THE GOVERNESS’S GLANCE– Jennifer’s 2017 Golden Heart® Finalist Manuscript
Desperate Times Call For Desperate Pleasures…
Desperate to help save her family from financial ruin with her new governess post, Charlotte Wexley assumes her biggest challenge will be the two rascally orphans in her charge, not their handsome, rakish uncle and ward, the Earl of Huntingdon, who manages to spark her temper—and her heartbeat—at every turn.
Lord Simon Preston’s libertine life is upended when the earl’s brother and sister-in-law die, leaving him guardian to his wild niece and nephew who drive away a series of grim governesses. The newest hire, Miss Charlotte Wexley, is not what Simon had been expecting. She is young, lovely, and unafraid to put him in his place, and sparks soon fly between the fiery governess and the rakish earl. Heated words lead to sensual temptation, and soon they cannot resist passionate stolen kisses. Thoughts of Charlotte tempt Simon to visit the nursery, and he begins to connect with the children. Charlotte sees glimpses of the real man behind the jaded mask, but she must ignore the yearnings of her heart, for putting her position—and her family’s very survival—at risk is beyond foolish. When suspicious accidents threaten Simon and the children, Simon and Charlotte must fight together against an unknown threat and for their happily ever after.
The Governess’s Glance excerpt:
“My lord, I assure you that I am a hard worker, and the children shall receive excellent care while I am their governess. I do know how to be civil despite the bit of evidence to the contrary this morning. I pray you can forgive me for m-my—” Charlotte stuttered, the next words bitter on her tongue. “…for my insolence.”
In reply, the earl picked up a thick slice of bread slathered in brie and ham and took a slow bite. Charlotte stared in confusion. How was she to interpret the man’s silence? Was he so offended by her forwardness in addressing him that he had decided to completely ignore her presence? Had his ennui famished him to such an extent that he must eat before replying?
He set down his food, then picked up a second helping of the same. He stretched his hand out, offering her the snack.
Charlotte walked forward slowly, then reached out to take the food. Her fingers grazed his, and a strange tingle shivered through her. She quickly pulled away, taking a large bite to mask her response to the accidental touch. The creamy brie, salty ham, and thick, crusty bread were a delicious combination, and she briefly closed her eyes as she chewed. Her dinner had been hours ago, after all, and the children had required quite a large amount of energy.
“Thank you,” she said, before taking another bite.
“Miss Wexley,” he drawled, leaning his hip against the table. “It is so very bourgeois of you to apologize in such an earnest manner. I myself never apologize for anything. It rather gives people the false impression that I care what they think.” He took another bite of his sandwich.
Charlotte’s brow furrowed. What was she to make of that? “So, I should not apologize to you, since I don’t care what you think?”
One edge of his mouth curled up. “Brava, Madame Governess. An excellent attempt at a snub. However, the reality is that you do care what I think, since I am your employer, and your entire economic fate rests in my uncaring, aristocratic hands.”
Charlotte gasped, but he merely flicked a crumb of bread off his sleeve and continued.
“The truth of the matter is that if you manage to keep the children safe, reasonably well tended, and completely out of my way, you may keep your post until the end of time… or until they reach their majority, whichever comes first.”
Charlotte sagged in relief at the news that her job was safe, even as she pondered the coldness of his words. She must have loosened her grip on the blanket, for she suddenly realized that his previously indifferent gaze—now looking quite the opposite of indifferent—was locked onto her chest. She looked down to see the blanket gaping open, revealing her thin chemise and quite a bit of cleavage.
“Oh!” she cried, gathering the blanket together and holding it tightly at her neck. Her cheeks felt hot, and she glared at him.
“A gentleman would not look!” she accused.
“A lady would not show,” he replied, his soft voice mocking. Something in her face must have revealed the level of her distress, for his gaze softened infinitesimally. “Your job is secure, Miss Wexley. Off to bed with you now.”
Charlotte practically dashed from the room. The rude, odious, insufferable, arrogant, improper man! He was… he was… “A bastard!” she muttered to herself, finally thinking of the most appropriate inappropriate word for a man of such low behavior.
As Charlotte crawled into her bed, she told herself that the flare of heat in his eyes when he’d looked at her—not to mention her answering shiver—was surely a figment of her imagination.
Wexley Sisters Trilogy, Book 2, The Tutor’s Temptation
Complete, 95k words
Georgette Wexley, a gifted linguist, puts her natural big sister bossiness to use as a foreign language teacher at an elite finishing school in Bath. When she is hired away to serve as a private tutor to a bullied student, Georgette is grateful for the extra money she can send home, but her charge’s charming, handsome older brother’s request for private French lessons leaves her heart beating rapidement.