Hunted is the second book in Lindsay Buroker’s Flash Gold Chronicles. If you like western-themed steampunk, you’ll love the Flash Gold Chronicles. Start with the first story, Flash Gold (reviewed here) and just keep right on reading. You’ll be glad you did.

Hunted picks right up where Flash Gold left off. So there will be some spoilers for Flash Gold in this review. (It’s difficult to review book 2 of a series without spoiling book 1 a tiny bit!)

Kali and Cedar are business partners. But not partners of any other kind. However, when Kali’s low-down, no-good con man of an ex-fiancé strolls into her tinkering shop, Kali pretends that Cedar is her beau. She’s just so incensed that Sebastian believes that no man could possibly be interested in her unless he was after her dwindling supply of her father’s flash gold.

There turn out to be three problems with her deception of Sebastian as to the nature of her partnership with Cedar.

Problem number one: Sebastian has a job for her, a real one. He’s planning to prospect for gold out and he wants her to come out and handle the engineering. She needs the money for parts for her airship.

Problem number two: her business partner Cedar not only wants her to take that job, he wants to come along with her. He needs the excuse to go out to the goldfields. Cedar is a bounty hunter, and the bounty he is hunting is rumored to be on the next claim over from Sebastian’s.

Problem number three: while Cedar was standing behind her with his arms wrapped around her, pretending to be not just protective, but downright enamored of her, Kali discovered that she liked the feeling far too much. Pretending to be engaged might upset the balance of their relationship in ways she hadn’t expected.

And with Kali’s luck, once she and Cedar arrived at Sebastian’s gold claim, the entire situation immediately went from bad to worse. The only gold Sebastian was after turned out to be the bounty on Kali’s head!

Escape Rating A-: The Flash Gold Chronicles are simply way too much fun. Kali’s endless inventiveness, her positive lust for all things mechanical, is an absolute delight. Every time some new engineering marvel takes pot shots at her, she’s every bit as interested in seeing how it ticks as she is in shooting it down. Kali is a character I’d love to meet.

I’ve already started Peacemaker, the third book in the Flash Gold Chronicles. I’m delighted to be spending more time with Kali and Cedar.