Teaser Tuesday–Meet Christopher and Nora from FOLLOW THE HEART
I may have mentioned before that Follow the Heart is a twofer novel—there are two different romances happening in this story. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Kate’s younger brother, Christopher Dearing, and Honora “Nora” Woodriff, the governess for Kate and Christopher’s youngest cousin, Florie.
After several minutes, Christopher was glad of Florie’s chattering company—he never would have found his way. They left the main part of the house and went into an older wing—colder, damper—and up two more flights of stairs.
When they reached the top of the second flight, the echoing clip of footfalls met them. They turned a corner, and Miss Woodriff came to an abrupt halt before she ran headlong into them.
She stared at Christopher for a moment, astonishment clear in her golden-brown eyes. With a little shake of her head, she turned her attention to Florie. “Miss Florence, your Latin lesson was to have started five minutes ago. You know how I feel about tardiness.”
Florie gave Christopher a what-did-I-tell-you glance, then let go of his arm. “Thank you for the escort, Cousin Christopher. I will see you at dinner later.”
“My pleasure, Cousin Florie.” He waited until the young woman disappeared into the classroom before turning his full focus on the governess. Shorter than he’d remembered, she barely came up to his shoulder. “My apologies for making Miss Florence late for her lesson. She found me in the gallery, and I kept her talking when she should have been returning here for her lesson.”
Miss Woodriff—severe from her tightly drawn back hair to her indigo, high-necked, long-sleeved gown—closed her eyes; and, before she bowed her head, the hint of a smile eased the straight line of her lips upward.
She looked up at him again. “I have been Miss Florence’s governess for several years. I know it is she who kept talking to you, rather than the other way around. I do apologize if she kept you from anything important, Mr. Dearing.”
“Nonsense. It was a highly educational conversation—we discussed geography, an American politician, and the aboriginal peoples of my country. I learned quite a bit.” He ducked his head and grinned at her, trying to coax the corners of her lips up further.
It worked. Though she kept her lips pressed firmly together, Miss Woodriff gave him what most would consider to be a smile. “In other words, she asked you about Davy Crockett, Tennessee, California, and Indians.” She shook her head. “Though the penny dreadfuls Matthew brings her contain a vast variety of shocking stories, those are her favorite. Once again, I apologize, Mr. Dearing.”
“Don’t. I enjoyed it. I like that she’s taken an interest in America. But, perhaps, I might be allowed to disabuse her of some of the more fantastical stories she may have read about my country.” He looked over Miss Woodriff’s head toward the classroom. “I quite enjoyed history and geography when I was a university student.”
A glimmer of keen interest sparkled in the governess’s golden-brown eyes. “I believe that would be a wonderful idea. Would you—or would it be too much of a bother—consider coming to one of Florie’s lessons and answering her questions? I am sometimes hard put to find the answers in my limited library on the subjects.”
He gave her a slight bow. “I would be delighted. Just let me know when, and I will be here.”
Miss Woodriff’s lips parted slightly when she smiled this time. She backed down the short hallway. “Thank you, Mr. Dearing. I look forward to learning more about America under your tutelage—for Miss Florence’s sake, of course.”
“For Miss Florence’s sake.” Christopher waited until Miss Woodriff closed the classroom door behind her before he turned and skipped down the stairs, humming a jaunty tune he’d heard the sailors singing on the voyage over.