and then Will took off into the night guilty for what he had done.
He hadn't noticed but Lena wasn't feeling to good as of lately. Honor said that she had been running a fever. She had a stomachache and was sweating.
The signs were there for everyone to see.
No matter how much everyone had wanted them to stay away from each other romantically, it had happened.
Will thought back to the night of kissing after the fight with the vampire and remembered the cut on his lip.
A few drops of blood was all that it took.
Lena was now to be a werewolf with him.
His feelings had changed, they would never change but the life that he subjected her to had not been of her choosing.
After all of this would Lena still chose him?
Terribly sick, the family worried if Lena would be strong enough to make it through the transformation to werewolf. If Will was to lose her now it would be the end of him.
If Lena Pulls Through
On her death bed, Lena was burning up with a terrible fever.
Fetching a woman that had experience with wolves coming over from the change Will ran to bring her back to Blade's house.
Will hadn't remembered his own change. As a small boy he was brought over to his wolf side. Beside herself and not knowing what to do for him, his mother had hatefully sold him to a traveling circus where he spent a good chapter of his youth caged and on display in the show.
Only gaining freedom as an adult, Blade was the only family that Will had known after a life of abuse.
Will was beside himself waiting to see if Lena would make it through the change. Most people weren't strong enough and the illness had killed them instead, but she kept fighting.
She wanted nothing more than to be the same as Will finally.
Lena wanted the future together that she saw in her sister and Blade's love.
Finally the romance was encouraged by the family and Lena wouldn't let go.
Surviving the change was only the first task.
Lena had a life time to find out how to be a wolf and now she and Will could be together for as long as they had. But the family was in more danger every day when it came to the warring with the other vampire territories.
Finding out recently that Blade had become weaker, he got back on a diet of blood to regain his strength only to find out that lowering his CV levels had actually done something that he had never planned on, Honor had become pregnant. But would the child be vampire or human?
The London Steampunk series continues with three more installments.