Bec McMaster - Echelon
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Top Ten things about the Echelon
by Bec McMaster
In my steampunk romance debut, Kiss of Steel, London is ruled by an aristocratic group called the Echelon. Stricken by the craving virus, they’re considered blue bloods; faster, stronger, impervious to mortal injury… and with a dangerous thirst for blood.
Here are the top ten things to know about the Echelon:
1. The Echelon is ruled by a council of seven deadly dukes and the Prince Consort. Technically the Queen can overrule them through Right of Regency, but she speaks with the Prince Consort’s voice.
2. The purpose of every debutante is to sign a thrall contract with a blue blood. For the cost of her blood rights, she will have his protection for life and anything she may desire. A consort contract is much rarer and considered a true prize but only a girl bred from the best bloodline or one of the Great Houses is considered worthy.
3. If a boy is deemed worthy by the Council of Dukes, he may receive the gift of infected blood during the Blood Rites in his fifteenth year. For fear that the unnatural hungers that accompany the disease may overwhelm the delicate nature of females, they are strictly forbidden the Rites. The only exception is the Duchess of Casavian, who is considered more icicle than woman.
4. Accidents occur of course, but it takes more than being a blue blood to be one of the Echelon. Any of the accidentally infected are considered rogues and therefore fit only to join the Nighthawks (thief-catchers for the city) or the Coldrush Guards who serve the Echelon.
5. Only the cruellest of blue bloods file their teeth into points; it is considered far more acceptable to use a flechette or razor to open the vein. A blue blood’s saliva helps the healing process and there are numerous salves a thrall may employ to keep her skin from scarring.
6. A woman baring her wrists in public is tantamount to exposing a breast. The only acceptable occasion is when she dines. Full-length gloves are preferable; anything low enough to show the wrist is considered fast.
7. For a debutante to indicate that she’s searching for a protector, she leaves her throat bare. A lady in the midst of signing a thrall contract or one who is spoken for wears elaborate chokers and neckpieces.
8. It is considered extremely vulgar for a blue blood to take too much from his thrall in one session, and draining her dry is an offense worthy of exile.
9. The assah is a dance designed to tempt and displays a woman’s best assets, most noticeably her throat and wrists. It is the ultimate of courting dances.
10. Governesses tell children bedtime stories of Blade, the Devil of Whitechapel, a frightful rogue who escaped Echelon justice fifty years ago and fled to Whitechapel where not even the Echelon dare touch him. If children are naughty it is said that the Devil of Whitechapel will come for them and steal them from their beds… Though some governesses whisper amongst themselves that they would be only-too-happy to take their charge’s place.
KISS OF STEEL BY BEC MCMASTER – IN STORES SEPTEMBER 2012
A brilliantly creative debut where vampires, werewolves, and clockwork creatures roam the mist–shrouded streets of London...
When Nowhere is Safe…
Most people avoid the dreaded Whitecapel district. For Honoria Todd, it's the last safe haven. But at what price?
Blade is known as the master of the rookeries—no one dares cross him. It's been said he faced down the Echelon's army single–handedly, that ever since being infected by the blood–craving he's been quicker, stronger, and almost immortal.
When Honoria shows up at his door, his tenuous control comes close to snapping. She's so...innocent. He doesn't see her backbone of steel—or that she could be the very salvation he's been seeking.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author Bec McMaster lives in a small town in Australia and grew up with her nose in a book. A member of RWA, she writes sexy, dark paranormals and steampunk romance. When not writing, reading, or poring over travel brochures, she loves spending time with her very own hero or daydreaming about new worlds. For more information, please visit http://www.becmcmaster.com or follow her on Twitter, @BecMcMaster.
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