FanFic - Other
"Sexual Temptations"
Part 5
by Jez
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing (but if I did, I wouldn't share Michael =0P)
Summary: In the mid 1800's, Father Maxwell Evans arrives in America...
Category: Other
Rating: PG-13
Authors Note: Based Nehal's Sexual Temptations Challenge
"It's Tess Harding, isn't it?"

The blond in question turns around to face me. "Aye, it is."

I grin. "My name is Michael Guerin. I have been told that you were a school teacher back home at Ireland. Is this true?"


Perfect. Another Guerin scheme falls into place. "Well, then, I have a proposition for you." Wait for it, Mikey. . . Wait until interest is properly established. . . "I was wondering if I could persuade you to tutor my children. I could pay you any amount you desire, and I would provide free room and board."

Tess eyes me suspiciously and pushes a tangle of golden curls from her eyes. "YOU have children, Mr. Guerin? Somehow, I doubt that."

Okay, this definitely isn't going as smooth as I had hoped. This is for a good cause. Just remember that. . . I nod my head towards the church yard, where Rhiannon, Finola, and Andrew await me. "Orphan children. I also have another lad living with me, but he is off on an errand for me."


He is so adorable! Michael's "son," Thomas, is playing a violin in the rose garden. Luckily, my father is helping the Valentis locate a slave who had escaped from their plantation last night. Seeing my face in the window, his face lights up. "Miss Maria! I have to talk with you!"

I smile at him. "Come inside, Thomas."

I rush down the stairs and open the patio doors, where the boy stands waiting for me. I lead him into the parlor and sit down on one of the silken sofas. Thomas bows down on one knee at my feet. "Milady, I have a gift of great importance from my da." His da? I can't help but smile. Michael has made quite an impression on his new found family. Thomas places a rectangular package on my lap.

Curiously, I turn the parcel over in my hands. Michael sent me a gift? Could he feel the same way about me as I feel about him? "Open it, Miss Maria!" Thomas sits next to me, staring at the package as if to see beyond the simple brown paper. Grinning, I tear into the paper. A copy of William Shakespeare's "Mid Summer Night's Dream" lays in my lap.


"Please, they have never been to a school. I want them to be able to read and write before classes begin in the fall."

I put on my most sincere smile. "Well, that and I cannot take care of them by myself. Finola helps, but she is just a babe herself. My home is less than a twenty minute walk from town. It would take you even less time on horseback."

Tess eyes me again, but I can tell that she is being won over by the children. Finola holds Andrew in her arms as Rhiannon stands by my side, half hiding behind my leg as she sneaks looks at Tess. "All right, Mr. Guerin, I am convinced."

Perfect. "Please, call me Michael."


The course of true love never did run smooth.

Truer words were never spoken. What is the reason for Michael to give me this particular story as a gift? A story of a woman who is to be wed to the man her father fancies while she feels everlasting adoration for her heart's true love? What is Michael trying to say to me? He opposes my engagement to Kyle, holds me closer than his soul when we dance, sends his new son to my door playing the violin and conveying gifts. . . Michael must love me.

"Thomas, where is your father now?"

"Asking a lady from the church to come stay with us."

A lady? Before I can inquire further, there is a rapping at the door. Thomas follows me as I open the door. "Kyle!"

Kyle plasters a half-hearted smile on his face. "Good afternoon, Maria. Young Thomas. How are you on this fine day?"

I can hardly entice my throat to work. Of all the possible times to intrude. . . "Well. I am well. I. . . I thought that you and your father had urgent matters to attend to this afternoon!"

"Our fathers decided that they do not required my services any more today. I was wondering if you would like to take a walk with me." What is that face Kyle is making at Thomas? I could swear that I saw him give the boy a subtle smile. "I think that Mr. Guerin would like the safe return of his child. We could pass by his farm on our excursion."

Michael's farm. I swear that Kyle Valenti must have a fetish for horses. Honestly. It seems that we always visit his farm so that he might stare at the animals. Still, at least it gives me precious moments to spend with my love. "That would be splendid, Kyle."


What sort of woman is Michael inviting into his home? Could she be his sister? I have often heard him compare the benevolence of his sister to that of Sister Mary Elizabeth. But if it were, then why hasn't she already gone to live on his farm? No, his sister is out of the question. Could she be his lover? Maybe I was given the book as a token of friendship. But then why a book of such similarity to my own peril? Perhaps he overlooked my situation. Men are not known for speculation. Yes, that must be the case. I jumped to conclusions again.

I can feel my heart drop into the very pits of my stomach. Michael does not cherish me as I cherish him. I feel like such a fool. Why would a man of such charm and desire want for an ill-starred woman with an aristocratic father? He is too untamed -- too free and unrestrained -- to ever be tied down by the state of being to which I have been born. When I look at him, it as if he were an apparition the wind may carry out of my life in a matter of seconds. How could I ever hope to hold the phantom of perfection within my grasp?

As we walk over the final knoll towards the farm, I cannot wonder what it is that I will bear witness to. Will I find my beloved in the arms of another? Will I be forced to perceive the final affliction to the fantasies that I harbor for myself and my heart's desire? I do not think that I could survive perceiving Michael's love for another woman.

Shouts of anger break my thoughts away from the contemplation of my adversity. Kyle rushes from my side towards the pasture and halts abruptly near a gathering of people. A large man hovers over Michael as his superior in mass proportions holds the reigns of a black mare -- the very same creature that Michael had trained with Thomas, now throwing her foot nervously -- roughly in his callused hands. A woman with curly blond hair stands to the side with the children.

"I have not cheated you! The mare is a fine horse!"

The man pushed Michael, but he did not do so much as flinch. "That beast is savage. I cannot do so much as mount her!"

Michael straightened his back. "That is a lie. She was as gentle as a pony when she left. Even a child could mount her. You have mistreated her. I can see the lash marks on her backside."

"Well, then, set that pretty little bit against this monster, and we will see who is right."

I hold my breath as Thomas and I approach the scene slowly. Michael is a strong and able man, but I do not believe that he could beat both men. "Rhiannon. Mount the horse, girl."

"MICHAEL!" I watch as the woman takes Rhiannon by the arm. "Don't even think that I will allow you to do this!"

Michael turns around, and I catch the glimpse of a twinkle in his eye. "Have you no faith in me, Tess? Rhiannon, do not be afraid. Just mount the horse." Michael motioned for the other man to release the mare.

Rhiannon tentatively approached the mare. I can't hear what it is she is saying from my standing, but I can tell that she is murmuring some comforting words of some sorts to the frightened animal. Stepping closer to the mare, Rhiannon extends her hand. After a moments consideration, the mare nuzzles her hand. Walking to the flank of the animal, Rhiannon uses her mane to hoisted herself up. Well, halfway up.

"DA! Help me! I'm stuck!"

Michael laughs as he goes to help Rhiannon. Keeping one hand on the girl's back to steady her, Michael turns to face the men. "This is the dangerous beast that you have been complaining about, Fergus?"

The larger man turns red with embarrassment. "Keep the beast if you like, Guerin, but do not believe that you will have the chance to shaft me again." With that, Fergus and his counterpart started down the road.

Laughing, Michael turned to catch Thomas' eye. As if on cue, the lad took off towards the mare and lead her into the pasture as Michael approached me. Suddenly, I am all too aware of the presence of the young woman who is now at Kyle's arm. Michael nodded towards the retreating figures. "Unsatisfied customers."

I smile in acknowledgment -- I do not think I could muster up a coherent sentence if I tried -- but I cannot bring myself to look Michael in the eye. He bends down to catch my gaze. "Is something the matter with you?"

I shake my head and start to walk towards the pasture. Michael grabs my arm. "Something is the matter with you, Maria." I look at him in shock. I do believe that this is the first time I have heard him use my name. Michael smiles at me and takes my hand.

"I do not believe that you have meet my children's tutor, Tess Harding."

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