Engineer Winifred "Wink" Hadrian has been in love with Inspector Liam McCullough for years, but is beginning to lose hope when he swears to be a lifelong bachelor. Faced with a proposal from a Knight of the Round Table and one of her closest friends, Wink reluctantly agrees to consider him instead.
Because of his dark werewolf past, Liam tries to keep his distance, but can't say no when Wink asks him to help find her friend's missing son. They soon discover that London's poorest are disappearing at an alarming rate, after encounters with mysterious "mechanical" men. Even more alarming is the connection the missing people may have with a conspiracy against the Queen.
Fighting against time--and their escalating feelings for each other--Wink and Liam must work together to find the missing people and save the monarchy before it's too late...
Winifred Carter, almost sixteen, barely dared to breathe for fear that something would ruin the moment as a burly dark man and a fair-haired faerie-tale princess said their wedding vows in the garden of a duke.
Cor, an honest-to-bloody-goodness duke. He was old, as was the duchess, but they'd been kind to Wink and pretended they didn't notice when her speech slipped back into the cant of a Wapping pickpocket. Everybody at the wedding also pretended not to see that both the bride and groom had been recently injured, and still sported a bandage or two beneath their silks and satins. Wink bit her lip. Wounds they got saving my sorry hide.
In the space of the last two months, Wink's world had turned upside down and inside out. There she'd been, fighting vampyres in a stinking Wapping alleyway with her friends, like always, and along had come this man. He'd helped slay the monsters, and he'd let Wink, Tom and the others run away before the coppers came.
Of course Wink had hidden to watch. A toff, helping the likes of them? It didn't make any sense. Neither did the young constable with the curling black hair and twinkling dark eyes, who'd winked at her, but not given her away to the other coppers. Constable McCullough had been the handsomest thing she'd ever seen, though the older man--Sir Merrick he'd called himself--wasn't exactly an ogre. Once the night was over, Wink never expected to lay eyes on either of them again.
But Sir Merrick came back to Wapping and told Tom a story. What if, he'd said, King Arthur's Knights of the Round Table had never disappeared? What if their descendants were still alive, still in Britain, protecting people from the monsters, bloodsucker and human as best they could? Even stranger, what if Tom were one of them? Wink had to admit, Tom's senses for finding monsters and his skill at hunting them was unusual, as much so as her facility with machines or Nell's gift for seeing ghosts. When Sir Merrick had offered Tom the chance to come live in his posh Mayfair mansion and train to be a Knight, Tom had refused. Not unless the others come along, he'd said. Tom was a good sort like that. Wouldn't let the little ones down.
Wink still couldn't believe Sir Merrick had said yes. Now the five street rats from Wapping were living it up in Mayfair, the wards of a baronet. Of course they ran amok. Who wouldn't? Soon, a governess came, Miss Caroline with her ready smile, bright green eyes and cor, pointed ears. Next they found out Tom wasn't a bastard, but the heir to another baronet. Tom's grandfather was too sick to take care of him, but he sent papers proclaiming Sir Merrick as Tom's legal guardian, and one day Tom would have a huge house and the title Sir. Wink's head had barely stopped spinning from that, when the bloodsuckers and their human friends had kidnapped her to make a machine that would allow them to pass as human. Sir Merrick, Miss Caroline and the dashing Constable Liam had all rushed to her rescue.
That's when she learned Constable Liam was a werewolf. Not that it mattered. Wink had gotten used to strange things early in her life, even back before Wapping. Furry by moonlight or not, he still made her heart flutter and something strange twist in her stomach.