As much as I love a big, bad alpha hero, I’m also a sucker for an academic heroine. Maybe it’s because I was an academic for so many years, or maybe it’s because women’s education has been such a controversial topic over the centuries, but give me a heroine who has a particular area of academic expertise, and I go gaga.
Not all academic heroines are necessarily meant for being out in the field. Some aren’t used to being away from their desks or out of the library. But often, they find their strength once they get out there, away from the books. I’m thinking of women like Evy Carnahan from The Mummy. When we first meet her, she causes a domino effect of destruction in a library, but by the end of the film, she’s doing some serious ass kicking. Or what about Amelia Peabody from Elizabeth Peters’s mystery series. She might be a sheltered academic at first, but it doesn’t take her long to not only rise to the challenge of the Egyptian desert, but also get the grouchy (and sexy) Emerson under her thumb.
Before SKIES OF STEEL, I’d written an academic heroine before. London Harcourt, from SCOUNDREL, is an expert linguist—but she’s self taught and essentially closeted as a specialist in her field. Plus, she’s extremely sheltered. When she encounters the world outside of her small London Society circle, she had a lot of real-life learning to do.
But Professor Daphne Carlisle, the heroine of my steampunk romance SKIES OF STEEL, is very different from London. Firstly, Daphne is a tenured professor of anthropology, and has spent a considerable amount of time out in the field, studying different cultures that are in danger of vanishing beneath the crush of modern society. When she approaches Captain Mikhail Mikhailovich Denisov in a seedy Palermo tavern, seeking his help in freeing her kidnapped parents, Mikhail believes she’s just a prim and unworldly academic. Mikhail is a rogue Man O’ War—a man enhanced through technology to be faster and stronger than normal men, plus he can power and pilot airships. It takes a lot of convincing—plus the promise of money—to get Mikhail to agree to help Daphne. He thinks he’s going to have to keep her from bumbling into trouble throughout the mission. But appearances can definitely be deceptive. Academic Daphne may be, but she’s far from helpless and bumbling. And there’s more to her story that Mikhail knows.
SKIES OF STEEL
The prim professor
Daphne Carlisle may be a scholar, but she’s far more comfortable out in the field than lost in a stack of books. Still, when her parents are kidnapped by a notorious warlord, she knows she’ll need more than quick thinking if she is to reach them in time. Daphne’s only hope for getting across enemy territory is an airship powered and navigated by Mikhail Denisov, a rogue Man O’ War who is as seductive as he is untrustworthy.
The jaded mercenary
Mikhail will do anything for the right price, and he’s certain he has this mission—and Daphne—figured out: a simple job and a beautiful but sheltered Englishwoman. But as they traverse the skies above the Mediterranean and Arabia, Mikhail learns the fight ahead is anything but simple, and his lovely passenger is not entirely what she seems. The only thing Mikhail is certain of is their shared desire—both unexpected and dangerous.
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple | Books-A-Million
Zoë Archer is an award-winning romance author who thinks there's nothing sexier than a man in tall boots and a waistcoat. As a child, she never dreamed about being the rescued princess, but wanted to kick butt right beside the hero. She now applies her master's degrees in Literature and Fiction to creating butt-kicking heroines and heroes in tall boots. She is the author of the acclaimed BLADES OF THE ROSE series and the paranormal historical romance series, THE HELLRAISERS. She and her husband, fellow romance author Nico Rosso, created the steampunk world of THE ETHER CHRONICLES together. Her steampunk romance, SKIES OF STEEL, is now available from Avon Impulse, and Nico’s steampunk Western, NIGHT OF FIRE, is also available now. Zoë and Nico live in Los Angeles.
Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Blog
GIVEAWAY:So, tell me, do you have a favorite academic heroine? What do you find appealing about heroines with a scholarly background? Leave a comment along with your email address, and one person will win a digital copy of SKIES OF STEEL! Open to everyone. The winner will be announced on October 25th.