The Governess Club:Sara

By: Ellie Macdonald

CHAPTER ONE



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Early May 1823





Sara’s breath caught when his eyes, dark as chocolate, met hers. Holding her gaze, those delicious eyes softened and glowed, sending ripples of warmth through her veins. A slow smile pulled across his lips, tugging an answering one on hers. Breathing became more difficult the longer their gazes remained locked. Her heartbeat quickened.

“I therefore beseech you, my brethren, to strive to love your neighbor not simply as you love yourself, but as God loves you.”

Even his voice sent tingles over her skin.

Mr. Charles Pomeroy, the new vicar in the village of Taft, moved his gaze to another in the congregation. “Think not merely of how you would wish to be treated, but how God would treat you in a similar situation. Seek out those who require succor and generosity of spirit and wealth, for it is our treatment of those in need by which we will be judged and will permit us to see the face of our benevolent Creator.”

Goodness, but their children would be blessed, especially if they take after their father. Sara could scarcely wait for that chapter of their lives to begin.

A sharp pinch in her side jerked Sara back to the present. She managed to stifle the instinctive shriek, thus avoiding disturbing the Sunday morning service and acquiring the unwanted attention of the village gossips.

Frowning, Sara glanced at the offending hand and gave Louisa a weak glare.

“Stop daydreaming about him,” her friend hissed under her breath.

Sara started to protest, but was cut off by the congregation rising for the final hymn. Mrs. Yardley hammered the notes on the pianoforte and Sara flipped through the hymnal pages to the appropriate song. Her clear voice joined the others.

She glanced up at the lectern and Mr. Pomeroy gave her another smile. She blushed and dropped her eyes back down, getting an elbow from Louisa this time.

“Really, Sara,” Louisa Hurst scolded once the service was over. “What will people think when they see a member of the Governess Club swooning in public over the vicar?”

“I—” Sara began.

Claire Knightly broke in. “This isn’t really the place, ladies,” she said, a smile pasted on her face as she nodded politely to an elderly matron wearing a hat the size of Kent. “Shall we?” She took her husband’s offered arm and led the group out of the small church. Sara and Louisa followed, suitably chastened.

Sara squinted as they stepped out, her small bonnet ineffective against the blinding sun. Using her hand as a shield, she saw Mr. Pomeroy standing nearby, surrounded by ladies of all ages. The handsome young man was smiling kindly, his attention jumping as one lady after another tried to capture his notice.

“I declare, Mr. Pomeroy, you do have an eye for flower arrangements,” Mrs. Glendoe was saying as Sara’s group approached. “You must feel free to use any of the blossoms from my garden in the church. Come by for tea Saturday next and my daughter Rebecca will help you select them.” The middle-aged matron pushed her daughter in the vicar’s direction.

“Thank you for your generosity, Mrs. Glendoe,” Mr. Pomeroy said in his smooth, deep voice. He noticed the new additions to the group around him and smiled. “But I must be honest in telling you that it was Miss Collins who arranged the flowers. I have no talent when it comes to that sort of thing, and she has been rescuing me for the past few weeks. Her talent is a gift from God.”

Sara blushed. The ladies in the circle all turned and looked at her, some pleasantly, some not. She shifted under their regard, unused to the attention.

Louisa stepped in. “We at Ridgestone are always willing to help out, Mr. Pomeroy. The Governess Club firmly believes in contributing to the larger community.”

“Ah, yes indeed.” Mr. Pomeroy looked bemused at Louisa’s words. He shifted his gaze to Jacob. “Mr. Knightly, if I might have a word.” He broke away from the gaggle of women and stood several feet away with Jacob, speaking in low tones.

Sara felt every female eye land on her again. She resisted the urge to shift nervously. Mrs. Glendoe was not succeeding in hiding her animosity, but several of the others were looking at her with kindness. She felt somewhat at ease with that knowledge.

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