New Release: Alphas and Airships, Book 2 in the Steampunk Red Riding Hood Series

I'm really excited to share that Book 2 in my Steampunk Red Riding Hood series is now available. Continue Clemeny's adventures as she travels above the realm to chase werewolves.

Novel Description

With Lionheart as the new alpha, the streets of London are quiet.

But above the realm, mischief is brewing.

While airship pirates are a common plague upon the kingdom, the airship Fenrir proves particularly troublesome--especially on a full moon. 

Clemeny must take to the skies before these shape-shifting Vikings kick off a new Ragnarok. Easier said than done now that she's down one good eye, a partner, and not to mention the fact that she gets motion sick.

On top of that, the new scar across her face makes Clemeny feel like she'll have better luck intimidating her foes than finding a beau. But Agent Edwin Hunter, recently assigned as head of Clemeny's division, is proving to be an interesting prospect. Despite her apprehensions, it's up to Agent Louvel to chase Fenrir across the heavens.

Alphas and Airships is a retelling of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale set in Melanie Karsak's bestselling steampunk universe. Alphas and Airships is Book 2 in the Steampunk Red Riding Hood series.

Sneak Peek

Chapter 1: When Werewolves Fly

I clutched the rail of the airship and tried not to look down. My stomach flopped as the vessel rocked in the turbulent air. A raven landed on a nearby rope. It turned and cawed loudly at me.
“Bad omen,” the airship balloonman called down from the crow’s nest just under the balloon. “Must be getting close.”
I waved my hand at the bird, shooing it away.
“Close to what? How can you tell we’re close to anything?” I asked, gazing out at the mist-drenched sky. My stomach pitched sideways once more as the airship jostled in the breeze. I inhaled deeply through my nose then exhaled long and slow. Travelling by any means of conveyance save my own feet always brought out the worst in my stomach. But journeying a long distance in an airship? The worst. My mouth watered, and I swallowed hard.
“Close to land. I say, you look green, Agent,” the balloonman said.
“I’m fine,” I lied then turned and looked back out at the fog.
The balloonman chuckled.
For weeks now, the Scottish division of the Red Cape Society, a unit called Shadow Watch, had reports of a rogue airship trolling the skies above Scotland, the isles, and the North Sea. The pirate ship had been a nuisance at first—as most airship pirates were—but they’d recently attacked Her Majesty’s aether armada. They’d lifted a large shipment of weapons and other valuable, but secret, intel from the ship, dropping the sailors in the North Sea as thanks. Our sovereign was not happy.
Airship piracy, even when a nuisance enough to bother Her Majesty, wasn’t usually of concern for the Red Cape Society. But one stray report caught the attention of Shadow Watch. One unfortunate bloke, a victim of an attack, washed ashore in Caithness with the story that the pirates had red eyes. Red as rubies.
So here I was, chasing werewolves through the aether.
Captain Martin, who piloted the ship, pulled a cord on his wheelstand. Below deck, a bell rang. Leaning toward a receiver near the wheel, the captain called, “Slow to coasting.” He then looked up at the balloonman. “Hold her steady.”
I dipped into my vest pocket and pulled out a piece of candied ginger. When Grand-mère heard I was headed aloft, she’d insisted I bring the candies along. I was very glad she had. If not for her quick thinking, I’d likely give our location away by retching violently over the side of the airship.
I crossed the deck of the Jacobite, a vessel belonging to Her Majesty’s aether Navy, and joined Captain Martin.
He unrolled a map. “There was an attack in this area two nights ago. They wait for dense air such as this.”
“How do they find the other ships in all this cloud cover?”
“If we descend about fifty feet, we’ll fall out of the dense cloud bank. Then, we’d be like ducks in a pond. They must sit in the fog and listen, waiting for their marks to fly past. Typical pirate tactic. They just seem especially good at it—or especially lucky.”
Or they have the enhanced hearing of werewolves, I thought, but I didn’t say so.
We grew silent as we listened. Below, I heard the sound of the waves. Everything was so still.
Captain Martin was right. If another airship simply sat idle, hidden in a bank of clouds, they could easily hear another craft’s gears running. But it also required patience. Thus far, we’d been hunting the pirate craft for the last three hours without any luck.
I glanced at the map the captain was holding. I squinted as I tried to make the image come into focus. I hadn’t gotten used to the eyepatch covering my left eye. Fenton’s attack had not rendered me completely blind, but it might as well have. My left eye had paled to moon white. All I could see out of that eye were shapes and some stray colors. My right eye was still struggling to keep up with its new burden.
Nor had I quite adjusted to the massive scar across my face. From my brow to my cheek, I now wore a badge of my profession, a gigantic scar from the werewolf’s claws. On top of that, where he had scratched me on my hairline, my black locks had turned white. I stroked my hand across the silvery tuft of fur hanging from my belt. Well, I’d gotten him in the end. Fenton was dead. Under Lionheart’s new rule, the realm had been relatively quiet. But there had been a price. I still didn’t have a partner. Quinn was barely recovered. I was half blind. And if I’d had bad luck finding a suitable beau before, now my chances were about zero. My beauty was ruined thanks to Fenton, but at least my hide wasn’t hanging from his belt.
I refocused on the map. The elusive pirate ship had been spotted all over the area. However, there had been reports of attacks taking place above the Orcadian and Shetland Islands in the last few days.
“Let’s cruise north a little,” Captain Martin suggested then rang the galley and signaled to the balloonman.
With a lurch—which made my stomach lurch along with it—the airship moved slowly forward in the fog.
I went to the bow of the ship. Pulling out my new night array optic, I slipped off the simple leather eyepatch I’d been wearing. I winced as my left eye adjusted to the mist-shrouded light. There was a soft glow of gold and pink that made the clouds shimmer as the last rays of sunlight illuminated the skyline. Blinking to adjust my sight, I looked out at the horizon. We were floating inside a cloud.
I looked down at the night optic lens. Master Hart hadn’t been able to repair the one Fenton had broken. Keeping in mind the condition of my left eye, he’d made me a new one. It was designed to work in daylight and at night. While it was still handy at night, I felt self-conscious wearing it during the day. Through the blue-tinted day lens, my white eye was still visible.
I was about to slip the lens on when in the far off distance behind us, I heard a pop. And then another.
“Captain?” I called as a flare briefly illuminated the sky.
“Distress flares. I see them, Agent. Hold on,” he said then began to bank the ship sharply. He yanked on the bell to the gear galley. “We need speed. Quickly.”
From below the deck of the airship, I heard gears grind as the galleymen prepared to get the airship up to speed.
I grabbed a supporting rope overhead, willed my stomach not to empty itself on the deck of the airship, then squinted in the direction of the flares.
A moment later, I saw a blast of orange light. Through the still air, I heard the sound of voices, yelling, and gunfire.
The Jacobite quickly picked up speed. From belowdecks, two Black Watch agents appeared, both of them carrying massive weapons. Lot of good they had been so far. Other than looking nice in their kilts, they’d spent the entire trip playing cards and drinking Scotch. I didn’t mind much, just felt a bit jealous be left out.
Sliding the optic back into my pocket, I pulled out my spyglass. Holding on to a rope, I set my right eye on the lens and looked out. It was hard to see through the fog. I saw the silhouette of the ship under attack. There was a shadow in the mist as another ship, the assailant, arrived just off the starboard side of the unlucky vessel. I could see people—just shadows—swinging through the air as they moved off the pirate ship and on to the other vessel.
The Jacobite moved quickly toward the scene.
Once more, a raven flew around the Jacobite. It circled our vessel then headed back into the mist. As we neared the catastrophe in the making, someone on the pirate ship blew a horn. The long, lonely sound filled the air with its sorrowful call. I scanned the ships. The pirates were shifting goods from the vessel under attack on to their own airship. And the second ship—the one under attack—was beginning to lose altitude.
The horn sounded again.
“Ready the guns,” Captain Martin called.
As we neared, I began to feel a tell-tale prickle in the palms of my hands and the bottom of my feet.
I lowered my spyglass and watched.
My mooneye twitched. Out of habit, I closed my right eye—I had always favored the left—and looked. There was definitely something odd about the figures on the deck of the pirate ship. While I couldn’t see more than their silhouettes, my bad eye spied an aura of color around them. It quickly became clear that these pirates were not entirely human.
“Now,” Captain Martin called.
A moment later, a barrage of bullets rattled from the Jacobite toward the pirate vessel.
The horn on the pirate vessel sounded once more. I saw the remaining airship pirates return to their own ship. Then, the pirate ship began to turn away.
Given it was still foggy, and that the sun would drop from the horizon any minute, soon we’d be chasing pirates in the dark, a prospect that didn’t sound a bit appealing.
“They’re retreating,” I called to Captain Martin.
Captain Martin rang the bell in the gear galley. “We need speed.”
“Captain,” the balloonman shouted. “The second vessel is a shipping craft. Their balloon just caught on fire. They’re going down, sir. All hands still aboard.”
“Dammit,” the captain swore.
Lifting my spyglass once more, I watched as the pirate airship turned in the opposite direction. As it did so, three things became immediately apparent.
First, like all airships, the balloon had a unique marking. This ship boasted a hammer on the balloon. And on the pommel of that hammer, was a wolf head.
Second, the long, narrow airship boasted a massive figurehead at the prow. As the airship turned away from us, I was able to make out its distinct shape. On the prow of the ship was a wolf.
And finally, if my itching palms and the shadowy colors on the pirates’ silhouettes weren’t proof enough, when I scanned my spyglass along the vessel, I spotted a hulking figure standing on the rail. While I wasn’t able to make out his face, I could see he had long hair which blew in the breeze. His eyes glimmered a dark, wine-red color.
The elusive pirate must have been watching me. He lifted his hand in greeting, then the airship turned, gaining altitude as it went, and disappeared back into the fog.
Meanwhile, the screams from the merchant’s vessel quelled out any hope of pursuit. There were innocent people on that ship, and if we didn’t move fast to rescue them, they’d soon be swimming.
“Well, there went your pirates, Agent Louvel,” the captain called.
“Those weren’t pirates,” the balloonman corrected.
I looked up at him. “No?”
The man shook his head. “That was a longship. Norse construction. No, sir, not pirates. Those were Vikings.”


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