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The Heart Collector by Barbara Russell - Book Tour

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The Heart Collector

Auckland Steampunk

Book One

Barbara Russell

Genre: Steampunk/Romantic Suspense/

Steamy Romance

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Date of Publication:  06/Feb/2019

ISBN: 978-168291-838-8

Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 87,000

Cover Artist: Anna L. Spies

Tagline: She can read people’s feelings, except for the man who has collected her heart

Book Description:

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.

Amazon     AmazonUK

Chapter 1
Auckland, 1884

One of the perks
of being a duchess and the lady of Hastings Manor was that I could make my own
Most of the
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
“Come in.” The
thick door muffled his deep voice.
I wiped my
sweaty hand on my skirt before turning the handle and stepping into the office
that had once belonged to my father. Victor and his younger brother Jamie stood
up from their stuffed chairs and bowed.
“Good morning,
Victor, Jamie.”
After the dimly
lit corridor, the sunlight streaming from the floor-to-ceiling window blinded
me, and I squinted, closing the door behind me.
I walked to the
desk that occupied almost half of the room, keeping my eyes on Victor’s
frowning face. “I need to talk to you.”
Victor stretched
out an arm, indicating the empty chairs. His serious expression added wisdom to
his five and twenty years. “Of course, Isabel. Please, sit.”
I perched on the
very edge of the chair and set my back straight to not crush my bustle. Victor
sat at his desk while Jamie settled himself next to the fireplace.
“Is something
the matter?” Jamie leaned forward, his blond hair swishing about his cheeks.
“You are pale.”
I faced him.
“Well, I—” A dark blue bruise marked his chin, his bottom lip was split, and a
fresh cut marred his forehead. “What happened to you?”
Jamie clenched
and unclenched his fists. “My encounter with one of the Supernaturals we’re
trying to recruit didn’t end well.”
I focused on
Jamie, unleashed my power, and reached out for his feelings. A rush of energy
flooded me, and heat warmed my chest. His anger, annoyance, and humiliation
washed over me. Physical pain stabbed him as well. I gently prodded his body
with my mental strength. His ribs hurt, and a cut on his back throbbed. His
feelings left the sour taste of unripe grapes in my mouth.
I swallowed.
“This Supernatural must be particularly strong to hurt you.”
Jamie stroked
his bruised skin. A new wave of mortification surged from him. “He is
moderately strong.”
strong? Jamie could bend iron bars with two fingers and lift twenty times his
weight. How strong was this Supernatural?
Victor shifted
his gaze to me. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
“Exactly about
this.” I nodded toward Jamie. “This Supernatural you want to recruit for the
investigation on the Heart Collector.”
Victor knitted
his blond eyebrows in the same way Jamie would. “You don’t have to concern
yourself with that. Jamie will soon make another attempt to meet this
“But.” I paused
to read Victor’s feelings. His determination and mild exasperation reached me.
It wasn’t a good start, but maybe my speech would convince him. “I would like
you to allow me . . . I mean, to assign me to this mission since I request,
kindly, I request kindly, that it would be me, myself, to do it.” Damn. So much
for rehashing. I clasped my hands in my lap not to show how much they trembled.
“I’d like it to be me.” I swallowed. If I weren’t so eager to get the job, I’d
laugh at Victor’s scrunched face.
I searched his
feelings again. Even without my supernatural empathetic power, the hard set of
his jaw and his narrowed icy blue eyes told me he wasn’t pleased. I cleared my
throat. “I want to meet this Supernatural.”
“You want what?”
Jamie asked, propping an elbow on the mantelpiece.
I ignored him.
“What did you say his name was?”

“I didn’t.”
Victor straightened the pile of documents on his desk, arranged quills and
inkbottles, and loosened his bow tie.

About the Author:

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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