Sarah flees to another town, seeking refuge with the local blacksmith. He is searching for an apprentice and she begs him for the chance to fill the position. He declines at first, but then takes pity on her. He takes her in and agrees to hide her under the guise of a young man, learning his trade.
Viktor is a big, burly Russian dude and Sarah is attracted to him right from the beginning. But it's months and months before the two of them act on their attraction. I loved the idea of this super-manly blacksmith (though I could have done with a little less imagery of his wealth of body hair.) He is definitely the strong, silent type and when push comes to shove, he really comes through for Sarah.
As for our heroine... well, she's not the sharpest tool in the shed. She makes a couple of selfish and unthinking moves in the course of the story. She also really likes, er, rubbin' her nubbin'. Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against a little self-love, but I don't quite buy the idea that she was so overwhelmed by lust that she needed to go spelunking right out in the open at the well, or laying next to someone in the bed.
I liked the sexual tension between Sarah and Viktor and due to the elapsed time in the story, an emotional connection was more believable to me. But I thought the steampunk element of the story kind of blew up at the end. I was down with Viktor having some neat contraptions in his forge, but once we got to the showdown with the bad guys at the end... Suffice it to say, they lost me with the giant robot. It's one thing to believe that Viktor has these advanced and special abilities, but that his adversaries could find and produce another inventor with similar skills to battle him, was just too much to accept.
It's hard to rate this one because there were things I did like about it, but the things that bothered me felt really "out there." I'm going with a C-.
*ARC provided by author for review
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The Blacksmith's Loverby Heather MasseyRelease Date: June 1, 2012Publisher: Red Sage Publishing