My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Karyn Gerrard’s The Governess and the Beast had an interesting storyline and some pretty surprising twists that I hadn’t imagine coming. This is the second book of The Blind Cupid series, which is based on the characters from a brothel of the same name.
‘Hortense’ is trying to become a proper governess. She wants to change her past and start anew, and for that reason, she’s now on her way to this distant countryside to work for a recluse lord, who is said to be ugly from scars and... umm, sexually impotent. She saw the ad on the newspaper about a governess for his ward and found the position to her liking. On her arrival, ‘Hortense’ is taken to her destination by the coach sent from the Manor. As she neared her destination, ‘Hortense’ is intrigued as well as a little apprehensive by the gloomy atmosphere, and the big, crumbling Manor house that stands before her. It’s seemed like something from a Gothic novel!
‘Hortense’ is showed her room where she refreshes herself. But, her shiver of apprehension prolongs when she’s taken to meet the master of the house. There, ‘Hortense’ finds a tall, muscular man... but what is this? This seems to be the coachman who drove her here from the station! As the master of the house reveals his face, ‘Hortense’ can’t but gasp out in horror. One side of his face is severely scarred while the other side is a stark contrast, showing what a handsome man he once was.
Simon had been burned severely during the war. Once been known as a very handsome man and used to having his way with the ladies, Simon can’t take how it has all been taken away from him. His life of society, gambling and whoring is over. Now, having lived as lonely as he is, Simon is desperate for some companionship... even if it’s of someone like ‘Hortense’. Simon hasn’t been with any woman ever since his accident but ‘Hortense’s’ reply to his impulsive advert made him want to seek her out. He has also made a thorough check on her background which is the total opposite of prim and proper. ‘Hortense’ is none other than a former prostitute, Lila, who used to work in the Blind Cupid. She seems very well educated for that though. Simon is intrigued by her beauty, education, not to mention her apparent primness when she’s anything but if the reports he read about her are accurate enough.
Lila is completely surprised when Simon makes her an offer and the fact that she was here for his need rather than his ward Christopher’s. And that doesn’t make her happy. She is not taking up the life she has left behind but after talking to Simon and some of his attempts at showing that he hasn’t lost his mojo, Lila begins to change her mind. Simon’s loneliness calls out to her, and when, after her initial rejection of his proposal, the hurt she saw in his eyes does something to her insides. Moreover, she’s not all that disgusted by his scars. Fact of the matter is, both want to know about one another, so they struck a bargain of a night of passion. Lila can walk away the next day with the money she was offered for her governess position, and a great reference from Simon to start her life elsewhere as she originally planned.
But it becomes easier said than done when they finally start having sex, which was very HOT, with Simon’s dirty mouth and imagination *wink*. That was the best part! As their intimacy deepens, Lila and Simon begin to open up about their respective past. While I understood that some of these revelations were necessary for the storyline, unfortunately, I didn’t like knowing stuff about Simon’s past indiscretions or the fact that Desmond, the H of the first book was Lila’s first lover.
The Governess and the Beast takes place much earlier than book 1, The Blind Cupid. I couldn’t remember Lila from that story though. But, I must say I felt the bond forming between her and Simon among the sex and the sharing of their past. I could almost feel Simon’s yearning for Lila, and her wish to stay, even though she knew being a mistress to Simon would ultimately bring nothing good for her.
The story ends on a positive note; the hope for a new beginning for both Simon and Lila. I was definitely glad for that. 3.75 stars.