Eliza Kempe Dorley is always left in the background. As a female, being top inventor for the Alliance of Silver and Steam has as many draw backs as perks. She’s in charge of the creation of the many tools the Alliance uses in pursuit of the demons that run lose in the London Underground, which means without her, the demons would be harder to put down. It also means she misses all of the action and has never had the chance to really use any of her inventions.
Lucius Cooley Willan is a Nightmare Demon with a penchant for gambling and sleeping with women he shouldn’t’t and it’s landed him in hot water. Now he spends his nights slinking in humans dreams and unleashing terrors so strong it kills them so he can capture their soul for his boss. But when he’s ordered to attack the group that hunts his kind he’s enthralled by the feisty inventor he comes upon.
Eliza’s victim to Lucius in a way no others have been, a sensual dream that she can’t shake when she wakes up. When he bumps into her at the trains she’s an addiction he can’t shake. When he outright disobeys the demon who controls him for some out of dreams interactions with the Eliza, it will be up to him to save her from the nightmare he’s put her in.
Nightmare in Steam is the first book in a steampunk/paranormal romance series. It is a sequel to the short story, Demon in Steam. However, you don’t need to read the short story to understand what is going on in the first book of the series. Each book centers on a coupling of unlikely lovers in a world of magic, destruction, and technology.
The first thing that came to my mind is that the “steam” part of the title isn’t just about the steampunk world Lexi Ostrow made. The sex scenes are definitely steamy. I loved every seductive moment about Lucius. And even though there is one scene that was not something a typical Victorian couple would do, I found myself loving it.
There is a story too, by the way. Ostrow doesn’t leave her readers with just steamy moments between her heroes, but also weaves an interesting story about demons and demon hunting. There is no God. At least none that the demons or angels can think of. Angels aren’t the angels we think of, but a higher demon.
The main villain is a dark woman with a heavy past. Despite hating her for what she does to our characters, I found sympathizing her. I could understand what brought her to it. Do I like her? As a villain, absolutely. Would I want to have tea and pastries with her? Oh no. Seraphina is conniving, seductive, and she knows how to twist everything to what she wants. She’s a woman on a mission and it doesn’t look like anything is going to stop her.
Eliza Dorley is a fun character. She is smart and strongwilled. There are times where she is fiery and there are times where she melts into the arms of Lucius. However, even though there is a clear sexual connection with the male lead, she keeps her loyalties.
Lucius is a bad boy. A lovely bad boy. He can be selfish and seductive. He is very roguish. Which I really like. Through the book, the reader will see different facets of Lucius that shows he grows as a character.
As for Ostrow’s writing, it is neat and simple. You will be pulled into the story and you won’t be bogged down by large words or be confused with what’s going on. I understood everything and I love her style.
Will I read more? Yes. In fact, I’m finding myself liking steampunk romance a bit more now.