About the bookHiding secrets and a past she longs to forget, Hortense Jennings answers an ad for a governess and embarks on an adventure she did not expect.
Concealed in a gothic, crumbling manor on the edge of a North Sea cliff, Baron Simon Wolstenholme is hiding from life. Horribly scarred from battle wounds, he lives up to his name “The Beast of Stonecliff” in both appearance and attitude until he realizes how lonely he has become.
Simon propositions Hortense for a singular night of passion. Raging weather and storms of anger clash between a lonely man and a distrustful woman to reveal secret desires in an emotional crescendo. Can the Governess and the Beast find calm amid the storm and admit their true feelings, or will pride destroy the fairy tale before it begins?
An excerpt from the book“Do you have courage, Miss Jennings?”
The question confused her for a moment. “I suppose as much as the next person....”
Baron Stonecliff reached behind his head, untied the knot, and unwound the scarf until he exposed his face. Utter ruin. She fought back the gasp of shock but could not prevent her physical recoil and stepped back. Mottled, puckered skin and a maze of nasty wounds, some of them burns, covered the left side. Scars crisscrossed his cheek and disappeared into his hairline. How miraculous his lips and jaw remained intact. What made the destruction harder to bear was the breathtaking masculine beauty still visible on the right. Lord Stonecliff must have been devastatingly handsome at one point. She kept her gaze steady, and she hoped, her emotions well buried. With swelling evident, she surmised his injury must have occurred in the last several months. The skin was red and raw. Would it be it sore to the touch? The scarring continued down his neck and disappeared under his collar. So, not only his face received injury.
“Have you looked your fill?” Stonecliff snapped in annoyance. “You must be able to gaze upon the horror that is my face. When I am in my own home, I do not cover it. The doctors recommended leaving my visage free to breathe in order to aid healing. Since am I told it is not as red as before, I suppose their theory has merit....”
He frowned and shrugged with slight indifference. The words were probably the most he had spoken to anyone in some time, and no doubt more than he wanted to share.
Hortense swallowed and took a step toward him. “Regardless, you are free to do as you wish in your own home. Since I did not run screaming from the room, there should be no difficulty.”
Did one corner of those full, sensuous lips quirk into an almost-smile? Oh, Lord, why was she thinking of his lips?
He bade her to sit again and took the chair opposite. Stonecliff crossed his long legs and regarded her closely.
“What I am about to say may well have you scream and run from the room. I did not bring you here to be governess to my ward. In truth, he is eleven years old and away at school. I lied. I brought you here to be—my companion.”