by Seleste deLaney
3.4 14

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Badlands by Seleste deLaney

After a brutal Civil War, America is a land divided. As commander of her nation's border guards, Ever is a warrior sworn to protect her country and her queen. When an airship attacks and kills the monarch, Ever must infiltrate enemy territory to bring home the heir to the throne, and the dirigible Dark Hawk is her fastest way to the Union.

Captain Spencer Pierce just wants to pay off the debt he owes on the Dark Hawk and make a life for himself trading across the border. When the queen's assassination puts the shipping routes at risk, he finds himself Ever's reluctant ally.

As they fly into danger, Ever and Spencer must battle not only the enemy but also their growing attraction. She refuses to place her heart before duty, and he has always put the needs of his ship and crew above his own desires. Once the princess is rescued, perhaps they can find love in the Badlands—if death doesn't find them first...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426891250
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 02/28/2011
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 724,605
File size: 434 KB

About the Author

Seleste's first attempt at a novel was a sweeping epic romance called Wars and Wishes, Disasters and Dreams. She finished about three chapters before deciding she had better things to do. At twelve years old, most girls wouldn't have made it that far. She went on to write numerous short stories and poems throughout her teens, but it wasn't until after earning a degree in chemistry that she returned to her love of writing fiction. In addition to her Carina Press work, Seleste also has work with Decadent Publishing, including her debut story Of Course I Try.

These days, Seleste splits her time between the worlds in her imagination and her home in southwest Michigan. Her husband and two children have learned not to worry too much when she doesn't seem all there, and her dog is attached enough that he waits patiently by her feet until she returns.

Read an Excerpt

The tent flap swished open and Ever shielded her eyes from the glare. Her second-in-command eased inside. "We're behind schedule, Catherine. Where have you been?"

Stripping out of the simple tunic and pants the border guards wore in the desert, the curvy brunette shrugged. "Jaye announced her engagement. It was all I could do to get the other women back to their tents to change." She raised a brow as she looked at Ever. "I'm surprised she gave the news without you there."

"Jaye knows I do not approve."

"Of men or marriage?"

Ever's fingers deftly slid buttons through the decorative loops on her jacket. "I have never discouraged the pursuit of sex. Without some release, we'd all go mad." She twisted her long hair up and pinned it. "Marriage is another matter entirely. A distraction."

Catherine's hand fell on her shoulder. "Queen Lavinia has brought us the closest thing to peace the Badlands has seen since the Union first began sending prisoners into exile. If any of us are to find happiness, now is the time."

"That you equate men with happiness proves you don't understand anything." She shrugged off Catherine's grip.

"Not all men who live here are criminals."

With one hand on the flap, Ever paused. "That is only because we do not provide them the opportunity." She stepped outside, hoping the brutal desert air would scour away some of her irritation.

For seven years, she'd patrolled the borders, capturing the men sent across the Mississippi—or killing them if necessary. She'd seen the true heart of evil. It made what Queen Lavinia and her predecessors created out of the harsh mountains and deserts all the more precious. Even the natives respected the Badlands and all it stood for: honor, loyalty, obedience, and above all the power of women. Ever would proudly give her life to protect the fragile peace of her homeland.

Divided loyalties had no place along the borders.

Ever paced outside the tents, waiting for her troops to gather. With a grimace, she tugged at her snug formal jacket. The uniform was ridiculous. She could barely move; this wasn't the attire of a Badlands warrior. Even with nothing beneath, it was too tight. At least these state dinners only came around once or twice a year.

Minutes ticked away as sweat began to dampen the fabric. She refused to give the women under her command any longer. It was time to go.

Ever opened her mouth to bellow the order when a shrill noise pierced the still air of the Painted Desert.

The siren.

Eyes wide, Ever yelled, "Weapons! Now!"

She ducked back into the tent. Catherine had already slid her knives into their sheaths and slung a rifle over her shoulder. "Drill?"

Ever shook her head. Queen Lavinia might have a strange sense of humor, but she would never sound a drill without announcing it to the senior officers.

"The prisoners then?"


Ever hated to consider the implications. The queen's southern fortress housed the worst of the criminals the United States sent over the border. If they'd truly escaped...

She could only hope some overzealous steward sounded the alarm due to an uprising inside the cells.

But she had to assume otherwise.

She tore off the jacket and strapped on her weapons belt. Instinct told her not to waste time with anything else—with her tight, high breasts, she could fight naked if she had to. Crossbow flung over her shoulder, she dashed from the tent.

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Badlands 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Melhay More than 1 year ago
When the male criminals along with other men dressed as soldiers attack, Ever has to do what she doesn't want and run from battle. Her focus now as she leaves her female troops fighting, is to bring the Princess home to the Badlands to rule as the Queen was killed. Ever signals the regular supply airship, Dark Hawk, as it arrives, warning against the United States attacking ship and for her escape. Captain Spencer Pierce, working to pay off his ship and on his last trip, picks up the bloodied woman he finds, willing to help her. Ever needs to find Princess Laurette and bring her back safely before the attackers find her, or get to Ever first. Ever is one hard woman. In this world, she has to be. A world where the United States is divided and she patrols the badlands. The place that the states send their exiled criminals to, and Ever's job is to find them, capture or kill them. She guards from the prisoners getting out and the ones coming in. Ever has many views on men, and is tough on them too. And I like that hardness in her. She is my kinda character. Ever doesn't approve of marriage, feels it's a distraction to the woman warriors. Reading about Ever reminds me of an Amazon Princess Warrior. She is strong and always ready for a fight, doesn't matter in what degree of dress she is in. These Amazon warrior women are of the steampunk era; not ones armed with god forged weapons - truth lasso, bulletproof bracelets, boomerang golden tiara and such, but with pistols, crossbow, and knives on her belt and in her boots. This is one woman out for the fight, and to win at any cost. Ever is the Wonder Woman of Steampunk in the Badlands. We start off into action. Quickly we learn Ever needs to leave, and she battles her way out. In this quick start it takes a little to catch who's where and what's happening, but it catches your eye and keeps you flipping to quickly learn what all is present in this world. The quick movement, action, and hardness of Ever kept me enthralled to quickly get to the end to know what happens. I did have a little bit of a time trying to see the world at the very beginning and what exactly Ever's position was, but it is all detailed as you read along, so it will all come to light soon enough. I slipped right into this story and harsh world. A little romance with steampunk and clockwork along with the threat of death and worry. I kept reading to know what happens, the rest of the world around me falling away bringing me to the harsh rocky quiet of the Badlands. If you are curious about this character, I highly suggest reading the short story, Just A Man, with Ever on the authors site. If you like hard characters, Ever is the one for you. But you get a taste of her determined and clear thinking in the short story. And hopefully Ever and the Badlands are the story for you.
sunshinejenn03 More than 1 year ago
I have never read a book quite like this one. It has everything: warrior women, sex, politics, a chivalrous leading man, and - most importantly - love. It reminded me of the old western movies and The Book of Eli all rolled into one steam-punky, action-filled novella. I did think Ever was a bit of a forced character and I didn't always understand her actions, but I still liked her. Her character development seemed a little hurried, but perhaps that's because this is a novella, so there isn't room for any kind of lengthy development. The clockworks intrigued me; I wish we could see more of them. I definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys science-fiction with a bit a romance thrown in for good measure. It was a great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only thing good about this steampunk book is that is was a fast and cheap read. In fact, after finishing it, I felt cheap (as in the sex scenes are not satisfying), steamed (as in annoyed by the banal characters and plot), and punked (as in tricked into wasting my time reading it in the first place). I highly recommend that other readers not waste their time or money of this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Badlands is a fast-paced steampunk western romance, populated with interesting characters. It is far too short,though. DeLaney does not give herself enough time to fully develop what could be a fascinating world. This is the literary equivalent of eating popcorn when you really want ice cream: tasty, but it leaves you hungry and unsatisfied.
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JMKelley-DrewInBlue More than 1 year ago
Badlands is an alternate reality tale set in a different kind of post-Civil War America where the country is divided into unfriendly neighbors. The heroine, Ever, guards her land's borders. She is a warrior, with the tattoos and scars to prove it. An invasion of her territory results in the murder of the Queen, and Ever is tasked with retrieving and protecting Princess Laurette, the heir to the throne, who is in Philadelphia, living life as a normal student. Reluctantly leaving behind her embattled troops, Ever ends up a passenger on the Dark Hawk, a dirigible captained by Spencer Pierce, a man who just wants to make one last delivery, a commitment that will pay debts owed and transfer ownership of the vessel to him. Naturally, Ever's arrival throws a wrench in that plan. It's clear that Spencer and Ever are attracted to one another. But Ever's pride and obsession with her mission makes that a connection feel more like a burden to her. But eventually, the sparks fly between the pair, and high adventure and peril ensue. And Spencer's unexplainable trust in Ever is put to the test when secrets start to surface. Badlands is an impressive hybrid of Steampunk/Science Fiction/Fantasy, and of course, Romance. And most of those genres are not my usual reading fare. So upon diving into the story, I was surprised by how easily I became engaged by the plot. The blend is just right. Not too much of any one influence happening. One doesn't overpower the others. Definitely a gentle yet solid introduction to the sub-genres. Ever is strong and courageous, but also bull-headed, with a tendency to get a little feral in the right circumstances. Spencer is an agreeable hero. He's a subtle man, without much of that Alpha Man stereotype, a fact that kind of annoys Ever. At first. The supporting characters that populate the Dark Hawk are likeable. Not just background noise. Being new to the steampunk/clockwork scene, I was grateful to the author for painting the scenery well with clear descriptions. I was able to visualize the world she created without wondering if my own brain was veering off in the wrong direction. I found Badlands very entertaining, with love interests that were easy to root for. Joey, The One Hundred Romances Project
AAR More than 1 year ago
BADLANDS by Seleste Delaney is an interesting fantasy/science fiction set after a Civil War in America that divides the land. It is a fast paced,page turning story of passion, betrayal, trust, sweet sensuality,allies,enemies,action,adventure,romanceand love. Ever is the commander of her nations border guards and a fierce warrior. She is the queen's protector,but when her nation is attracked by aircraft and her Queen killed,she must find the next Queen,the Queen's daughter. This takes her into the domain of Captain Spencer Pierce, the captain of the Dark Hawk.While Spencer only wants to pay off his debt and retain ownership of his beloved Dark Hawk,he must help Ever to find the Queen's daughter and get her safety back to the Badlands to regain order. Together as reluctant allys, Ever and Spencer must fight unknown enemies,face danger,fight their growing attraction and their passion for each other. Ever only wants to get back to the Badlands with her new Queen and Spencer only wants to deliver her safely back to the Badlands. While they are both fighting their growing attraction,one is fighting to protect her Badlands the other his protection his ship and crew.But they must work together after being betrayed in order to survive and bring order back to the Badlands. This is a quick,fun read. This book was recieved for the purpose of review from Net Galley and the publisher and details can be found at Carina Press and My Book Addiction Reviews.
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