Yes it’s Teaser Tuesday again! Can you believe it’s the second Tuesday of the month already? We’ve got Tiffany Clare sharing an excerpt from her most recent release Secret Desires of a Governess. I tried to wheedle a raw+unedited excerpt from her upcoming book, but she wouldn’t play. Something about how her editor would put her foot down… pft. 😉
Anyway, this is totally exciting, you guys, because Teaser Tuesday started a year ago! Yes!!! Go team us!
YEARNING FOR HIS TOUCH
From the moment Abby meets her new employer—the mysterious, brooding Earl of Brendall—she is appalled by his brutish manner…and even moreso by her own attraction to him. Has she lost her senses? As a governess, Abby has no choice but to play by the rules. But as a woman, she cannot deny the fiery sensations he ignites—or the fantasies he inspires…
BURNING FOR HER KISS
From the moment Elliott lays eyes on his new young governess, he knows he’s in trouble. Abby is intelligent, defiant, and utterly captivating, though Elliott must do his very best to resist her. But as the two grow closer, the passion burns hotter. Soon, the only thing that can destroy their love is the darkest secret of his past—and the secret desires of a governess…
If she were eight, where would she hide?
Setting her shawl over the door of Ivan’s stall, she rubbed at his muzzle before making her way to the ladder and climbing the steep steps. It was quite high up. There was plenty of hay stacked up here, but no dark-haired child.
“Jacob?” she called.
Not that she expected an answer. All she hoped was that her search wouldn’t take her the majority of the day. Would the little rascal hide in among the stacks of hay? She climbed up off the ladder and hunched over so she didn’t hit her head on the low-hanging beams of the ceiling.
“Jacob,” she called again.
There was a small square window set into the east wall. The wood planks beneath it were cleared of hay, and a few marbles littered inside one of the larger knotholes. Evidence that the boy did spend time hidden away up here. With that knowledge, Abby reluctantly made her way back down the ladder.
She looked over her shoulder to assess how much farther she needed to climb down and met the stoic gaze of Lord Brendall.
She lost her footing. Foolish of her to be distracted by the man. He habitually showed up without warning.
To say he caught her before she could land on the ground was and wasn’t quite the truth. It was much more than simply stopping her fall. Her chin hit one of the ladder rungs, leaving a sharp sting and a light ringing in her ears; her knee smacked against another step lower down, and her skirts rode up high enough to reveal her drawers. She knew this last fact because she felt Lord Brendall’s warmth seep right through the frivolous, impractical silk.
“I’m sorry.” It was the best she could come up with by way of apology. Her arms still hugged the ladder. Lord Brendall still held her tight to him with her back to his front. Not a predicament she wanted or ever planned to be in.
And good Lord, why wasn’t he letting her go? And why was she starting to feel flushed and pliant in his hold?
“I’m fine now,” she pointed out.
Since her feet finally reached the ground and she no longer needed the support of the ladder, she released it. Lord Brendall, however, did not let her go. She stilled, her body as rigid as a board, as she felt the heat of his body through her clothes.
Abby knew she should at the very least push him away, but the adrenaline pumping through her body from the fall did something funny to her. Her legs felt unsteady, and her hands shook a little as she waited for him to say or do something.
With a deep breath, Abby found the calm she displayed to everyone in her acquaintance. “Do you wish to intimidate me, my lord?”
One of his hands moved to her chin and tilted her head to the side. “Only to make certain you’ve not caused yourself any lasting damage.”
He was surprisingly gentle, his hands a little shaky as he skimmed over her jaw with the blunt tips of his fingers and inspected the spot that had smacked against the ladder rung.
She remembered how those fingers felt against her own hand. What would they feel like on other parts of her exposed skin? Her stomach flipped with the thought. She should pull away; she should slide out from under his arms. It wouldn’t be that difficult. And it was the right thing to do.
She pinched her eyes shut and focused on herself. Only herself. Why didn’t she want to do the proper thing? She had no answer to that question. Admittedly, she had pictured herself in this type of scenario with Lord Brendall over the past few days. Idle time was dangerous to one’s thoughts and imagination. Especially hers.
It was true that she’d always walked a thin line between right and wrong, but always on the side of propriety. Doing what she ought to do suddenly seemed dull and mind numbing.
She hissed in a breath when his finger prodded under her chin. He stopped his inspection immediately upon hearing her pained sound.
“The skin is only reddened. You’ve bruised yourself, nothing more.”
“I’ll be fine,” she assured him, but her voice wavered, which was probably due to the fact that he was still touching her.
Lord Brendall turned her around to face him, moving his warm body away from her. She didn’t like the loss of his warmth one bit. And that wasn’t good . . . wasn’t right.
“What else did you hurt?”
“My knee, but it’s no worse than my chin.”
She was beside herself when he slid his big hands down to gather up her skirts and went on bended knee to inspect the damage. She tried not to think about what he’d reveal in lifting the heavy twill. She should put a stop to his actions. Should but would not, because she liked the excitement that coursed through her with his surprisingly gentle inspection.
Her knee throbbed in time to her heartbeat. She couldn’t meet his gaze when his hand skimmed over her calf and then around her lower thigh as he lifted and studied her knee.
Was it her imagination or did he toy with the ties that held her stockings in place? Her breath caught in her lungs.
“Only a scratch, but you’ve torn your stockings right through.” His finger traced the edge of that hole, making her heart skip and speed up to double its normal tempo.
“Yes,” was her pathetic response.
As Lord Brendall stood, her skirts fell back around her legs. Casually, he grasped the ladder behind her with one hand and gave her a thoughtful look.
The shiver of anticipation she’d felt earlier now did a jig throughout her body. What was he about?
“Why is it that you don’t find me intimidating, Miss Hallaway?”
She didn’t miss the note of wonder in his voice. But it was an odd question to ask of her. Was she supposed to run shamefaced and embarrassed from the stable? She should have protested his improper inspection of her injured knee.
“You are a bit of a brute at times.” She was proud of herself for keeping her voice level, uninterested. Even a bit superior.
“So I’ve been told,” he replied.
The remark was made in a light bantering tone, and it made her grin to hear a teasing side of his lordship.
His free hand traced the line of her jaw, stopping well before he reached the tender part of her chin. His action had all the air leaving her lungs in a rush, and she closed her eyes. Was it her imagination or was there a tremble to his hand as he held her almost reverently?
She forgot how to breathe in that moment. Felt her heart skitter and stop, skitter and stop. She swallowed against her dry throat and gasped for a breath of air. It didn’t fill her lungs easily, and the second and third breaths were just as hard to take.
He made no move to touch her further. Why was she disappointed by that fact?
What was wrong with her? Why wasn’t she stepping away from him? Whatever her reason was, it must have something to do with the kick of excitement coursing through her, like the instant jolt you got upon tipping back a whole shot of liquor. What game was Lord Brendall playing at?
She met his gaze with indifference. At least that was what she hoped he read, before his pale blue eyes hypnotized her. Silenced her. She could drown there, she decided. Lose herself so easily. So completely.
The only question left on her mind was, what would happen if she just let go? Just this once?
Thoughts? Do you like historical romances? Ever read anything by Tiffany before? Do you like the Governess/Employer stories? One lucky commenter will win one of Ms. Clare’s books – either a paperback, or kindle copy. Winner’s choice!