The Key to His Heart: A Steampunk Christmas Fairytale by Barbara Burke

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  • Since he was a small child Andre has been treated like a monster because of his mechanical parts - scorned and reviled by children and adults alike. He's learned to hide himself away from people.
    Arabella, an airship engineer in training, doesn't believe he's a monster at all. But can she convince him of that?
    When she's forced to join him on his airship, The Rose, on a flight through the winter skies it's an opportunity to teach him that love is for everyone and humanity is more than just flesh and blood.

    Rating: Sweet
    Page Count: 39
    Word Count: 9415
    978-1-5092-1786-1 Digital


    “He must have loved you very much.”

    Barbot rose abruptly. “He thought only of himself and his empire. After the repairs were done, he couldn’t bear to be in the same room with me.” With those words, he wrenched the door open and was gone before Arabella could speak.

    Quickly grabbing her cloak, she dashed out after him. He stood in his habitual place at the prow, looking up at the stars.

    His cowl was thrown back over his shoulders, his face bare in the chill night air.

    Arabella didn’t hesitate. She was across the deck in no time, and before he could stop her, she had her hands up on either side of his face, forcing his head down to look at her and allow her to look at him for the very first time.

    By the light of the docking lamps around them, reflected in the snow that had begun to fall, she stared into his eyes.

    “They are golden,” she said in wonder. “Just as people said.”

    He stared back, unblinking. He hadn’t blinked in twenty years.

    “My parts are made of reinforced gold so they don’t rust,” he explained, his voice weary and resigned, as if waiting for her inevitable revulsion to manifest.

    Instead she stood closer still. Her raised hands cupped his cheeks, which were cold in the winter darkness. She could feel the edge of a scar under her fingers. It ran from his hairline down to his brow and across his face to disappear beneath sharp cheekbones into the shadows of her hand. It must once have been horrific. Now it was thin and slightly puckered. His mouth was flawless.

    “You fraud,” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with your face. You have the eyes of a tiger and a scar. Nothing more.”

    Before he could stop her, before he could pull away or worse, push her away, she reached up and slowly pressed her lips against his. They were soft, and warm, and oh so human. And best of all, after an initial hesitation, they were kissing her back.

    The kiss didn’t last an eternity. It didn’t even last a lifetime. But it lasted long enough for Arabella to know that she had found the place she belonged.

    When they broke apart, Andre spoke as if forcing himself to protest. “Don’t do this, Arabella. I have no heart.”

    She smiled at him and shook her head. “Don’t be foolish. You have a heart of gold. And remember, mechanical things need love, too.”

    Then she kissed him again, and this time he didn’t hesitate to kiss her back.


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The Key to His Heart: A Steampunk Christmas Fairytale

The Key to His Heart: A Steampunk Christmas Fairytale

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