Sunday, February 14, 2021

Review: Combustion by Elia Winters

Combustion by Elia Winters
Publisher: Cecaelia Press
Genre: Erotic Steampunk Romance 
Combustion cover
ISBN: 9781951589035
Rerelease Date: February 15, 2021
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo
Elia Winters Reading Order

Astrid Bailey is content living alone, balancing her career as a contract machinist with her true passion: making “felicitation devices” for her discerning female clients. The upcoming World’s Fair, with its substantial cash prize, is an opportunity for her to open the shop she’s always imagined and solve her financial woes. With questionable credentials, though, she’s unable to enter without a reputable businessman to vouch for her.

Eli Rutledge, noted watchmaker, needs to enter the World’s Fair to maintain his reputation as an innovator, but he’s fresh out of ideas. With no other options, he agrees to Astrid’s proposal, lending his good name to her scandalous invention. When construction heats up, so does their chemistry--and the complications. Astrid is unaccustomed to accepting help, especially from a privileged businessman like Eli, even if she can’t keep her hands off him. Eli is losing his fight to an attraction that could spell professional disaster and heartbreak. As the Fair date approaches, Astrid and Eli must decide how far they’ll go for the business...and for each other.

Warning: contains scandalous “product testing,” steamy f/f and m/f encounters, and gratuitous liberties with an alternative-history Steampunk London, all in the quest for happily ever after.
Combustion is a sexy and sex-positive romance that’s a whole lot of fun to read. Astrid Bailey is a bit prickly and she has reason to be. She’s known loss, grief, and has been dismissed as an inventor and businessperson because she’s a woman, not wealthy, and her devices are geared toward female clients. Astrid is a gifted inventor who dreams of owning her own shop to sell her “felicitation devices” and I wanted to see her achieve that dream. Her best shot at doing so is winning the cash prize at the World’s Fair, but to even enter she needs the backing a reputable businessman. Enter Eli Rutledge.

Eli is a watchmaker who inherited a successful business. He has the money and connections Astrid both needs and resents. He also is short of an idea of his own to present at the World’s Fair so he and Astrid teaming up is the perfect plan. Her idea is scandalous beyond measure, but the two of them go for it anyway. Eli’s edges are softer than Astrid’s and the two of them complement one another perfectly. I like that Eli isn’t dismissive of Astrid’s inventions or pleasure and it made the sparks that flew between the two of them seriously hot.

Attraction is easy, but falling in love is a lot more complicated. Both Astrid and Eli have walls up because of past wounds. Eli thinks he’s too boring for someone like Astrid and she thinks he would never want to be with someone of a different class. Miscommunication and misunderstandings threaten to derail the romance but they’re logical obstacles. I was rooting for Astrid and Eli every step of the way.

Elia Winters knows how to deliver seriously hot romances and Combustion is no exception. Astrid and Eli are not shy about testing out her inventions or asking for what they want in the bedroom (or the workroom or…). All in all, Combustion is a fast-paced, red-hot jaunt through alternate-history London. The steampunk elements are fun, the characters perfectly imperfect, and the ending made me smile.

Note: Combustion was first published in 2015 and has been revised for this edition.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.