Acorn: A short steampunk adventure

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Acorn by Shelley Adina

To outsiders, Lewis Protheroe is private secretary to Lady Claire and Sir Andrew Malvern, the most famous inventors in steampunk London. But to insiders, Lewis is a financial wizard and the owner of the Gaius Club, where the hottest bets this month are on the races at the Kennington Oval. Lewis and Snouts can’t resist the chance to go. The races are illegal, of course. But there is enough money in the purse to attract daring inventors of personal flying machines from all over the country. As long as they don’t get caught…

Lady Philomena Noakes has been driven to the Oval by pride and despair. Women are not allowed to compete, of course, but women aren’t allowed to do very much in a Blood family, except be married off to the highest bidder. If she can just fool everyone long enough to show what she can do with her dilapidated flying machine, winning the purse could change everything.

And perhaps two lonely people might discover that flying and love are the two things in the world that involve the greatest risk.

(A much shorter version was previously published under the title “The Knack of Flying” in Shapers of Worlds Vol. I, 2020.)

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