The manor behind the mists….
The man behind the mystery. In 1873 San Francisco, spirited Ann Lovell takes a position no one else dares — as governess to the motherless sons of the enigmatic Benedict Trevelyan. It has long been whispered that Trevelyan Manor hides dark secrets and sinister deeds—including the murder of Benedict’s wife. But Ann refuses to pay heed to spiteful rumor.
As she grows to cherish her young charges, Ann also finds herself powerfully drawn to the handsome Benedict, whose passionate persuasion introduces her to a new world of sensual pleasures. But even while falling in love with the master of Trevelyan, Ann wonders if his attentions are intended to blind her to the secrets of the past—and if Benedict holds the key to her destiny…or her destruction.
- The Mistress of Trevelyan is the Historical Published Maggie Winner (2005)
- The Mistress of Trevelyan won the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best First Book of 2004
- The Mistress of Trevelyan won the National Reader’s Choice Award for Best Historical of 2004
- Winner of the Daphne Du Maurier Award
- The Holt Medallion for Best First Book (nomination)
- The Golden Quill for Best First Book (nomination)
- The Daphne du Maurier for Best Historical
“Full of spooky suspense…[St. Giles’] story ripples with tension. This tension and the author’s skill at creating the book’s brooding atmosphere make this an engrossing read.” – Publishers Weekly
“[An] intriguing, well-crafted romance.” – Library Journal
“[An] excellent debut novel. St. Giles does a masterful job of evoking a Gothic atmosphere, and updates it nicely with smoldering sexual tension…The story is compellingly told.” – Affaire de Coeur
“Jennifer St. Giles must definitely be a descendant of the famous Bronte sisters. The story is enthralling, and the characters are captivating. The Mistress of Trevelyan is destined to become a classic romance novel, one readers will reach for again and again.” – ARomanceReview.com
“This is an engaging gothic romance with all the classic elements…The story line will touch readers.” – Harriet Klausner
Startled over how clearly I’d heard Benedict’s voice in my sleepy mind, I jumped up from my reading chair confused.
“Damnation, what in the devil?” came a deep voice from the other room. Blocks clattered on the floor followed by a heavy scraping sound. I ran to the schoolroom with my lamp. Benedict came barreling through the secret passage door, thunder furrowing his dark brow. I stared at him, drawn, as one might be to gaze at the beauty and fury of a dangerous storm during the dark of the night.
“Miss Lovell, what in the bloody hell is going on here?”
His clothes were dripping wet and plastered to his imposing body. His dark hair gleamed with moisture and a rakish stubble shadowed the determined set of his jaw.
From the look he centered on me above his Roman nose, I got the feeling I was in for a good dose of his dominating characteristics. “I will have that answer immediately. You are boxed in like a bloody rebel unit with nothing but bluecoats in sight.”
I stiffened my spine. “I was merely being prudent, Mr. Trevelyan.”
“Indeed, Miss Lovell?” He raked his fingers through his hair, sending droplets of water flying as he stepped over the blocks and advanced on me. “Did you fear I would steal in upon you in the middle of the night? Good God, woman. If nothing else, I am a man of honor.”
He was so close I could smell the rain on him and feel the damp chill of his body. “P…pardon? I do not see–” My eyes widened. “Mr. Trevelyan, do you think you are the only person on earth? Might you consider that there are others about who use the secret passage? That perhaps I sought to warm them that I would not tolerate being spied upon? And that I most certainly would want to warn myself if they did?”
He took hold of my shoulders, dampening my gown with the water dripping from him. I shivered, but not from the cold of his fingers. I shivered with the need to warm him.
“What are you talking about? Dobbs telegraphed me that my household had run amuck. Justin and Robert were in tears and you had overstepped your position and had taken them off to picnic at their mother’s grave. I come rushing home to find you barricaded in your room. What is going on?”
“What is going on?” I blinked, quite taken by surprise that Dobbs had contacted Benedict. I considered the battle that Dobbs and I waged a private one. The man had had no right telegraphing tales. It had never occurred to me that Dobbs could be my intruder, the author of my warning note, and the destroyer of the children’s garden. Maybe it should have. I then recalled that I was miffed at Benedict. “If you were not always running off maybe you would know what is going on in your own household.”
“Running off?” He released me and stepped back as if I’d slapped him. “Running off!”
“Precisely,” I said. I knew I’d more than overstepped my boundaries. In fact I had most probably obliterated them, which left me no choice but to brazen out the truth. I decided to pace, for an instinctual self-preservation told me that a moving target was harder to shoot than a standing one. Benedict looked as if he were a loaded six-shooter in what
Captain Balder would have described as a poker game gone sour.
“I have been giving a great deal of thought to the situation and can see how business decisions rather than the complexities of personal problems could have an appeal to a man of your nature,” I said.
Benedict crossed his arms and his gaze targeted me. I paced faster and spoke faster, too, feeling the urgency to get everything said while I had the chance. “It is entirely logical for you to gravitate toward financial dealings. You are a man who requires instant results. You see situations as clear cut and have little time for emotional difficulties, such as Justin’s fear that something dreadful will happen to you and he will have lost both his mother and his father. Then there is Robert’s fear that while you are away you will find a boy who will behave perfectly and you will love that boy better…then there is the matter of your kiss and your prompt business departure. What other conclusion can a woman draw, but that business has more appeal than–”
I paced passed him. He grabbed my shoulders and swung me around to face him. “Than what, Miss Lovell?” His voice had lowered and softened, doubling its smoothness. My heart raced like a runaway stagecoach.
“Than complexities,” I whispered, the heat of my ire dampened by his obvious concern.
“Would that I had an aversion to…complexities, Miss Lovell. Unfortunately, I find myself quite attracted to them…Miss Lovell,” he whispered hoarsely. “I must warn you that—”
“No,” I said, stopping his words. “I want no warning, Mr. Trevelyan. I fear all I want is for you to kiss me again.” Before I could finish my sentence, his mouth fell upon mine, and he pulled me into his embrace. His body was wet and hard against my warm softness and I needed to press closer to him more than I needed to breathe…