Thursday, April 03, 2008
MORE THAN A GOVERNESS
my first novel writing as Sarah Mallory is now out in North America and as an ebook! More Than A Governess is my first Regency for Harlequin Historical and I love the cover – hope you do too.
Falling for the master of the house. Stern and unyielding, Major Damon Collingham was prepared to pay a king's ransom for someone who could stay the course as governess to his two motherless children. In her straitened circumstances, Miss Juliana Wrenn needed this post and could not allow herself to be intimidated by him - or his colorful reputation.
A devil on the battlefield and in the bedroom. Juliana knew what was said about her employer. She would not fall under his spell. But then, those harsh features could sometimes soften to something so much more attractive....
I have put an short extract below and you can find more details at www.sarahmallory.com
'I think it would suit very well, sir, if we can agree terms.'
'Miss Wrenn, I hardly think you are in a position to made demands….'
'Then we need discuss this no further,' she rose. 'Let me see, today is Saturday, your advertisement should be published on Monday, at the earliest. No doubt your secretary is very efficient: if he interviews the candidates quickly, I suppose it might be possible to engage a suitable person in time to travel on Friday, assuming he has received suitable references of course…'
He held up his hand.
'Very well, Miss Wrenn, you have made your point. Can you supply me with suitable references?'
'I am sure Mr Pettigrew will vouch for my character, and you may apply to Miss Shaftesbury at the Academy in Clapham. As to my education, you can test me, if you so wish.'
'No I do not so wish!' he growled at her. 'Pray sit down again, madam, and tell me these terms of yours.'
Resuming her seat, she gave him a beaming smile.
'They are not really so outrageous. I will engage to look after the children, Major Collingham, and educate them for the next four months, that is, to the end of September. I would like you to pay me a lump sum at the end of that time.'
Julia took a deep breath and named her price.
She winced, but held her ground.
'You said you were willing to pay a king's ransom for this service sir: I think you will agree that it is hardly that, but it would be sufficient for me to rent a little house in say, Harrogate or Bath, and support my family by teaching. That is all I ask, Major.'
There was no more she could say. Juliana forced herself to sit still while the Major stared at her, his fingers drumming on the desk top. The remuneration she was asking was high, but discreet enquiries of her cousin had convinced her that the Major could afford twice that sum. Now she only needed to hold her nerve. She smiled to herself: perhaps she had something of her father's gambling spirit after all. At last he spoke.
'Very well. I will have Brasher draw up an agreement today.'
She found she had been holding her breath, for it now came out in a long sigh.
'Thank you, sir. I will not disappoint you.'
'I trust you will not. I shall make sure you do not get a penny if you do not keep your side of this bargain. One more thing. What do you propose to do with your siblings for the next four months?'
'I am hoping to persuade my cousin-'
He shook his head.
'Pettigrew is a lawyer and a bachelor. I'd wager he knows less than I do about children. You had best bring them with you. They will be companions for Gwen and Minna on the journey, and there will be plenty of room for them at Blackthorpe.'
He stood up and came round the desk towards her.
'Then let us shake hands upon it, and I will send for the children.'
Juliana rose and put out her hand. As he took her fingers in his strong grip she looked up into his face and wondered how she had ever managed to bargain with such a man. At close range he was even more intimidating. His eyes were as hard as granite: his countenance bleak and unforgiving. Dangerous. But even as she began wonder if perhaps she had made a mistake, she saw a gleam of amusement in his grey eyes.
He said, 'Now what are you thinking, Miss Wrenn?'
She did not even consider prevaricating.
'That you would make an implacable enemy, sir.'
His grip on her hand tightened.
'True. But I am also a very good friend. Which would you have, Miss Wrenn?'
Juliana could not break away from his gaze. A small voice in her head was warning that he should not be asking her such a question. She swallowed and tried to answer calmly.
'Neither. I look only for a fair employer.'
More Than a Governess by Sarah Mallory
Harlequin Historical - www.eharlequin.com
Melinda Hammond (Sarah Mallory)