Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Reluctant Governess (Ladies Unlaced #3) by Maggie Robinson

A secretary for the renowned Evensong Agency, Eliza Lawrence may have a pretty face, but she’s much prouder of her mind and her morals. When she’s pressed into temporary governess duty as a favor to her boss, she doesn’t expect to bend one bit for the rakish Nicholas Raeburn. Not even when he opens the door to her half-dressed…

Despite his bad reputation, Nicholas is a man of honor. To Nick’s way of thinking, he doesn’t need any help raising his daughter, Domenica. If only he weren’t so drawn to the meddlesome woman’s sparkling wit and uncommon beauty…

But when an act of misplaced chivalry goes seriously awry, resulting in mayhem and almost murder, Eliza becomes the only woman he can depend upon. Nick will do anything to protect his family, but who will protect him from falling in love with his reluctant governess?

Type: Historical Romance
Heat: 3 out of 5-- though not too much
Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Amazon | All Romance | BAM | Goodreads

Not even gonna lie. The cover--which is gorgeous!--and the title--ack a governess!-- totally had me lusting over this one. I mean. How could I resist I ask you? I couldn't! I tell you. I just couldn't! Heh. And I'm glad I gave The Reluctant Governess a go. It was my first from Robinson and she totally has me wanting to read more.

The quick of it is that Nick needs a governess for his little girl Sunny. Or rather his auntie-in-law thinks he needs a governess for her. But Nick is the most unusual of employers. He's an artist and tends to paint and photograph women *gasp* a la natural! Scandalous! He's rather free with rules and scoffs at Society. Something the very prim and proper Eliza--who has been sent as a temporary emergency governess-has a thing or two to say about. Whew boy...does she!

These two were different as night and day. An anything goes hero and a heroine who fastidiously follows the rules. And oh how they clashed! The two couldn't get on for more than a couple minutes before they'd gotten under each other's skin and were driving each other mad. Okay. Nicholas would have probably driven me batty as well.

Nick's a sought after painter who recently found out he was a father and took over care of his daughter when her mother passed away. He loves her fiercely and I really liked that side of him. He's also very lackadaisical with what's proper and how things could affect others--namely an unmarried woman whose reputation could be damaged by his free spirited ways. I wanted to shake him a couple times and was very pleased to see Eliza do just that on occasion. Or, rather, throw an alarm clock at him. O.o  He totally brought out the fire in her. And not always to his benefit. ::snort::

Eliza was a strong heroine...even if she did have a fainting spell or two. lol She's not had the most adventurous or free spirited life but she's okay with her position and things staying that way so her world is very much shaken by Nicholas and his ways. I liked that she held her own and had some fight in her too. Was willing to stand up for what she thought and go after a life she controlled.

There romance was...interesting. The two definitely have some chemistry together even if it's more fiery and omg you drive me insane! than you make me want to swoon more often than not. I wasn't sure if they'd work but they managed to and were good for each other.
"Just for a few minutes," he coaxed, thumbing her cheek. "I want to kiss you properly, not up against a wall. You can't be comfortable with the door frame digging in to your back. And quite frankly, I'm not sure how much longer I can stay on my feet."

"Only kissing. I cannot--" Her words were raspy silk, as if her tongue had forgotten one of it's purposes.

Nick stilled her objections with one finger. "Don't worry.I have no nefarious designs upon your person. Well, I do, but I value my life, and you terrify me a little. I still see you with that sword, you see. I will do nothing more than kiss you. You'll leave tomorrow as pure as you are right this minute."

"You swear it?"

"May I be struck blind and never paint again," he affirmed. He dearly hoped the gods weren't listening--it was just his luck that he'd forget himself, tread over the line, and spend the rest of his days in darkness. 
There's a bit of danger and outside forces happening. Pretty much from the start they're up against more than just employee/employer differences. Illness, attacks, the press snooping around for a scandal--his family breeds scandal apparently, men out for revenge and former friends becoming enemies. There was really quite a bit happening to keep these two on their toes and things exciting.

My only complaint really is that I had to look up a lot of words/phrases. I read a good bit of historical and that just doesn't happen too often but I found myself very very glad to have been reading an ebook where I could just tap and look up definitions. And after a while that gets rather exhausting. And, okay, a second one... I would have liked to see more time spent between Nick and his little girl. I'm a sucker for single daddies and just didn't get enough of that aspect really. There were a couple brief moments but it felt more like a device to bring the hero/heroine together than a real aspect of the story. 

Overall, though, I enjoyed The Reluctant Governess. It was entertaining watching these two meld and shape each other. Change the other just slightly into better more well rounded people. To have a spot of fun and realize that maybe something was more important than how they'd lived their lives up until then. And that to me is always a wonderful thing to see in romance. 

Have you read Robinson?
Do you like a hero and heroine that drive each other batty and clash heads?
Does it drive you crazy when authors use dollar words or odd turns of phrase?

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