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The Baron's Governess Bride

Cover of The Baron's Governess Bride

The Baron's Governess Bride

Lord Steadwell's three motherless daughters were heartbroken when their last governess ran off to elope. In her dowdy cap and spectacles, Grace Ellerby seems an ideal replacement--a nurturing,...More
Lord Steadwell's three motherless daughters were heartbroken when their last governess ran off to elope. In her dowdy cap and spectacles, Grace Ellerby seems an ideal replacement--a nurturing,...More
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  • Lord Steadwell's three motherless daughters were heartbroken when their last governess ran off to elope. In her dowdy cap and spectacles, Grace Ellerby seems an ideal replacement--a nurturing, intelligent woman uninterested in marriage. No wonder Rupert doesn't recognize Grace as the golden-haired vision at a masked ball, who slips away before midnight....

    Frightened by the unwanted attentions of previous employers, Grace resolved to hide her beauty...and her growing feelings for Rupert. One enchanted evening--and a sweet, breathtaking kiss--changes everything. For with Grace's three adorable charges playing fairy godmother, Rupert may discover his happy ending is closer than he thinks.

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    Berkshire, England 1815

    Most governesses heading off to meet with a prospective employer for the first time would have made every effort to look their best.

    But Grace Ellerby did quite the opposite.

    In her tiny room at Reading's George Inn, Grace retrieved a small, cracked mirror from her trunk to check that not a wisp of golden hair peeped out from under her cap. With long lappets down each side, it was the type of cap worn by older women who had entirely given up hope of finding husbands. Grace approved of the way it narrowed her face, making her features appear flatter and plainer. Its starched whiteness conspired with the drab green of her high-necked dress to drain all the color from her complexion. Once she put on the tiny spectacles to obscure her eyes, she would be prepared to meet Lord Steadwell.

    From outside, the bells of a nearby church tolled the half hour. She must be on her way.

    Grace tucked the mirror away and donned her dark bonnet and shawl. Then she slipped out of her room and made her way to the Old Castle Coffeehouse, where she had been directed to meet the gentleman.

    The entire process was most irregular in Grace's experience. Most families seeking a governess simply inquired among their acquaintances until someone recommended a suitable candidate. When they were obliged to place a notice in the newspapers, the hiring would all be managed through an exchange of correspondence. Grace had never heard of a prospective governess being summoned for an interview, especially from such a long distance with funds supplied for her traveling expenses.

    That irregularity had worked to her advantage, Grace reminded herself as she picked her way through the streets of Reading, her gaze modestly downcast yet alert for any potential threat. From the money Lord Steadwell sent for her journey, she'd been able to save a bit by riding on the outside of the stagecoach, eating sparingly and taking the cheapest rooms. Even if she did not secure this position, surely she would have a better chance of finding another here in the south. The funds for her return trip together with what she'd already saved should keep her for a while if she was careful.

    She hoped it would not come to that.

    Spying the sign for the coffeehouse, Grace rummaged in her reticule and pulled out the spectacles that were her only tangible reminder of her late father. When she peered through the thick lenses, the world swam and wobbled, forcing her to squint in an effort to focus her vision.

    She breathed a fervent prayer that the interview would go well then crossed the threshold of the coffeehouse and glanced around for his lordship. The baron and his wife had put themselves to some trouble and expense to find the best possible governess for their children. He had written good letters, too--plain and direct without the superior airs Grace had expected from someone of his rank. Those things led her to hope a position with the Steadwells would be more agreeable than any of her previous ones.

    No sooner had she entered than a gentleman rose from a table near the door and approached her with a respectful bow. "Have I the honor of addressing Miss Ellerby from Lancashire?"

    Squinting through her father's thick spectacles, Grace could not make out his features very clearly, but she could tell he was tall and lean with dark hair. His voice had a most agreeable timbre, rich yet mellow. His courtesy certainly recommended him--addressing a humble governess as if she were a fine lady. If she had met him without her disguise, Grace might have been suspicious of his intentions. But she could have nothing...

About the Author-
  • Deborah Hale spent a decade tracing her Canadian family to their origins in Georgian-era Britain. In the process, she learned a great deal about that period and uncovered enough fascinating true stories to fuel her romance plots for years to come. At the urging of a friend, Deborah completed her first historical romance novel and went on to publish over fifteen more. Deborah lives in Nova Scotia, a province steeped in history and romance! Visit her website at: www.deborahhale.com

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    Steeple Hill
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