Ella never dreamed she would fall in love with a royal duke -- she also never expected that someone would try to kill her, more than once.
Word Count: 69,891
Genre: Historical Romance
Available formats: PDF, RTF, Epub, HTML, Mobipocket (.prc)
© Cover Art by Kat Richards, October, 2011
New Concepts Publishing
Lake Park, GA 31636
This is a work of fiction. All characters, events, and places are of the author's imagination and not to be confused with fact. Any resemblance to living persons or events is merely coincidence.
Ella paced nervously in the study as she waited for the punishment she was about to receive. After seeing the real duke, she realized that Margaret had been accurate and that Weathersby could not possibly be mistaken for the duke. Ella remembered the stories she had heard about the cold-hearted Duke of Lansington and she now wondered how much of them were true. She could hear the children’s laughter coming through the open terrace door and she hurried out to see them.
The duke quietly opened the door to his study and found the new governess standing on the terrace watching the children riding in the fields. She was smiling and seemed to be enjoying the children as much as if she were down there riding with them.
“Madam, if you would join me please,” Garrison asked.
Ella turned with a start. “Your Grace, my apologies for being out here. The door to the terrace was open and the children were laughing. I just wanted to see them.”
As she walked into the study, her eyes locked with Garrison’s. She never believed in fairytales or handsome princes but they all somehow seemed very real at that moment. His wavy dark hair was still wet and slicked back. Small beads of water dripped from the shoulder length curls. He had brilliant green eyes that were a sharp contrast against his tanned smooth skin.
“You seem to have taken to my children very quick.”
“Oh yes, my lord, they are wonderful and honestly they were of no fault earlier. I am very sorry for the bucket of water,” she rushed on, “the children wanted to know about some of the tricks my grandfather taught me and so I thought I would show them a small ruse. It was all bad timing and it certainly was not meant for you, Your Grace. I am very sorry and it will not happen again, I assure you.”
“I took someone else’s word about hiring you but I did know you were highly educated. Along with their studies, I also expect you to teach my children manners and decorum,” he said in a demanding tone.
“Yes, my lord,” she said with a quiet voice while lowering her eyes.
He softened his voice. “I will also expect you to keep them smiling and laughing as you did today.”
Garrison’s heart slammed into his chest as she looked up at him with the most stunning smile and luminous blue eyes he had ever seen. The innocent look she had on her face was enough to make any man go weak in the knees and her mouth, dear God, was exquisite. The duke immediately had lustful thoughts racing through his mind of the things he wanted to do with her perfect lips.
“Yes, my lord. I will see to it. Will there be anything else Your Grace?”
Garrison merely nodded his head no, for he was too dazed to speak.
Ella left the study and for the rest of the afternoon she could not get the sight of the duke out of her mind. She was sure the rumors of him could not be true. He seemed to have a tough shell on the outside but the duke had shown her a hint of softness when he spoke of his children. Ella wondered what else one could do to expose more of the little glimpse she had seen.
Garrison could not let this little bit of a woman break him. He was furious at himself and wondered just what was he thinking? His first wife had put him through enough torment to last a lifetime. After going through that, he had worked hard to build a wall of defense and Garrison did not care that people thought he was a cold man. He did not even know this woman’s name yet, so why was she affecting him like this. Garrison had vowed never to be fooled or hurt by another woman again.
“Damn her!” he whispered.