Cerise Deland
His Tempting Governess

His Tempting Governess

Delightful Doings in Dudley Crescent, Book 2
W. J. Power • June 17, 2019
EBOOK: • Kindle

A bemused earl. A governess disguised. A forbidden love and a terrible wrong that must be made right!

At No.18, Baldwin Summers, the Earl of Cartwell, deals with innumerable problems. At thirty-six, he’s changed. He’s no longer simply ‘Win’, that famous hero of Waterloo, but hailed as his profligate brother’s heir. He’s pensioned off his two mistresses and become oh, so bored with gambling. Yes, too, his mother presses him to marry—but he’d rather remove his spleen with a pickle fork than wed just any young peagoose.

Suddenly, he’s had thrust upon him guardianship of his friend’s eight-year-old daughter. Though she tickles him with her wit…and her exotic pets, the child needs a firm hand. With no idea how to mold her into a socially acceptable creature, he hires a governess.

However, that woman presents his most pressing problem—and his delight. She enchants his ward. But she’s beguiling him as well. And it’s a wonder because she is so very…odd. She knows (yes, indeed) bugs, defeats him every time at chess—and dances. In his upstairs hall. Alone. For the joy of it.
He cannot ignore her. He cannot control her. Worse, he cannot quell his mad desire to kiss her.
She is a temptation and a mystery. With a problem.
Stubborn, she refuses to allow him to help.
He won at Waterloo. But can we win the woman he loves?

If you love witty historical romance, starring endearing heroes and sassy heroines featuring (gasp!) servants, this upstairs, downstairs comedy is for you! Buy HIS TEMPTING GOVERNESS to begin laughing!

Read an Excerpt

Win, the Earl of Cartwell, has arrived home late at night after a dinner party at which his friends introduced him to a few ladies in search of a husband. He’d rather remove his spleen with a pickle fork than wed just any young peagoose.

Tomorrow, he’d challenge his charming governess to a proper match. They’d drive to the park. They’d find a toy store to buy a new doll for Daphne. And he’d enjoy the carefree company of his new and compelling governess.

On a pivot, he made for the stairs and climbed up. But as he gained the landing, he slowed his pace. For in the hall, in the broad Rococo chair next to the old Tudor credenza sat the two objects of his new and stirring affections.

Daphne was curled into the warm embrace of Belle. And that lady, her head tilted at an odd angle, was fast asleep, her mouth open, snoring.

He bit back laughter. Even in sleep, she could bring him pleasure.

Dear lord. He was either getting senile or becoming light in the head.

That, he would decide later. For now, he slid his hands under Belle’s and gathered the child into his embrace. Daphne came, drowsy and nestling like a little bird. He strode with her into her bedroom. The linens were thrown back. She must’ve walked again. But in her bed was Pan, the little creature. And upon the carpet, lay Kringle whose only body parts to move were his eyes.

“I see you, boy. Usurped, have you been?”

The dog said nothing but the monkey babbled at him.

Frowning at the monkey, Win placed Daphne in her bed and covered her. In the dim light, he noted the spareness of the nursery. Oh, there were draperies, dull white. Curtains, drabber and older. A dresser, from the last century. A circular table of an odd height, either fit for child or adult, sat between two odd and rickety chairs.

Terrible. Unworthy of Daphne or Belle. With a vow to have the room gutted and refurnished, he left, closing the door behind him.

His more luscious charge sat, unmoving in her chair, appearing uncomfortable as hell. Worn out, was she? Well, he was becoming so too. Thinking of her, wishing to be with her when he had to smile and curry favor from other women, as he had tonight. It was tiring, unsatisfying to play this social game to find a wife.

Devil take it, I can’t find among them anyone who is refreshing.

He strode over to his sleeping, snoring governess and braced to gather her up. Always lighter than he expected, she sighed and snuggled close to him. The sensation of the wealth in his arms shot to his groin. Her unbound breasts pressed to his chest, an alluring femininity. Her derriere curved in his hands and he shifted to hook his arms behind her knees. She was all firm flesh, long limbs, fragrant rosemary and lavender. Her hair tickled his nose. Her face nestled into his frock coat and cravat.

He turned for her room and wished he didn’t have to. Wished he could carry her right into his.

And do what with her?

Everything.

Don’t be silly.

I’m not. I’m being honest.

She wiggled. Her head fell back against his upper arm.

God, she was lovely. What was such a creature doing working for a living? Why had her grandfather not provided for her?

It happened. He knew it. Heard of it often.

He swallowed back his hatred of such injustices and strode to her door. With a twist of his wrist, he opened it and walked through. The entire room held the signature fragrances of her charm. Rosemary, again. Thyme and citron. He was transported to lemon fields in Spain. Days of splendor. Nights of horror as the shells burst overhead and men cried out for their mothers.

But she was far from that. She was light and air, kindness and consideration, sadness in need of joy.

He bent to put her to her bed and found that she hadn’t turned back the counterpane. When she’d responded tonight to Daphne, Belle had not come from her room. Had she been downstairs playing chess with a phantom?

He smiled. Tomorrow you play with a real man.

She made odd little sounds as she allowed him to deposit her in her bed.

And her eyes fell open. Her lips parted. Her breath stopped.

He could not let her go.

Her hand came up, curved around his nape and in her dazed sleep, she beamed at him and drew him close.

Her lips were much too close. Her fragrance much too compelling.

And then he gave into the temptation and put his lips to hers. Her mouth was soft. Her lips were open. His own were ravenous and though he shouldn’t, he kissed her fully once and again.

She sighed his name.

Never had he heard it as a lover’s plea. And in need, he seized her mouth again.

She kissed him back. With heat and heart and the madness of a lover.

He dare not take more from her and tore his lips away. “Goodnight, ma belle. Sleep well.”

Rogue that he was, he left her. Quickly. Before he could not.