STORY: Clara Dawson always followed the rules, until one terrifying night when her inheritance is stolen and the man responsible is left for dead. Desperate to outrun her troubles, she accepts a governess position at the crumbling gothic manor of the mysterious Ravensdale family. Caring for three orphaned children gives her a purpose, but her vulgar employer, Bly Ravensdale, holds dangerous secrets that may shatter Clara’s newfound safe haven. Yet this stubborn brute compels Clara to abandon her etiquette at every turn, and she can’t stay away.
Disowned by his family, Bly Ravensdale travels the globe as an explorer and agent of the British Crown until his brother’s passing leaves him saddled with three young wards. Charged with returning them to the family’s vacant ancestral seat in the English countryside—the one place he wishes to avoid at all costs—Bly quits the role of spy to play family man. But a man nicknamed Devil rarely gets a clean start in life, even with the aid of the prudish yet lovely governess, Clara. Despite her cold exterior, Bly finds himself drawn to her, even as an enemy from his deadly past resurfaces seeking vengeance. Can he protect all that he has suddenly come to hold dear?
REVIEW: Yorkshire, England – 1882
Clara Dawson, born a bastard, has never been a part of polite society. She has just accepted a position as a governess by Bly Ravensdale who has just returned from India. Before Bly’s brother died, he asked that his three children be taken to England and raised at the Ravensdale home, Burton Hall. One of the children, James, is the new Earl of Stamford. The other two are Minnie and Grace. When Clara arrives at the train station, no one is there to take her to Burton Hall so she has to walk five miles lugging her trunk. When she arrives, she is appalled to find that the Hall is run down and there is no staff to care for the place. The only people there are Bly and his friend, Barnes, to care for the children.
Bly Ravensdale is actually a Duke who has spent many years living in India. Employed by the Crown he has worked as a thief and an assassin and has been sent to many countries to retrieve priceless objects.
Clara is not who she says she is because she is running from a job working as a companion to an elderly man. She has suffered some severe injuries and fears she may have killed the man. She is, however, a well-educated young woman who had attended Marmont School, a finishing school, and speaks several languages.
Clara immediately tries to reign in the children and get them on a schedule in addition to trying to clean up the Hall and make some rooms livable. Unfortunately, Bly is a crude man who drinks constantly and is always in some sort of trouble. Bly tries to get Clara to open up to him, but she remains cool and remote.
Thus follows a game of cat and mouse between Clara and Bly. Clara thinks someone is trying to find and kill her and Bly is always being sought after.
There is a lot of intrigue and love as the attraction between Clara and Bly grows. I liked Clara a lot but wanted to give Bly a swift kick in the pants. The story is a bit rugged but I’m sure many will like this book.
Connie for b2b
Complimentary copy provided by the publisher