Playing "The Governess Game" Means A Sure Win For Lovers Of Historical Romance

Title:  The Governess Game
Author:  Tessa Dare
Format:  Kindle ARC
Length:  384 pages
Expected Date of Publication:  August 28, 2018
Publisher:  Avon Books
Rating:  5 Stars

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 morning began in the same way as most of Chase’s mornings lately. With a tragic demise.
“She’s dead.”
He turned onto his side. As he blinked, Rosamund’s face came into focus. “What was it this time?”
                “Typhus.”                                             “Charming"
Using the sofa’s upholstered arm for leverage, he pushed to a sitting position. As he did so, his brain sloshed with regret. He rubbed his temples, ruing his behavior the night before. And his licentiousness in the very early morning. While he was at it, he decided he might as well regret his entire misspent youth, too. Clear a bit of his afternoon schedule.
“It can wait until later.” Once his head ceased ringing and he’d washed off the cloying scent of French perfume.
“It must be now, Daisy says, or else the contagion could spread. She’s preparing the body.”
Chase groaned. He decided it wasn’t worth arguing. Might as well have it done with.
As they began climbing the four flights of stairs to the nursery, he interrogated his ten-year-old ward. “Can’t you do something about this?”
“Can’t you?”
“She’s your little sister.”
“You’re her guardian.”
He grimaced, rubbing his throbbing temple. “Discipline isn’t one of my particular talents.”
“Obedience isn’t one of ours,” Rosamund replied.
“I’ve noticed. Don’t think I didn’t see you pocket that shilling from the side table.” They reached the top of the stairs and turned down the corridor. “Listen, this has to stop. Quality boarding schools don’t offer enrollment to petty thieves or serial murderesses.”
“It wasn’t murder. It was typhus.”
“Oh, to be sure it was.”
“And we don’t want to go to boarding school.”
“Rosamund, it’s time you learned a harsh lesson.” He opened the nursery door. “We don’t always get what we want in life.”
Didn’t Chase know it. He didn’t want to be guardian to a pair of orphaned girls. He didn’t want to be next in line for the Belvoir dukedom. And he most assuredly did not want to be attending his fourth funeral in as many days. Yet here he was.
Daisy turned to them. A veil of dark netting covered her straw-colored curls. “Please show respect for the dead.”
She waved Chase forward. He dutifully crossed to her side, bending down so that she could pin a black armband around his shirtsleeve.
“I’m sorry for your loss,” he said. So very sorry. You don’t know how sorry.
He took his place at the head of the bed, looking down at the deceased. She was ghostly pale and swaddled in a white shroud. Buttons covered her eyes. Thank God. It was damned unnerving when the eyes looked up at him with that glassy, empty stare.
Daisy reached for his hand and bowed her head. After leading them in a recitation of the Lord’s Prayer, she poked Chase in the ribs. “Mr. Reynaud, kindly say a few words.”
Chase looked to the heavens. God help him.
“Almighty Father,” he began in a dispirited tone, “we commit to your keeping the soul of Millicent. Ashes to ashes. Sawdust to sawdust. She was a doll of few words and yet fewer autonomous movements, yet she will be remembered for the ever-present—some might say permanently painted—smile on her face. By the grace of our Redeemer, we know she will be resurrected, perhaps as soon as luncheon.” He added under his breath, “Unfortunately.”
“Amen,” Daisy intoned. With solemnity, she lowered the doll into the wooden toy chest, then closed the lid.
Rosamund broke the oppressive silence. “Let’s go down to the kitchen, Daisy. We’ll have buttered rolls and jam for our breakfast.”
“You’ll breakfast here,” he corrected. “In the nursery. Your governess will—”
“Our governess?” Daisy gave him a sweet, innocent look. “But we don’t have a governess at the moment.”
He groaned. “Don’t tell me the new one quit. I only hired her yesterday.”
Rosamund said proudly, “We were rid of her in seventeen and a quarter hours. A new record.”
Chase strode to the world map on the wall and plucked a tack from the border. “There.” He stabbed an unsuspecting country at random, then pointed at it with authority. “I am sending you to boarding school there. Enjoy”—he squinted at the map—“Malta.”
Fuming, Chase quit the room and made the journey back down the four flights of stairs, and then down a half flight more and through the kitchen—all the way to his private retreat. Upon entering, he shut and locked the door before exhaling a lungful of annoyance.
For a gentleman of leisure, he was damned exhausted. He needed a bath, a shave, a change of clothing, and a headache powder. Barrow would arrive in an hour with sheaves of papers to look over and bank drafts to sign. The club had a bacchanalian revel this evening. And now he must hire yet another governess.
Before he could face any of it, he needed a drink.
As he made his way to the bar, he navigated a card table draped with a dustcloth and a stack of paintings propped against the wall, waiting to be hung. The apartment was a work in progress. He had a well-furnished bedchamber upstairs, of course, but for now he needed a space as far away from the nursery as architecturally possible. The arrangement was for the girls’ benefit as much as his own. He would rather not know what mischief his wards wrought at the top of the house, and they must never learn of the devilry he practiced at the bottom of it.
He uncorked a bottle of wine and filled a large glass. A bit early in the day for burgundy, but what of it. He was, after all, in mourning. Might as well lift a glass to Millicent’s memory.
He’d downed half the glass in one swallow when he heard a light knock at the door. Not the door to and from the kitchen, but the door that opened onto the side street.
Chase cursed into his burgundy. That would be Colette, he supposed. They’d had their fun the other night, but apparently neither his well-established reputation nor the parting bouquet he’d sent had communicated the message. He would be forced to have “the talk” with her in person.
It’s not you, darling. It’s me. I’m an irredeemable, broken man. You deserve better.
All of it was true, as hackneyed as it sounded. When it came to relationships, sensual or otherwise, Chase had one rule.
No attachments.
Words to live by, words to make love by. Words to send wards to boarding school by. When he made promises, he only caused pain.
“Come in,” he called, not bothering to turn around. “It’s unlocked.”
A cool draft swept across his neck as the door opened, then shut again. Like the whisper of fingertips.
He took another glass and filled it. “Back for more, are you? Insatiable minx. I knew it was no accident you left your stocking here the other”—he turned, holding the wineglasses in his hands and fixing a roguish half smile on his face—“night.”
Interesting. The woman who’d entered was not Colette.
She was very much not Colette.
A small, dark-haired young woman stood before him. She clutched a weathered brown satchel in her hands, and her eyes held abject horror. He could actually watch the blood draining from her face and settling at the base of her throat as a hot, fierce blush.
“Good morning,” he said amiably.
In reply, she made an audible swallow.
“Here.” Chase extended his left hand, offering her a glass of wine. “Have this. You look as though you could use it.”
My Thoughts

Down...down...down to the bottom of the Thames.
When Alexandera Mountbatton's chronometer and clockminder's satchel is lost in the river.  After a most unfortunate panic attack leads her to abandon ship.  In in favor an unplanned swim to shore.
The offer that she received just that very afternoon from one Chase Renaud, the heir to the Duke of Belvoir.  Who had upon ushering her into his private "man cave" mistakenly believing her to be the replacement governess; hired to wrangle his two young wards.

But a clockminder does not a governess make.  No matter how badly a future duke, with absolutely no idea how to raise two rambunctious young girls might wish it to be so.
A job is however a job.
Even if it does mean that Alex will find herself living under the same roof with one of the most notorious rakes in England.
And whom, I might add, has had a staring role in more than a few of her fantasies.  Since a chance encounter in a her favorite bookshop.
Now, all that remains to be seen is if Mr. Renaud can steal her heart just as easily as easily as he managed to make off with her copy of Messier's Catalogue Of Star Clusters And Nebulae.

Just when you think that romance can't get any more fun, exciting, and well...roo tmantic!
Tessa Dare graces the world with yet another edition of "yes it can"!
Alex, Chase, Rosemund, and Daisy are nothing less than perfect.  As far as characters go.  With backstories that on their own, would be the delight of any reader.
But when taken together, and allowed to intermingle.  Each adding color, and nuance to the other.  While at the same time giving a solid foundation to the collective love story that is The Governess Game.  This story is nothing short of heaven.

Written with the trademark Dare humor, attention to detail, sexiness, and emotional complexity.  The Governess Game is one that those who play to read, are sure to win every time.

About Tessa
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Tessa Dare is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of fourteen historical romance novels and five novellas. Her books have won numerous accolades, including Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® award (twice!) and the RT Book Reviews Seal of Excellence. Booklist magazine named her one of the “new stars of historical romance," and her books have been contracted for translation in more than a dozen languages.

A librarian by training and a booklover at heart, Tessa makes her home in Southern California, where she lives with her husband, their two children, and a trio of cosmic kitties.

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