A Governess’ Midnight Seduction (Preview)

Chapter One

Dinner that evening was noticeably tense. Eating with his father, Lord Harry Erasmus Victor Graham, Duke of Gloucester, was always mildly uncomfortable, but Robert had come to expect that. Tonight, however, had been practically unbearable.

Robert always knew something was bothering his father when his left hand shook. He usually held it clenched upon the table regardless of the situation. However, he’d been left with a tremor after being thrown from his horse when the animal was startled by a hare emerging from the forest rather unexpectedly three years ago. He had sustained several other injuries, but the tremor was the only lasting one, and it only acted up when he was upset. Tonight, it shook so hard against the table while they were eating that it sounded as though someone was knocking at the door to the dining room the entire meal.

Robert had noticed it immediately, but he knew that his father liked being the one to bring up the topic of whatever was bothering him. If Robert had pointed it out to him, it only would have made him more irritated. If he had asked him what was wrong, that would have made Lord Graham likely to explode, as that question was his least favourite of all.

And so, Robert had silently slurped his soup, looked out the window into the increasing darkness falling over their majestic estate, and tried not to look at his father. He pretended to be very interested in a loose thread that was protruding from a button on his jacket for an extraordinarily long time, almost long enough for him to finish his meal. When the butler came to take his bowl away, Robert breathed a sigh of relief that Lord Graham hadn’t said anything to him at dinner, and he retreated to the library hoping that he wouldn’t follow him. Lord Graham positively despised books, after all.

For about an hour, Robert thought he might be in the clear. There were no footsteps outside his door, and no one interrupted his re-read of Aristotle’s, Poetics. Robert began to relax more into his comfortable armchair and even went as far as to slouch, as there was no one around.

After an hour and five minutes, however, there was a soft knock on the library door. Robert immediately tensed and shut his book, straightening his posture.

That crafty man. He waited just long enough to make me think that I was in the clear and then came in for the kill when I was vulnerable. The problem is that I simply cannot think of what I could have done wrong to have made him so upset.

“Yes?” Robert called in the direction of the door.

He heard it open, and so he turned around to see who it was. It turned out to be Edgar Montrose, his father’s personal valet.

“Excuse me, Lord Robert. Your father would like a word with you in his study at your earliest convenience,” Edgar said, as gently as he could.

“Thank you, Edgar. I shall come at once.” Robert made his comment sincerely but shot Edgar a look that asked, How bad is it?

“Very good, Lord Robert,” Edgar replied politely, but he widened his eyes as far as they would go to respond to Robert’s look with, Far worse than the worst you could imagine, I’m sorry.

Edgar then bowed and left the room. Robert immediately began feeling panic rising up into his throat. He quickly thought back through all of the interactions that he’d had with his father in the last few weeks, desperately searching for what he could have possibly done wrong. He also scoured the things that he had done in the past few days to see if any of them could have possibly been misinterpreted by his tyrannous father, but nothing sprung to mind. Finally, when he could think of absolutely nothing he could have done to bring on his father’s rage, he sighed, rose from his chair, and marched down the hall to meet his unfortunate fate.

When he arrived at the door, he closed his eyes briefly to calm himself and then knocked.

“Enter,” his father’s voice boomed.

Robert had to stop himself from flinching when he heard it. It took all his willpower to enter the room, and when he finally laid his eyes upon his father, he knew that Edgar had not been exaggerating. Lord Graham’s eyes were so full of fury that Robert genuinely feared for his life.

He sat at his enormous desk in his monstrously large chair at the other end of the room and glowered at Robert. The young man had feared his father his whole life. He was an imposing, intimidating figure who loomed over everyone he stood next to. This was largely because he was six feet tall, and his figure was similar to that of a bull. He had long white-blond hair with eyebrows and facial hair that matched, a product of a lack of pigmentation revealed at birth. Also because of this, his eyes were an unnatural grey colour, and when he stared at Robert, he always felt as though he was peering straight into his soul.

“Robert,” Lord Graham growled. “Take a seat.”

Robert did as he was told and took up the chair directly in front of his desk. He knew better than to say a single word until spoken to, and so he remained silent, doing his best to meet his father’s icy gaze.

“Are you aware of why I called you in here?” Lord Graham continued, knitting his fingers together in front of him on the desk.

“I am not, Your Grace,” Robert replied submissively. He thought that whatever honesty he could offer would greatly assist him in this situation.

Lord Graham let out a low chuckle that sounded like a block of ice being dragged across a frozen pond. It made the hair on the back of Robert’s neck stand on end.

“You are lying to me,” Lord Graham told him.

Robert considered his options momentarily: he could lie and say that his father was correct, he could continue to tell the truth and insist that he had no idea why he had been called into his study, or … he could run. He felt that honesty was still his best hope, and so he decided to try and insist. Running did sound rather tempting right now, though.

“I’m afraid, Father, that I must swear to you that I am not. I do not say this to …”

Lord Graham slammed his fist down on the table, and every object on his desk, in addition to Robert, jumped.

“I WILL NOT BE CONTRADICTED NOR TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF, YOU FOOL! ADMIT TO WHAT YOU HAVE DONE, OR I SHALL SERVE YOU THE MOST SEVERE PUNISHMENT,” Lord Graham boomed.

Now, every cell in Robert’s body was telling him to get out of that room, but he knew he could not leave. He did not know what to do – he could not confess if he did not know what he had done, and he could not continue to defy his terrifying father.

As he sat there frantically trying to decide how to respond, his right eye began to twitch, and he knew that he was in trouble. The twitching was an automatic response that his body had to his father’s anger, and he knew that he only had a few minutes to get out of this situation before it would escalate into a full-face twitch.

“I … I am sorry, Father,” Robert stammered.

“SPEAK UP, YOU MUTTERING IMBECILE!” Lord Graham roared.

“I’m sorry, Father,” Robert heard himself saying in a far calmer voice. “I apologize for what I have done, and I will accept whatever punishment you bestow upon me.”

When the words were out of his mouth, Robert wanted to be sick. He despised the timid, submissive, quivering man that he turned into in front of his father but knew there was nothing to be done about it now. Lord Graham had been this way with him his whole life, and no matter how hard he tried, Robert had never been able to stand up to him.

When Robert met his father’s eye again, he was giving him a thorough looking-over. He didn’t think that his apology was going to work, as it seldom did, but then, a miracle occurred.

Lord Graham took a deep breath, un-knitted his fingers, and leaned back in his chair. Make no mistake, he still looked utterly terrifying, but Robert no longer feared that he would be leaving this study with one less extremity.

“… Books. That was what it finally came down to, didn’t it?” Lord Graham asked him judgementally.
Robert was baffled. He still didn’t have a clue what his father was talking about, but he decided to go with it.

“I’m afraid so. I know that you have counselled me many times to take my nose out of ‘those blasted books’, but I could not resist,” Robert suggested. He sincerely hoped that what he was saying matched the crime that his father was accusing him of; otherwise, he’d have a bigger problem on his hands.

“You should have heeded my warning, Robert,” Lord Graham said, shaking his head and drumming on the desk. “If you had, you would not be in this … unfortunate situation right now.”

Robert’s heart began pounding once again. “What … what situation would that be exactly, Father?”
Lord Graham gave his icy chuckle once more. “A fortuneless one, my son.”

Robert’s heart dropped into his stomach. “A … a what?”

“When I discovered that immense amount of money missing from my accounts,” Lord Graham explained, “I knew immediately that it had to have been your doing. But then to discover through some … investigating, shall we say, that you had wasted it all on books? I was disgusted. And so, I have decided to teach you the true value of money. You shall be cut off immediately, and I expect you to be gone from this household within a week.”

Robert could hardly believe his ears. But what he could gather from what his father was telling him was that someone had spent an exorbitant amount of money on books, and because Robert was both the reader of the family, as well as the least favourite child, it had been blamed on him. He wasn’t surprised, but he was rather at a loss for words regarding his punishment.

“Father, I won’t say that what you’re accusing me of is wrong, but I would … I would ask you to reconsider your punishment. I’m very sorry for what I did, I shall return the books immediately, and your money will all be returned to you. Is there not some way that we could …”

“No,” Lord Graham barked at his son. “You’ve been nothing but a disappointment from the day you were born, and so I intend to make you understand the full extent of the grief that you have caused me. There will be no more discussion on this topic, and if you do not follow my orders … there will be even more severe punishment.”

Lord Graham waved his hand at Robert, signalling that he was to leave now. Robert did his very best to summon his courage to say something in response to his father, but then he remembered all the times that he had tried to do that as a child. On his eighth birthday, on the day of his brother’s first riding lesson … and on the day his mother died.

All his attempts had been met with such cruelty that he didn’t dare disobey his father, even now, and even though he knew he had done nothing wrong. He knew who the real culprit behind this missing money was, and so he was going to go and give her a piece of his mind.

That person was his half-sister, Louisa.

Chapter Two

Robert charged through the house, stopping in all of his sister’s usual haunts, but to no avail. He knew she would be hiding out in the open, waiting to gleefully gloat in his face. Finally, he entered her private sitting room and found her luxuriating in front of the fire with a book in her hands that she was only pretending to read. Louisa hated reading as much as their father did.

“Is that one of them, then?” Robert shouted at his sister.

“Good evening to you too, you louse,” Louisa said, not looking up from her book. “What gives you the right to think that you could speak to me like that? Need I remind you of your place within this household for the hundredth time this week?”

Louisa was quite an attractive young woman with long, flowing blonde hair currently piled in curls atop her head. She had icy blue eyes that seemed to pierce through one’s soul when she looked at you, and everything about her was very angular. She had a jaw that could cut glass, her nose was quite small but very pointed at the tip, and even her fingers seemed to jut out of the ends of her hands like shards of glass.

This, combined with her naturally sharp personality made her one of the most feared people in society. No one ever dared to say a rude word about her, lest they be subjected to her wrath. Just last month, Eloise Chamberlain was attending her first ball in society and whispered to a friend about how Louisa’s bow on the back of her dress was tied. Robert hadn’t been able to step in quickly enough to rescue Miss Chamberlain from the fate his sister dealt her. She subsequently had a bowl of molasses ‘accidentally’ poured on her dress, which happened to be the only fine one she owned, effectively ruining it.

“How dare you ruin me like this,” Robert continued, ignoring Louisa’s horrible comments. “I would have told Father straight away that it had, in fact, been you that had bought all of those books, only to blame it all on me.”

“What stopped you then, dear brother?” Louisa asked, closing her book with a snap and looking at him with venom in her eyes. “Did you realize that everything was stacked against you? You’re the runt of the litter; Father absolutely despises you, and you’d never be able to prove what I’d done to you.”

Robert fumed, but he knew that Louisa was absolutely right. He was the youngest of the three children, the least handsome, and the most hated. The main reason behind all of these factors was that Robert was born to the Duke of Gloucester’s second wife.

Before being with his mother, Lord Graham had been married to a well-bred woman who society felt was ‘worthy’ of him because of her social status. Lady Euphemia Graham had been a well-respected, highly-revered woman, and with Lord Graham, she’d had two children: George and Louisa. Lady Graham was naturally relieved that her first-born had been a boy, but there was a problem. Louisa had been a hearty young thing from the moment she was born, but her older brother hadn’t been quite so lucky.

George had been quite sickly his whole life. Doctors could never exactly figure out what was wrong with him, and so he was given the nickname ‘the pale Graham boy.’ There were so many times that the family thought he was going to die that they began making contingency plans for who would claim the title of duke when the time came, for you see, the rest of the family had been plagued with nothing but girls for a very, very long time.

It was decided that Louisa would marry early, so that hopefully she would bear a son and he would take over his grandfather’s position. This had greatly pleased Louisa from a young age, as that meant that she, through her eventual son, would get all the glory of the family’s inheritance.

Unfortunately for Louisa, a major problem arose: her mother passed away quite suddenly of a fever. Even worse, her father wanted nothing more than to re-marry, which meant there would be potential for another child to be born, and if that child were a boy, her claim to the family fortune would be snatched from under her.

Which, of course, was exactly what happened. Lord Graham married Agnes Ilworthy, Robert’s mother, quite soon after Euphemia passed away. Agnes was a very practical woman, and she knew that marrying the duke would be a very intelligent move. When they were courting, she seemed very obedient, rather meek, and she, of course, was at the same level of societal importance that Euphemia had been. It seemed to be the perfect union.

However, once they were married, Agnes showed her true colours. She was outspoken, openly defiant, strong-willed, and everything that the duke did not want in a marriage. Lord Graham was furious with her every moment of every day, but there was nothing he could do to subdue her … or stop the arrival of their son, Robert.

Sadly for Robert, Agnes had died in childbirth. In the duke’s defence, he had called upon all of the best doctors to come and attend to her despite his rage, but nothing could be done. Agnes died without ever having held her son, and that broke Robert’s heart to this day.

After Agnes was gone, all of the duke’s rage became directed at Robert. He was a legitimate son, but he may as well not have been in his father’s books. On top of that, Louisa hated him from the moment he was born because it meant that the family title would be passed down to Robert if George passed. Lord Graham hated that fact as well, but it got lost amongst all the other things that he despised about his son, whereas it was always at the top of Louisa’s list.

Thankfully for Robert, however, George had matured into a perfectly healthy and genuinely quite kind young man. He was the only member of his family that Robert had an excellent relationship with, and he couldn’t have been more grateful for it. But George was nearly ten years older than him, and so he had found a lovely wife many years ago. He was now living off on one of the family’s properties with her and his three children.

“Louisa, your behaviour is absolutely despicable. This is a new low, and you will come to regret it,” he finally settled on.

Louisa tilted her head back and cackled. “Is that a threat, little brother?”

“No,” Robert replied emotionlessly. “I would never threaten anyone, not even you. I won’t ever stoop to your level. I believe that the best revenge is being able to move on with one’s life and be happier than the person who tried to bring you down ever could be.”

Louisa raised her eyebrows, walked over to her brother, and patted him on the cheek. “That’s a very inspirational speech for such a small man. Do you say that to yourself every morning as you’re struggling to put on your clothing?”

Robert rolled his eyes. “Is that really the best that you can do, dear sister? I thought that you would have something far more caustic to say to me.”

“I’m only getting started, little brother,” Louisa replied menacingly. “You see …”

“I do not have time for your cruelty, Louisa,” Robert interrupted her tirade. “For you see, I have the perfect plan for how to recover from such an injustice, and I shall never tell you what it is. Even better, you won’t be able to find me quickly enough to discover what I have done.”

Robert turned on his heel and waltzed out of the room, quite pleased with himself.

“You’re acting as if I would care enough to try and see where you’re going, brother,” Louisa called after him. “Wouldn’t that mean that I would have to …”

But Robert slammed the door to the sitting room too quickly for her to get another word in. He could hear her muffled shouting through the door, and he chuckled delightedly to himself as he walked away.

The only way this moment could be made better is if I actually had a plan of what to do with myself now, Robert thought. I suppose that I will just have to pack my things and hope that something comes to me!

Chapter Three

By the next morning, Robert had decided what to do and delighted in the fact that he was going to tell absolutely no one where he was going or what he was doing. It was a strange sensation; while he was devastated by the fact that his sister’s actions had cut him off from his rightful claim to his family’s wealth, he now felt freer than ever. He no longer had to abide by his father’s rules or listen to his sister’s constant complaints about him. Now, he was going out into the world on his own, in a way, at just twenty-three years old.

Last night when he had been packing his bags and was beginning to panic about where he would go or what he would do, an idea popped into his head, and it made him feel like a fool for not having thought of it earlier. When he was placing his finest suit in his case, he was reminded that it had once been George’s, and immediately Robert knew that he had to go to George. No matter what kind of trouble Robert was in, he knew that he could count on his brother to assist him in any way that he could. All he had to do was figure out a way to get to him, and he would be set.

He left the estate very early the next morning when only the servants and workers were awake. He walked into town, lugging his suitcase as he went, and quickly came to regret all the things he had brought with him. He did make it eventually, though, and was able to catch a coach to London. The ride was far less luxurious than what he was used to, but it got him where he needed to go, and he had never been happier to see his brother’s estate rising beyond the hills.

When he exited the coach, he gazed upon the house and felt the relief sink in. He cursed himself for having not thought of coming to see George sooner, but no matter, he was here now, and that was what was important. He took his case, set it beside the front door, and then knocked on it with the grand brass knocker.

A few moments later, a servant answered the door. “May I be of assistance, sir?”

“I certainly hope so,” Robert said honestly. “I apologize for arriving unannounced, but I would appreciate the opportunity to have a private meeting with my brother, the master of the house.”

The older servant looked Robert up and down and then opened the door wider to allow him in.
“Certainly, sir. Allow me to enquire about his schedule for the day and if he might be able to admit you. Please come in, and I will call for your case to be brought inside.”

Robert thanked the servant and followed him into a sitting room. When he sat down, he took a moment to marvel at how much the house had changed since he had last been here. At first, he could not recall how long it had been, and that made him feel very guilty. That must have meant that it had been far too long. The children were all very young when he had last been given permission to visit, and he thought that George’s eldest would probably be around ten years old now.

If he recalled correctly, the room that he had been sitting in was once a sickly pink colour and was only decorated with furniture that his father had chosen. Everything that Lord Graham liked seemed to be very dark wood, quite large, and unfortunately uncomfortable. Now, however, the room was a pleasant pale green, and all the furniture was very inviting and plush. The chair that Robert presently sat in, for example, was almost a little too comfortable. He feared that he would not be able to rise from it when his brother called upon him.

It should be mentioned that while George truthfully was only Robert’s half-brother, the two were so close that they never referred to each other as anything less than ‘brother’. When it came to Louisa, however, Robert took great delight in constantly referring to her as his half-sister. She called him every bad name in the book, so why shouldn’t he?

Robert knew that his brother would not be available immediately, and so he took out the book that he always kept in his breast pocket and began reading it. It was a book entitled, Frankenstein, and although it had only recently been published, Robert loved the way it had been written. He thought the author had a phenomenal talent for description, and the plot hooked him from the very first page.

Right when he was getting to the end of the book’s introduction, the door to the sitting room opened, and George walked in. He was a strikingly good-looking man with a head of thick, curly brown hair, a pleasantly round face, and broad shoulders. If Robert hadn’t known how sickly he had been as a young man, he would have thought that George had just been born like this: sturdy, strapping, and generous.

When George laid eyes on him, he flung open his arms and encouraged him into them. “Brother!”

“George, good to see you, so sorry to call on you like this unannounced,” Robert apologized.

“Nonsense, nonsense, any excuse to see you is a good one! Come, let us sit by the window, and you can tell me why you have called upon me this fine day,” George said, clapping Robert encouragingly on the back.

The two men walked over to the two chairs directly in front of the grand window and made themselves comfortable. Robert looked out over the lawn and smiled.

“I’m very pleased that you’ve kept up your garden so nicely,” he commented.

“The garden isn’t even the half of it,” George said, chuckling. “I must show you my conservatory later on, as I have a great many species in there that I think would greatly interest you.”

“I would very much enjoy that,” Robert replied. “The house has seemed devoid of life since you and all of your plants vacated it so many years ago.”

“Does our vivacious sister not provide enough … liveliness for you?” George asked smirking.

“I would take your plants over her tyrannous attitude any day, Brother.” Robert took a beat, collected his thoughts, and then turned to begin explaining why he had called upon his brother so unannounced, but George was already looking him up and down. “You’re looking at me oddly. Is there something you can tell already about the reason for my visit here today?”

George chuckled, leaned back in his chair, and placed his hands upon his stomach as he gazed out over the lush gardens. “I don’t believe you realize how transparent you can be, Robert. For example, by the way, your brow is knitted and the fact that you’ve been playing with your fingers ever since I entered the room, I know that your visit has something to do with either father, Louisa, or both. I tend to think it is the latter, as those two are viciously inseparable.”

Robert looked down at his hands. “I hadn’t even realized that I …”

“Which is why I pointed that out to you,” George finished for him. “If you’re going to get anywhere in this life, you have to be very aware of what signals you are sending at all times. Had I not known you as well as I do, I would have thought that your fidgeting fingers meant that our visit here today was making you very anxious.”

Robert nodded, silently impressed by his magnificent brother. He idolized him in every way that one could; George was the kind of man that Robert wished to be when he was older. He was respectable, kind, understanding, and generous, and yet none of these characteristics gave way to him being the type of person that one could simply walk all over. Quite the opposite, in fact. He was very strong-willed and confident and knew his worth in society.

After having overcome his mysterious and ever-present illness that he’d struggled with since childhood, George had met and married a beautiful, kind-hearted young Frenchwoman, Eponine Corriveau, when he was only twenty-three years old. She came from a very rich family in France, and so the two were well-matched in that regard. They were also well-suited to each other because Eponine was the only other person that Robert had ever met that was as warm and inviting as George was.

They’d moved to one of the family’s other estates immediately following the wedding, and over the next few years, they had three children: Andre, Margaret, and Amelie. Andre was now about nine, Margaret was six, and Amelie was four. They were very well-behaved, bright children who, while they were largely looked after by a governess, spent a great deal of time with their parents.

“You can rest assured that I felt no fear about coming here today,” Robert finally replied, placing his hands calmly on his legs, “but you are absolutely right that my problems have arisen because of our darling father and sister.”

Robert then launched into his re-telling of his father’s accusation, rage, and insistence that he remove himself from the household. He then reported how he had confronted Louisa and her glee at her younger half-brother being given no more money from their father. As he re-told the story, he watched George’s face to try and gauge how he would react, but unlike Robert, George was very skilled at hiding his feelings.

When Robert’s account came to a close, George was silent for a few minutes. Robert knew that this wasn’t an indication that he was upset; George simply liked to have time to process what was going on around him.

After a moment, George sat up more stiffly in his chair and turned to face his brother.

“I will start off by saying that I am not surprised by any of this. You know that I mirror your feelings when it comes to our father; he is a very angry, unhappy man who seems to feel that you are the root of all his problems. His cruelty towards you never ceases to amaze me, and I know that it makes very little difference, but I am sorry that he treated you that way,” George empathized.

“Thank you, brother,” Robert said quietly, but no less gratefully. While he absolutely hated that the majority of his family thought the worst of him at all times, he was very grateful that he had George on his side.

“And as for Louisa,” George continued, “I am even less surprised. We have both known ever since you were born that she has harboured a great deal of spite for you merely because you exist. I had hoped that my recovery would at least diffuse some of her anger towards me, as she could now be angry that I hadn’t died like I was supposed to so that her child could receive the family title. One would have also hoped that their sister would be overjoyed that their sickly brother finally overcame his illness, but not our Louisa. Look at us, Robert: the two biggest walls standing between Louisa and her child’s eventual dukedom.”

The two men laughed, and a servant knocked on the door to bring in some refreshment. There was a tray of tea as well as two plates of delicious buns, sweets, and assorted baked goods. Robert was so unaccustomed to eating this well, as he usually got whatever scraps his father and his sister did not want that he couldn’t name a single thing on the plate. But no matter, he went ahead and enjoyed them anyway. When he looked at the tea tray and saw there was actual sugar that he could put in it, his eyes widened. He quickly grabbed the dish and put a heaping lump of the sweetness into his tea.

When he raised his head, George was looking at him as though he had three eyes. “You take your tea with sugar?”

Robert nodded. “Whenever there is some available, yes. I believe that tea without sugar is nothing more than bland vegetable water.”

George guffawed at his brother’s comment and then picked up his own cup of tea. “Well, then. I suppose that you shall just have to sit there and judge me drinking my insufferable vegetable water all the same.”

The older brother took a long sip of his tea, returned it to its place in the saucer, and then sighed deeply.

“I’m afraid, however, that for all of her faults, Louisa is an unfortunately smart young woman, and so I can only assume that in the process of buying the large number of rare books that she did, she covered her tracks quite well. In order to prove to Father what she has done, it shall take some work and expert investigation,” George expressed.

“Oh no,” Robert quickly corrected him, “I have no interest in proving myself innocent. That won’t ever make a difference to Father. He knows quite well that the person who bought all of those books was not me, and I believe that he was just looking for an excuse to have me gone from the house. I also do not wish to start a rift in the family; you still maintain a polite relationship with both Louisa and Father, and so I would never want anything to reflect negatively upon you.”

George shook his head, unable to comprehend what Robert was saying. “I’m sorry if I am missing something, Robert, but allow me to ensure that I understand what you are saying. You came to me for assistance regarding this matter with Louisa and Father, and yet you do not wish to launch any sort of investigation to prove yourself innocent? Then why did you come to see me in the first place?”

Robert turned away from George momentarily to place his teacup on the side table. “George, I have wanted to get out of the house ever since you left, and yet I have never been brave enough to do it. I have always feared what I would do without Father’s money, and now that I have been cut-off, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I do not wish to return home; I wish to begin trying to make a life for myself.”

George squinted an eye at him and turned his head slightly away. This was the look his brother always gave him when he knew he wasn’t being entirely truthful.

“So you aren’t simply trying to find employment for a year until the trust that Father has settled on you comes into effect, is that what you’re saying?” George asked him.

Robert chuckled. “You know, I had entirely forgotten about that until right this very minute. What are the chances?”

Both the men laughed once more. Lord Graham had indeed settled a large trust on him that he would be eligible to receive when he turned twenty-four. Or, rather, his mother and grandfather had settled that trust, which was filled with her family’s money many, many years before. She had made it impossible for Lord Graham to withdraw the money himself or somehow make changes to it. After his mother had passed, however, the duke told everyone that it was a trust he had set up out of the goodness of his own heart for his son. He tried to make himself look far more generous to those around him than he did to Robert.

“You are correct,” Robert admitted. “To tell you the truth, I am really looking for employment for a year so that I might be able to survive, and when my trust is made available to me, I shall be financially stable for quite some time. And so that is the real reason why I came to call on you today so unexpectedly; I was wondering if you might assist me in my task of finding employment.”

George’s brow furrowed as he looked at his younger brother. “I would be glad to help you, Robert, but there is nothing that immediately springs to mind. We do not need any extra staff right now; I cannot think of any friends who require assistance for the time being …”

George trailed off and set his tea back on the tray. He rose from his chair without saying a word and walked over to the desk that lay at the other end of the room. He opened a drawer, pulled out a book, and began consulting it.

“Is something the matter, George?” Robert asked him curiously.
George shook his head. “No, no, nothing at all. As I was saying that, I did recall that a few months ago, I mentioned to Eponine that we could use a property manager for our estate, as well as for the homes that we own in London where we collect rent. You could live with us here and manage everything, in addition to collecting rent for me. This would allow you to have a bit of money, as well as allow you some time to consider your plans for the future. Is … is that something that you might be interested in?”

Robert nodded enthusiastically. “That would be perfect. I don’t believe that I know a great deal about property management, but you can rest assured that I will do my reading on it thoroughly and quickly, as well as learning about things as I go. Brother, if you were to give me this job, you would never have to …”

Robert tried to finish his sentence, but George was laughing too hard. “Robert, you do not have to try and convince me that I should let you have this position; my mind is already made up. I know you well enough that I trust you will take it very seriously and that my properties will be well taken care of.”

Relief washed over Robert. He couldn’t believe his good fortune. “Thank you, thank you so much, George. You won’t regret your decision for a moment, and I shall show you how grateful I am for your kindness each day.”

George continued chuckling. “There isn’t a doubt in my mind about how grateful you are, thank you, Robert.”

“The one last favour I have to ask you,” Robert mentioned, already feeling an immense amount of guilt for having to call upon his brother for assistance in the first place, “is something that I hope is not too much of a bother. I did not tell Louisa or Father where I was going, and I was hoping that it might stay that way. To this end, could we pretend that I am not your brother while I am here at the house? I do not wish to risk any of the staff, or even the children, letting something slip if Louisa and Father ever come to visit.”

George looked slightly taken aback, but then he nodded. “I suppose that it has been so long since you’ve seen the children that that might work, but I must say that I do not feel good about lying to them for a year of their lives.”

“I entirely understand that,” Robert empathized, “and if I did not feel that I had to take such extreme measures, I would not. I am just afraid that if Father finds out that I have come here, it will not only create a problem between the two of you, but it might also mean that I get into further trouble with him. I am so sorry to have to put you in this position, George.”

George nodded solemnly but then handed the book that he was holding to Robert. “Then we shall make the best of it then, shan’t we? This is the first book on the estate and the other properties that you will need to read through, and when you are finished with that, we can discuss the details of your employment more thoroughly. For now, however, I shall call upon my housekeeper to have a room set up for you so that you might retire to it for some relaxation. You have had a long, difficult tenure at Father’s house … I do hope that you’ll find your time here suits you far better.”

George stuck out his hand, and Robert shook it heartily. “The short hour that we have spent together in this room has made up for years of anguish at home. I am forever indebted to you, George.”

George clapped his brother on the back and then disappeared from the room. While he was a very welcoming man, he was absolutely terrible when it came to accepting compliments, which was why Robert believed he had left the room so suddenly. He decided then and there that by the end of the year, he would find a way to properly thank his brother for all that he had done for him


“A Governess’ Midnight Seduction” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!

The tempting Anne who works as a governess, is too smart for her own good and eternally passionate about the education of the children. When she first meets Robert, the mysterious new employee of the estate, she finds her mind and body unable to resist their overwhelming connection. He’s handsome and seductive and as it turns out… a rather colossal liar. Still, his appearance is so scandalous that she feels herself abandoning her traditionally stoic nature. Laughter, romance, a youthful passionate affair… Is it too late for her to have all of these? Is Anne destined to experience the flaming passion she secretly dreams of?

Robert Graham might be sinfully handsome and confident, but he is also entirely aware of his restrained position in the world. At a young age he is forced to seek refuge as an employee in his half brother’s estate, desperate for a place to call home. Hidden away, he finds himself at the mercy of his position and soon tempted by the ravishing governess. They slowly build a sparkling friendship, one that inevitably guides them towards burning desire. Soon, Robert’s quest for anonymity is foiled by the horrible appearance of his sister… As his identity is pinned down, he must face the consequences of his past actions and pray that Anne won’t resent his deception. Can this dazzling Lady overlook his lies and give meaning and fiery colour to his lonely life? After everything he’s been through, could Anne be the home he’s searched for all these years, one outside the bounds of title or wealth?

When a fierce man in disguise and a seductive governess meet, the temptation is irresistible. Even though the burning attraction is undeniable, there is still a long way to go for them to fully tame each others’ hearts and bodies. With a burdened past and Robert’s sister threatening their growing romance, Anne and Robert will have to fight with all of their powers to remain together. Will they be brave enough to go after the flaming love they deeply desire? Can these two wandering souls make this sizzling and built on lie affair last after all?

“A Governess’ Midnight Seduction” is a historical romance novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cheating, no cliffhangers, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

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9 thoughts on “A Governess’ Midnight Seduction (Preview)”

  1. Hello loved reading the preview. Made me inquisitive as how lady Louisa and her father will be punished in the end . How Robert will fair . Will he succeed and how and when the H and H meet and also loved big George’s character

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