Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Published by Avon on August 28, 2018
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He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson
The accidental governess.
After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.
The infamous rake.
Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.
The kids are the best part of the story. This story doesn’t shine as much as Book 1 but it was still entertaining.
This story features Alexandra Mountbattan, the only other friend of Emma’s (Book 1) who needs to work for a living. She is the daughter of a sea captain and has a very good reason to fear the water. That is why Alex is suddenly looking for a job. She normally would set clocks for the rich houses around town but when she attempts to get to Greenwich by boat, she ends up losing her expensive equipment in the river during a panic attack. That is the only reason Alex accepts the insane offer to care for Chase Reynaud’s two wards until school begins.
Chase Reynaud never expected to be the next in line for a Dukedom but a series of tragic events has landed him in a place right behind his ailing uncle. But Chase doesn’t feel worthy of the position as Duke, nor does he feel worthy to take care of the two girls who have now come into his possession due to some indiscretion of some relative or other. Because he feels unworthy to be part of this important lineage, Chase has no intention of fathering any children, legitimate or otherwise. This is what makes Chase so popular with the ladies. Chase is after mutual pleasures as long as intercourse is not involved. He is quite good at his job and since they don’t have to worry about pregnancy, the good ladies of London are lining up at his door.
Unfortunately for Chase and his line up of ladies, Chase can’t stop thinking about the sweet and lovely Governess just a few flights away.
Alex knows someone with her background has no chance of marrying well and probably not at all. As a modern, independent thinking woman, Alex decides that a few lessons with Chase might be just the thing she needs before settling down to spinsterhood.
Chase didn’t do much for me but I really liked Alex and Chase’s wards, Daisy and Rosamund. In the last books, we met Alex and her friends: Emma and Alex are both commoners who need to work for a living; while Nicola and Penny are daughters of noblemen who are relatively poor and they are all too forward thinking for the men of the ton. That is what makes them more interesting than the normal empty-headed, ribbon-wearing heroines of Regency romance.
In Governess Game, Chase wants the girls to be taught basic young lady things so that they can be sent off to school since he is a randy bachelor in need of adult lady time. Chase’s wards are so used to being unwanted and dumped from relative to relative that they try to get rid of their governesses asap. They like Chase and don’t want to be sent away, yet again, this time to school. The youngest one is fascinated with death and each morning Chase must attend the funeral of her doll, Millicent, who has died of some awful disease that the girls just learned about. They are very clever and rather odd, which makes them perfect additions to Alex’s group. I also like that Alex isn’t willing to mold them into pretty, empty-headed things to make a good match and wants to teach them to take care of themselves, like her and her friends are doing. She wants them to grow up to be independent and strong women and is willing to work around Chase to see that happen. Alex also knows what it is like to be an unwanted relation who is dumped at school so that no one has to be bothered with her and so she works to get Chase to open up to the girls and give them a stable home.
As there was a statement that a new Duke has purchased and is doing construction in the house next to Penny and her menagerie of homeless pets, I can’t wait to see what chaos that brings.
He left the retreat through the kitchen, locking the door after him, and mounted the stairs to his bedchamber intending to change for the evening.
He hadn’t reached the first landing when a piercing cry pulling him to a halt midstep. It was followed by a blood-chilling scream. Not a girlish scream, but a womanly one–coming from the direction of the nursery.
He jogged up the remaining flights of stairs, pausing on the third landing for breath. The silence was ominous.
Dear God, they’d killed her.
He took the last flight of stairs at a sprint, rushing down the corridor, and flung open the door to the nursery, steeling himself for the sight of her bloodless corpse splayed on the floor.
The scene that greeted him, however, was anything but lifeless.
“Ready the cannon.”
They took no notice of his entrance. Chase used the following moments to survey the nursery. At least, it had been a nursery. He wasn’t certain what it had become since Millicent’s funeral early that morning.
The girls’ beds had been pushed side by side, with a gap of merely a few feet between them. The curtains had been removed from the windows and strung from the bedposts. Standing amid it all, Daisy squinted into a spyglass fashioned from a discarded paper cone, and Rosamund brandished a crescent-shaped object that resembled nothing so much as a cutlass.
Millicent sat on the opposite bed, wearing a paper salior’s hat, and as was her usual, an unsettling smile.
Rosamund slashed her blade through the air. “Fire.”
From behind them, Miss Mountbatten made a series of the most fantastic noises. A boom, then a whistled glissando, followed by a rumbling crash that she accompanied with a brisk shake of the bedpost.
The girls gave a rousing cheer.
“Dead-on hit to the broadside,” she declared. “Bring the ship about and ready the plank.”
Rosamund yanked on a curtain tie, and a white “sail” unfurled from the top of the bed frame. Meanwhile, Daisy reached for a board that looked to have been ripped from a crate and cobbled together with rope.
“Ready for boarding!”
She scrambled from one bed to the next and held the cutlass to Millicent’s throat. “Hand over the plunder!”
Chase has seen enough. “Ahem.”
All three of them froze. Four, if he counted Millicent. The room went silent, save for an audible gulp from Miss Mountbatten.
“What is going on here?” he demanded.
Daisy spoke first. “Millicent’s been wounded.” She drew the “blade” across the doll’s neck. “Kerchief, please. She’s losing a great deal of blood.”
Chase ignored the doll’s death throes and stalked across the room to have word with his governess.
“I can explain.” she said.
“You had better.”
“The girls and I …Well, we’re playing a game, you see.”
“You weren’t hired to play games.”
“But this is an education game.”
“An education in culasses?”
She bit her bottom lip. “Only partly.”
Her eyes flitted toward the slate, and he followed her gaze. “Piracy?” He read the word aloud with horror. “You’re instructing them in piracy.”
“It isn’t how you’re thinking. I–“
Chase caught her by the elbow and guided her to the far side of the room. He need space to berate her properly. “You are meant to be teaching them to be proper young ladies.”
“They’re not ready to be young ladies. They’re girls. They need to play, and they’ve forgotten how.”
“They need to learn their lessons. Letters, numbers, stiching samplers with misshapen flowers and dire Bible verses.”
“The are learning.” She directed his attention to the world map on the wall, where a series of pins guided a string from England to the West Indies. “We’ve plotted a course to Tortuga. There’s geography.” From there, she walked to the slate and pointed to a stack of figures. “Calculated the length of the journey, how many days it will take. How many rations we’ll need aboard. That’s arithmetic. “I’ve even taught them a bit of French.”
Chase read aloud from the board. “‘Donnez-nous le butin, ou nous vous ferons jeter par-dessus bord.’ What does that mean?”
She hedged. “Hand over the booty, or you’ll walk the plank.”
“Millicent’s dead,” announced Daisy. “It will have to be a burial at sea.”
Chase rubbed his temples. “Right. This little game of yours stops. At once.”
“If I’m governess, I must be allowed my own methods.”
“I’m your employer. You’ll do as I instruct.”
“Or what? You’ll hire another of the candidates queuing up for the post?” She made an exasperated gesture. “I’m succeeding where all the others have failed. How many is it you’ve been through again?”
“Fifteen,” he replied. “But I can always find the sixteenth. London is rife with women who’ll happily submit to my wishes.”
“No doubt it is. I’m not one of them.”