Thank you so much for having me today, Delilah! I often have other authors send their characters to my couch for interviews, so I decided to do one today for Edward Bailey, the hero of Eros Element, the novel that I’m re-releasing today. It was originally published by Samhain Publishing in 2015. I’ve often wanted to sit and talk to Edward, or try to, so I decided to write a vignette rather than doing an interview.
Let’s pretend it’s 1870 in the alternate Aether Psychics universe, and I’m in a little university town in England. Across the pond the Civil War has raged on for almost ten years, and coal supplies are running short. Several scientists have unsuccessfully attempted to harness the power of the mysterious substance aether.
I’ve just made tea and am about to sit down with the latest journal to see what those crazy neuroticists – doctors who study and treat those with disorders of the mind – in Vienna have been up to when I hear a commotion in the waiting room.
“But he doesn’t have an appointment,” my office manager says, “and the doctor is busy.”
“It doesn’t matter, this is an emergency,” says a male voice. A deep, resonant male voice I recognize as belonging to Johann Bledsoe, the concertmaster for our town’s orchestra. His confidence – and the escapades it leads him into – are legendary, so I wonder what he could want with a neuroticist.
I hear another male voice, this one more of a tenor, “That’s all right, Johann. There’s nothing wrong with me.”
Bledsoe argues, “You’re about to head on an expedition to god knows where, and you still time your water closet trips to the minute – I apologize, Miss. You know that’s not going to work.”
Intrigued, I emerge. “I’ll see the young man.” They both turn to me. The one in question matches Bledsoe in height, although his build is more slender, and he has the beginnings of the shoulder slump seen in academics. His dark hair contrasts with Bledsoe’s blond locks, and his face is more narrow, although his eyes look familiar. Ah, the cornflower blue eyes the Bailey family is known for. This must be Edward, the brilliant younger brother of the Duke.
“Hello,” I say. “I’m Doctor Dominic. What can I do for you?”
“Oh,” Bledsoe says. “I’d heard Doctor Dominic was a man.” I can see the hesitation at my appearance warring with the concern for his friend in his eyes.
“You may be thinking of my father.” And then I try a gamble to see if I can engage Professor Bailey. “He is a scientist of some renown. People often assume it’s he when they hear the professional title.”
“Right,” Bledsoe says. He’s gripping Professor Bailey’s arm. “Come, Edward, let’s go talk to the nice doctor.”
They follow me to my office and both sit on the couch once I settle in my chair. Bledsoe leans back, one ankle across the other knee, and the professor sits rigidly.
I fold my hands in my lap. “Tell me what brings you here today.”
“I don’t know why I’m here,” Professor Bailey says. “I haven’t had any problems since seven years ago, when I decided to order my life according to scientific principles.”
“Can you give me an example?” I ask, hoping he won’t tell me about bathroom habits.
“Yes, I can.” He jerks his head at his friend as if to say, so there. “I keep a strict schedule. I eat the same things at the same time every day, and, well, it works.”
“I see. And your routine is about to be disrupted.”
“Yes,” Bledsoe says, leaning out of his relaxed posture. “We’re going on an expedition. I can’t tell you any more details, but Professor Bailey’s preferences will not be accommodated.”
“What prompted you to adopt these principles to your life?” I ask the professor.
He turns to his friend with a sigh. “Do I really have to go through this?”
“Yes, if you want to prove to her you’re as sane as you claim.”
“Fine,” the professor huffs. “A woman mistook me for my brother, and when she found out I’m the spare, not the heir, she dumped me.”
“Do you still have feelings for this woman?”
“No. But the incident demonstrated how people are messy and unpredictable, so I make the rest of my life neat and orderly.”
Obviously this is the only time I’ll see him, so I dispense some advice, although I typically prefer to wait until later sessions to do so.
“But as you’ve seen, life isn’t always going to cooperate with your efforts to make it orderly. I would recommend you face what you fear the most. And if that’s having your heart broken, then you may want to start with talking to women.”
I suspect he won’t have much of a chance to do so on an expedition, but his friend claps him on the back.
“Oh, this will be perfect, Edward. You can chat up that nice archaeologist Iris McTavish.”
I raise my eyebrows at the notion of a female archaeologist and mentally applaud her accomplishment at breaking through the male barriers of academia.
The professor stands. “You’re both being ridiculous. She’s so…”
“Pretty?” Bledsoe asks and rises, as do I.
“You leave her alone,” the professor says. “She’s not one of your actresses.”
I turn my head to hide my amusement. The professor may already be further on his way to attraction to this Iris McTavish than he realizes.
We say our goodbyes, and I assure Maestro Bledsoe that it will all work out. But as they leave, I have a little chill down my spine, like that of foreboding, and I suspect their adventure will not be as safe and orderly as the professor would like.
About Eros Element
The scientific method: Love doesn’t obey it. Secrets skew the results.
After a dishonest woman broke his heart, renowned aetherist Edward Bailey buried the pieces under a strict routine built on solid, scientific predictability. Any deviation doesn’t just bother him—it short circuits his carefully cultivated balance.
A routine faculty meeting unexpectedly presents a twin challenge to his comfort zone. Not only does the beautiful Iris McTavish appear in her famous archeologist father’s place, Edward is forced to accompany her on an undercover expedition to find an element that will harness the power of aether.
Iris is determined to prove her worth as a scholar and scientist, and save the financially ruined house of McTavish without accepting an unwanted marriage proposal. But keeping her secret is difficult when she’s faced with Edward’s compelling gaze and unrelenting logic.
Amid clockwork spy devices, threats from a mysterious society who’ll stop at nothing to conceal their secrets, and plots from a guild bent on stealing them, Edward and Iris’s attraction sparks and gains momentum. But betrayal awaits them on the road from Paris to Rome—and the revolutionary discovery they seek could grind their hearts to pieces.
Warning: Contains a brilliant professor with a white-knuckle case of anxiety, a woman with an ahead-of-her-time spirit of adventure, real and made-up history, and a Grand Tour that serves up murder plots and secret temples along with wine, tea, and cream puffs. You may wish to pack your shovel along with your silks.
Grab your copy for 99 cents – this re-release sale is only for a limited time.
Author Cecilia Dominic, became a clinical psychologist because she’s fascinated by people and their stories, but she couldn’t stop making stuff up. By day, she helps people cure their insomnia in her private practice. By night, she writes fiction that keeps her readers turning pages past bedtime. Yes, she recognizes the conflict of interest between her two careers, but she prefers to be called versatile, not conflicted. Cecilia has been published in short and novel-length fiction as well as full-length nonfiction, and currently writes steampunk, urban fantasy, and chick lit. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with one husband and two cats, which, she’s been told, is a good number of each.
You can find her at:
Web page: www.ceciliadominic.com
Wine blog: www.randomoenophile.com
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