The Counterfeit Governess – Part One

  One – A Governess For Two Forlorn Children   Henrietta, Dowager Baroness Brixton, took in the slender form of the young woman, standing in front of her. Way too pretty to suit a governess, she thought, but she would have to do. Her son Stephen would finally stop harassing her about searching for a governess to discipline his wretched bastard twins. Lily and Oliver Bradley were the offspring of Stephen’s youthful misstep with a village wench when he was seventeen. The Baroness could easily forgive him for having taken a tumble in the hay with Molly Bradley on a … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Two

Two – Haunting Ghosts From The Past   Lily and Oliver gave a squeak of delight when their grandmother’s dilapidated cottage came into view, and ran like lightning toward it. By the time Beth reached it, they were in Mrs Bradley’s embrace. The three of them were crying, but from joy, not from sorrow. “Dear Beth!” the old lady exclaimed. “Do come in, child! Thank you for bringing back my sweethearts to me. They have been away for three weeks and they were not allowed to come and see me. I missed them something dreadful.” “Granny, can we have tea … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Three

Three – Meeting With The Devil   When the woman stepped into his study and made her curtsy to him, Stephen Fenton had the oddest of sensations – some strange, unknown feeling that made his heart stutter and his brain go numb. For a split second, he was convinced he had been mistaken, and this woman was not Beth Williams but just a stranger, a French governess who joined his staff. An employee and nothing more. Then she raised her head and looked him straight in the face. Her eyes, the colour of chocolate, pierced right into his soul, and … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Four

Four – The Beginning of Battle   Beth’s face froze at the casually spoken accusation. He could not have found her out, she thought. Had he recognized her despite all the precautions she took? Even as the colour left her face, she realised she would have to answer him – and quickly. “Intentions, my lord? I do not understand!” To give herself space to breathe, Beth did not sit down but wandered to the high windows to contemplate the beautiful rose gardens below. When Fenton’s voice suddenly came but from inches away, she started involuntary. Her hand, holding her glass, … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Five

Five – An Unexpected Hitch   After luncheon, Beth prepared for the children’s riding lessons by providing them with clothes suitable for the activity. She planned to take them to Granny Bradley on horseback, thus providing them with an occasion to test their skills. Michael, the youngest groom, helped Lily onto Pearl, the pony he had chosen for her, while Thompson, the head groom, assisted Oliver onto his gelding Rainstorm. Beth mounted on her own; she was very fond of her placid mare Sparkle. That was a badly chosen name, for there was not a quieter animal in the Brixton … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Six

Six – Severe Complications   All around Beth was instantly forgotten and she had only eyes for Fenton’s  prostrated form. He had fallen onto his side and one arm was trapped under his body. Wanting to do something – at least, to help him – she knelt down beside him. To make him more comfortable, she carefully turned him onto his back – and gasped at the sight of the long, ragged scar that crossed his abdomen. It was of an ugly red and marred the beautiful muscles of his stomach, slicing across the fine spray of dark hair that … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Seven

Seven – Under Attack   To Beth’s infinite relief, Fenton had no chance to go further down this dangerous path because Raleigh, the butler announced that dinner was ready. The three of them, Beth and her charges, made it through the meal with tolerable ease. Lily and Oliver were quiet but ate well, only darting quick glances at the baron, every now and then, as if they were not entirely sure what to think of him. When the dowager rose to retire, Beth gathered her charges and made it upstairs as well, ignoring Fenton’s dark, brooding gaze. “I am so … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Eight

Eight –  A Slow Conquering of the Heart   Beth lived in a kind of suspended fear for three long weeks, before she dared to relax. She was convinced Fenton would summon her and tell her she was dismissed from his services. Yet, day after day passed without that happening and she began to breathe more easily again. Then she started wondering why Fenton left her in peace. From what she knew about him, he was a shrewd and evil man who would not leave such an opportunity unused. In those three weeks, Fenton did everything to belie his reputation … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Nine

Nine – Entrapped   She had no means of escape now, Beth realised with a shock, nor did she wish to. She was where she wanted to be, in Stephen Fenton’s arms. The very weak reservations that started in her befuddled mind about why she wanted to kiss her mortal enemy, soon faded away when his lips wrenched open hers and his tongue invaded her mouth, claiming it in violent attack. He pressed her to his hard chest, and Beth swore she could hear her ribs crack but still she did not mind! She only tried to bring her body … Read more

The Counterfeit Governess – Part Ten

Ten – Complications   The dowager’s words rang clearly, and Beth heard them as she was about to step into the room. She froze in horror. Dispose? Did the dowager know what Beth was up to? Had she recognized her? Or had Fenton told her about her? Too many questions, too little answers! She looked at Stephen and was surprised to see a look of pure dismay on his face, yet he said nothing in response to his mother’s quip. Instead, he walked toward her and bowed, his mocking smile firmly in place. “Ah, Mademoiselle Guillaume, I trust you received … Read more