Catherine Audley, the daughter of Britain's spymaster on the Iberian Peninsula, is far more sophisticated than most young women her age, which doesn't protect her from the machinations of her father, a husband of convenience, or the unrelenting demands of a long war. Over seven years of a first-hand, and highly personal, view of the Peninsular War, she matures into a woman who is finally able to go toe-to-toe with the enigmatic young man to whom she has given years of unquestioning devotion. Only to discover that love cannot compensate for betrayal of trust. Or can it?
While masquerading as an ox-cart driver, the young Englishman known as Blas the Bastard meets Catherine Audley, and his life is changed forever. It is 1807 and France is about to invade Portugal. To protect Cat's father, his gaming establishment in Lisbon, and the British spy network on the Peninsula, Blas proposes a "paper" marriage between himself and young Catherine. She is fourteen; he, twenty-one—both too young for the responsibilities they must assume. Blas is arrogant, dashing, occasionally reckless, totally bound up in the demands of the war, and oblivious to the looming disastrous conflict with his sometime wife.
When Cat finally discovers how badly Blas has deceived her, a monumental clash is inevitable. In no way does the triumph of allied troops in 1814 guarantee a happy ending for two people for whom the war was a personal disaster. Is she a sometime bride, the "widow" of a man who never existed? Is she Blas's well-rewarded, but discarded mistress? Or is she a beloved wife whose only rival is her husband's determined expediency in a time of war?
* * *The Sometime Bride is both an Historical Romance and a heavily researched Historical novel, detailing the seven years of the Peninsular War as seen through the eyes of our young hero and heroine. And of course it has an Epilogue about that most famous battle of all, Waterloo.
Below are the links to The Sometime Bride at Kindle and Smashwords. The Smashword's link allows a 20% free read.
Coming soon: my novella, Mistletoe Moment - due out November 10 from the Cotillion line of Ellora's Cave
Grace, who writes as Blair Bancrft