Not Just a Governess

Not Just a Governess by Carole Mortimer Read Free Book Online

Book: Not Just a Governess by Carole Mortimer Read Free Book Online
Authors: Carole Mortimer
Tags: Romance, Regency, Historical Romance, nineteenth century
with this.
    ‘“Rather than…?”’ he prompted softly.
    She took hold of her courage and looked him straight in the eye. ‘Amanda was upset and in need of comforting—preferably a physical demonstration of affection from her father.’
    He looked obviously disconcerted with her candour.
    Perhaps she had gone too far? After all, it was really none of her concern how Lord Hawthorne behaved towards his young daughter; she had briefly forgotten that she was no longer Miss Magdelena Matthews, the privileged and beloved granddaughter of a duke who was allowed to speak her mind, but was now an employee. And employees did not castigate their employers!
    Elena lowered her gaze demurely. ‘I apologise, my lord. I spoke out of turn.’
    Now it was Adam’s turn to feel discomforted. Elena Leighton’s disapproval apart, he was fully aware that he had difficulty in demonstrating the deep affection he felt for Amanda; she had been only two years old when her mother died and had been attended to completely in the nursery until quite recently.Not that Fanny had ever been a particularly attentive mother when she was alive, but she had occasionally taken an interest and showered Amanda with gifts completely inappropriate to her age, whereas, perhaps partly because of his experiences with Fanny, Adam now found it difficult to show that deep affection he felt for his six-year-old daughter. Which he knew was not a fault of Amanda’s, but due to his own emotional reserve as much as his lack of experience as a father.
    He looked enquiringly at her. ‘I thought it normal for men in society to spend only an hour or so a day in the company of their female offspring?’
    ‘You do not strike me as the sort of gentleman who would be concerned as to how others might behave.’
    ‘Possibly not,’ he allowed slowly. ‘But I am often at a loss as to know how I should behave. Perhaps you might endeavour to help guide me, as to how a father should behave towards his six-year-old daughter?’
    Elena blinked. ‘My lord…?’
    Adam tried not to feel vexed at her surprise. ‘I am suggesting, as Amanda’s governess, that you might perhaps aid me in howbest to take more of an interest in the happenings in my daughter’s life.’
    Her lips thinned so that they did not look in the least plump and inviting. ‘Are you laughing at me, my lord?’
    His top lip curled back derisively in response to that. ‘I believe you will find, Mrs Leighton, that I rarely find reason to laugh at anything, so I very much doubt I will have made you the exception.’ He eyed her closely, no longer sure he had any appetite for the rich and meaty-smelling stew that had been provided for them.
    He had actually been anticipating the evening ahead when he dressed for dinner earlier, could not remember the last time he had dined alone with a beautiful woman—apart from Fanny, whom he had despised utterly, when those rare evenings they had dined at home together had been more a lesson in endurance than something to be enjoyed.
    Just as his grandmother’s dinner the evening before had been something to be endured rather than enjoyed!
    Lady Cecily had totally outdone herself in that she had provided not one, not two, but four eligible young ladies for his approval.All of them young and beautiful—and all of them as empty-headed as Fanny!
    He already knew that Elena Leighton was not of that ilk, that she was educated, learned and that he found her conversation stimulating. As he found her physically stimulating…Except on those occasions when she was determined to rebuke him for what she perceived as his lack of feeling for Amanda!
    ‘Perhaps we should just eat our dinner before it cools any further.’ He didn’t wait for her response, but turned his attention to eating the food in front of him.
    Elena ate her own stew more slowly, aware that she had displeased him. Was he justified to feel that? She was, after all, employed to attend to his daughter, not to comment on

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