The Governess Affair
by Courtney Milan
The Wolf of Cleremont…just the name brings dread into the hearts of men—this is the name given to the Duke of Cleremont's right hand man. A former pugilist, Hugo Marshall has used his wits to get out of the ring by solving problems for a duke. There are no “problems” that Hugo cannot dispatch swiftly and efficiently…until he comes to the problem of the governess.
After being raped and left pregnant by the Duke of Cleremont, Serena feels that the duke needs to answer for his actions so she confronts him and when she gets nowhere, she sets herself outside his townhouse. Everyone knows the rumors about the duke and his duchess; if speculation gets around that he has had an affair, Cleremont will lose his wife's dowry. Serena is counting on the duke not letting that happen, what she doesn't count on is Hugo Marshall.
The Governess Affair is a prequel novella for Courtney Milan's upcoming new series, and the end of this story introduces the new characters. My favorite part about The Governess Affair was the interactions between Hugo and Serena, both before and after she discovered he was the Wolf of Cleremont, and how, despite being raped, Hugo made her feel "safe." Normally a heroine who has been raped is emotionally untouchable and afraid, which is realistic and what I expect but, it would not have worked in this short novella. What Courtney Milan does instead is give her heroine a different method of coping. When Hugo asks Serena if the Duke forced her she says “no” but, inside she is thinking, “I let him.” Because of her mindset, and her own inner strength, it worked in this short story.
Hugo's fortune was tied to the Duke's, and if he broke the Duke for Serena then he would also break himself, yet if he did nothing and left Serena to her fate, that would have broken him even more. I loved how Hugo solved his dilemma and I was so glad that he and Serena found what they needed in each other.
I love Courtney Milan's ability to make a short novella seem more complete than some regular length romance novels. The Governess Affair is another keeper and Courtney Milan is quickly becoming my gold standard against which I judge other romances. I am looking forward to the first book in this new series and seeing the boys we met turn into worthy men.
Reviewed by: Valarie Pelissero
“Even a wolf can become a lapdog in the right hands.”
May 2012, 110 pages
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Three months ago, governess Serena Barton was let go from her position. Unable to find new work, she's demanding compensation from the man who got her sacked: a petty, selfish, swinish duke. But it's not the duke she fears. It's his merciless man of business—the man known as the Wolf of Clermont. The formidable former pugilist has a black reputation for handling all the duke's dirty business, and when the duke turns her case over to him, she doesn't stand a chance. But she can't stop trying—not with her entire future at stake.
Hugo Marshall is a man of ruthless ambition—a characteristic that has served him well, elevating the coal miner's son to the right hand man of a duke. When his employer orders him to get rid of the pestering governess by fair means or foul, it's just another day at the office. Unfortunately, fair means don't work on Serena, and as he comes to know her, he discovers that he can't bear to use foul ones. But everything he has worked for depends upon seeing her gone. He'll have to choose between the life that he needs, and the woman he is coming to love…