Laura Irving spends her days helping in the family farm, still mourning her brother’s sudden death.
Alexander Conner, Duke of Farnworth, is the epitome of what how a Duke should live an act. Cold and aloof on the outside but lonely on the inside, his boring life changes the day he hires Laura to be the new governess of his unruly sister.
When a dangerous man appears at the Irving household’s doorstep claiming unpaid debts, Laura is given a choice: see her family suffer… or kill the Duke of Farnworth.
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This book starts right off with a mystery, Laura Irving’s brother was murdered and the killer is still on the loose. Laura’s family owns a farm and her father has a habit of not only drinking but also gambling more than he can afford to. Laura and her mother do more for the farm than her father does.
Alexander Connor, the Duke of Farnworth, isn’t one to sit back and do nothing. He and his best friend, Bernard Tranter, the Marquess of Woodward, own a very successful brewery. Alexander has another problem, his precocious sister Emily. Emily tends to run off and do what ever she feels like any time she wants. A tendency Alex desperately wants to curtail especially with a murderer out there. Her latest escape from the household staff has Alexander grounding her until he can find a suitable governess.
A horrible twist of fate when a stranger threatens Laura’s family and tells her to seek revenge on her brother’s murderer the Duke. He also supplies her with all the documents needed to secure her the position of governess including a different last name.
This is a favorite scene.
“Your Grace, I have a Miss Laura Elkins here to see you,” the footman said.
“Who is she?” asked Alexander.
“She said she is here to speak with someone about the governess position. I am happy to take her to the house to speak with Mr. Grove,” said the man.
“I can speak with her,” said Alexander. Typically, he would allow Grove to handle the hiring of staff, but since this was directly going to affect Emily, he wanted to at least meet her.
The footman motioned toward the woman and she slowly walked forward, almost apprehensive in her actions.
“Good afternoon, Your Grace,” she said.
Whomever this woman was, she knew that Alexander was the Duke of Farnworth based on her greeting.
“Good afternoon,” he responded. Immediately he noticed her striking hazel eyes, which seemed to sparkle. Her long, dark hair fell around her face. “May I help you with something?”
“My apologies for calling without an appointment, Sir,” she said. He noticed that she had freckles across her face, which further enhanced the look of her eyes. “I am inquiring about the governess position that you have available.”
“Oh, of course,” replied Alexander. He was slightly puzzled, but then realized that this must be either someone who Bernard had found this afternoon, or perhaps she was the governess who Louisa had suggested. “Pardon my surprise,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to meet with a governess at this moment.”
“I can come at a later time, Sir,” the woman said.
“No, no, this is fine,” replied Alexander. “The sooner I find a governess for my sister, the better off the entire household will be.” He smiled at her, but she did not return the gesture.
“I take it Lord Woodworth sent you?” asked Alexander, studying the stoic expression on the woman’s face.
“Yes, Your Grace,” replied the woman. “Lord Woodworth sent me. He said you required a governess for your sister, Lady Emily.”
“Indeed, I do,” said Alexander, “If Lord Woodworth sent you this quickly, you must have some wonderful experience.”
“Yes, Your Grace,” said the woman. “I have my references here, too.” She reached into her reticule and pulled out papers. She took a quick glance at them, and then handed them over to Alexander.
He took the papers into his hand and looked down to read them. They were, indeed, papers that stated she was a governess and had all of the education necessary to teach his sister. There were several references, too. “Your name is Miss Elkins?” asked Alexander.
“Yes, Sir, I am Laura Elkins, the daughter of a merchant in London. I have come to the countryside looking for work, as my last charge recently came of age.”
Alexander was a bit surprised by this, as he would think that there were more jobs available in London for a governess, but again, he trusted Woodworth, and if he sent Laura for the job, that was good enough for Alexander. After all, she had references, she was young, and she certainly didn’t seem like she would allow Emily to get out of line. In fact, she seemed as if she was a very strict person. She had yet to smile, and he couldn’t help but notice that her eyes seemed to darken when he spoke to her.
“All seems to be in order, here,” said Alexander to Miss Elkins. “And if Lord Woodworth sent you, I am confident that you would make a wonderful addition to the staff.”
“Thank you, Your Grace” responded Miss Elkins. “I assure you that I am focused on my task and goals.”
She looked at him coldly, but Alexander didn’t mind. Emily needed a strong hand to tame her, and from what he had seen of Miss Elkins, it seemed like she would be a perfect fit.
“When are you available to start working?” Alexander asked the young woman.
“I am available to start whenever you require me, Your Grace,” she replied.
“If you could start tomorrow, it would be ideal,” said Alexander. “I’m sure Lord Woodworth told you that Lady Emily could be a bit… excitable… but she is a very intelligent girl, and I’m confident that the two of you will get on quite well.”
“Yes, Your Grace,” said the woman. “I’m confident that we will.”
She is very polite and looks so sweet and innocent, but she’s certainly a bit
Alexander couldn’t help but notice the curves of Miss Elkins’ hips beneath her coat, which was pulled tightly around her waist. His eyes followed the shape of her body, and the tight buttons on her coat also pushed her breasts up, which were sizable and shapely when compared to her small frame.
“Now I suppose that we must discuss your compensation, Miss Elkins,” said Alexander, now focusing on the shape of her lips, which were lush and beautiful. “The last governess we had was given room and board, along with a small salary. Is that agreeable to you?”
“Yes, Your Grace,” replied Miss Elkins, looking directly into his green eyes with her hazel ones. It was enough to make him shiver before catching his breath.
Her eyes are certainly fetching and sensual.
“Excellent,” he said. “Please come by the house tomorrow, and I will ask that you speak with my steward, Mr. Grove. He is in charge of staffing, and he can help you get acquainted with the staff and Emily.”
“Yes, Your Grace,” said the woman, just as coldly as she had before. Her coldness is attractive. I like a bit of a challenge.
“I will come by tomorrow and ask for Mr. Grove.”
“Splendid,” said Alexander. “I will inform Lady Emily of our arrangement, and I will also tell Mr. Grove that he can expect you to call upon him tomorrow.”
“Thank you, Your Grace,” the woman said. “I appreciate the offer of work, and I look forward to meeting Lady Emily.”
As she said those words, she turned quickly and began to walk away from Alexander. His eyes watched her shapely figure as she took each step, her hips swaying like a pendulum.
That is odd behavior to just walk away that quickly.
Alexander watched her walk down the road until she disappeared from view. He leaned against the side of the building and felt the warm afternoon sun on his skin. A sense of relief fell over him. Finally, he believed that he found a governess who could control his sister.
Scarlett Osborne. Seduced by the Brooding Duke (Kindle Locations 440-494). Scarlett Osborne. Kindle Edition.
This is the beginning of some very interesting events. Starting with some thefts in the brewery designed to hurt profits.
Interestingly there are several players in this tale and lots of twists and turns as the Duke finds himself more than a little attracted to his new governess.
I didn’t suspect the true culprit until almost the very end.
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Born in the Sunshine State of Florida, but of both British and Nordic descent, Scarlett Osborne grew up reading historical romances from the land of her ancestors. Fascinated with the British society of the 1800s and armed with a wild imagination, she obtained a degree in Creative Writing and immediately started her career as a Regency romance author.
A daydreamer extraordinaire, Scarlett likes to jump in the shoes of her heroines, immersing herself in her own stories, living the adventures that she wished she had experienced as a child. An avid reader and fan of the outdoors, Scarlett spends her free time either reading or going on long horseback rides along with her two sons.
Get lost in a land of enchantment, where adventure and love await around every corner…Scarlett hopes that through her heroes, you too will get to live a whirlwind romance in the Regency era, when fairytales were real and all dreams possible!