This is a novella from Meljean Brook’s Iron Seas series. I’m not 100% sure where exactly it falls in the series, maybe between books one and two? It is written in third person from Ivy Blacksmith’s and Eben Machen’s POVs.
This is my favorite Meljean Brook’s story. I know it’s a novella, but the characters are awesome!
Ivy is a blacksmith in London, but a steampunk London. Londoners are mostly infected by bugs that make them stronger, healthier, and allow various prosthetics to be augmented onto ones bodies. This is normal as at one time England was controlled by their bugs by the Horde, and the Horde modified people to do various jobs. The Horde’s control over England has since been ended, however Ivy has a horrible scare that leads her to believe they might come back. This causes her to run to Eben “Mad” Machen.
Eben is the captain of Vesuvius. He’s about to leave London when Ivy comes to him hoping to escape. Ivy doesn’t know that Eben is attracted to her, and his terrifying reputation makes her question her decision. However she is desperate to flee London, and Eben can see this.
There are some twists and turns along the way, but Ivy and Eben each grow as people. Ivy learns her strengths and Eben learns to let her really see him. There is a lot of work to be done, and they have some obstacles to overcome, but this story is great!