In just a few days the third book in my Daughters of Sin will release. The Mysterious Governess follows Dangerous Gentlemen, and picks up the story of Lissa, the clever, hardworking, illegitimate daughter of Viscount Partingon. For years she’s watched her nobly born half-sister, Araminta, enjoy the kind of life to which Lissa would have been born if her father had followed through on his promise to marry her mother.
Now Lissa is working as a governess in the London household of the social-climbing Lamont family. It’s when her resemblance to the vain and spoiled Araminta is noticed that Lissa’s life is turned upside-down as she’s embroiled in Araminta’s schemes to catch a husband.
Araminta is a young lady who will ruthlessly pursue her desires. Lissa might look like her, but at the end of the day, she’s a great deal cleverer.
Below is a quick preview from The Mysterious Governess. It occurs just after Lissa is pulled from a carriage accident by a very charming and handsome young man. The young man who becomes her partner in intrigue.
Two beautiful sisters – one illegitimate, the other nobly born – compete for love amidst the scandal and intrigue of a Regency London Season.
“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Hazlett,” he said, caging her hand on his arm as he led her to the pavement. “And I am Mr. Ralph Tunley, parliamentary secretary and confidante to all manner of rakes and rogues but, sadly, in my own right, a poor, struggling hopeful with not a feather to fly with. Which is why I am unable to offer you a carriage ride home, since it is quite beyond my means. Shall I accost the driver of this passing hackney and send you back to your chaperone, or dispatch a note to your family immediately to let them know what has happened?”
Lissa shook her head as she glanced at her lovely ball gown, nearly doubling up with dismay when she saw the damage inflicted upon it.
“I’m sure you have plenty more just as lovely,” he reassured her. “Not that a great beauty like you needs silk and diamonds to enhance what nature has so abundantly bestowed upon you. There, wasn’t that a pretty speech? I can practice such courtly sentiments without fear of censure since you will shortly be whisked out of my orbit and I will never see you again. Perhaps I shall hear news of your marriage to some great scion I could never hope to rival. Goodness, though, but I think that you are a beauty beneath the grime and blood.”
He moved her a little closer to the illuminated glow cast by the nearby gas lamp, adding with a grin, “You’re welcome to slap my face if you wish.”
Finally Lissa was able to utter something coherent. “I shall forgive your impertinence, for you rescued me,” she sniffed. “And this gown is not mine. It belongs to the daughter of my employer.” She thought she might burst into tears as she contemplated the repercussions of the damage it had suffered. Several bows had been torn off the trimming at the hem when she’d been pulled from the wreckage, though in the dim light she could discern only a few dirt smudges. “She doesn’t even know it’s gone,” she admitted. “I’m just a governess, and the family I work for thinks I’m in bed, asleep.” She balled her fists, trying not to keep the tears at bay. “If they find out what I’ve done, I’ll lose my job.”
Mr. Tunley look properly concerned for the first time, no doubt perceiving the enormity of losing one’s position when one had no financial backing. Then his mouth stretched wide into a warm smile.
“Just the governess? Why, isn’t this my lucky evening? I get to rescue the beautiful maiden and perhaps not lose her within a fortnight to some unworthy wastrel with more money and address than I have. Where do you live?” Then, when she told him, “Allow me to escort you home, since we’re so close. I must satisfy myself that both you and the secret of your truancy remain safe, and I also will pledge that your gown gets the very best attention. The good woman I lodge with is a seamstress. She’ll know what to do.”
[End of extract]
I hope you enjoyed the auspicious meeting between brave, hardworking Lissa and enterprising, irrepressible government secretary, Ralph Tunley who always knows how to extract people from tricky situations.
The Mysterious Governess will be released on May 31 at a special discounted preorder price.