Behind the Courtesan

Behind the Courtesan

by Bronwyn Stuart

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Overview

When courtesan Sophia Martin returns to the village she fled as a young woman, she knows it won't be a happy reunion—but she can't refuse her brother's request to attend his expectant wife. Trapped until the baby arrives, she must navigate the social rift she caused when she left to pursue a disreputable life—and keep the true reason for her departure from the man she once loved, the bastard son of the Duke who ruined her.

Blake Vale has never forgotten Sophia, but he can't accept the decisions she made, the courtesan's life she leads, or the fact she's cast aside her true self. Plain old Sophia has to be inside this hardened woman somewhere, and he's determined to make her see she doesn't need rich men to be happy, and that their future has nothing to do with the past.

When the dukedom suddenly falls within his reach, Blake must come to terms with his own past and his birthright, and what that means for his future…and Sophia.

73,000 words

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426895395
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 04/22/2013
Sold by: HARLEQUIN
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 975,876
File size: 635 KB

About the Author

Bronwyn's love of reading all things romantic got her into trouble at a very young age. Starting with Mills and Boon 'borrowed' from her mother and then progressing to meaty historicals. It's only fair that romance pays her back with unique ideas for her own novels.
She now writes dark and gritty Regency from her treehouse in the Adelaide Hills surrounded by the laughter of her young children and the love of a great man.

Read an Excerpt

Somewhere on the road to hell
England, 1805


Lions have lionesses, Maharajahs have their many wives and sheikhs, their harems. It seems no matter what manner of species one belongs to, all males think it their gift and right to have more than one female at their beck and call. It is no different with the men of the ton.

Sophia Martin snorted and threw the leather-bound book to the damp carriage floor. It was all about sex. Family, duty, king and country all came second for males seeking sexual gratification.

Drawing a long deep breath, she held it for four counts and then exhaled. Whenever her anxiety grew too great, she would take a deep breath. So many times in her life it had worked. Not now. Not when she faced her largest hurdle to date.

Blake.

Brambles danced thorny cartwheels in her stomach until her breath once again came in short pants and her damp hands crushed the velvet of her lavender gown. What scared her most—being near a new baby, surrounded by happy families, or returning to the place where her life first fell to pieces? Already the condemnation reached out to greet her, to suck her in and spit her out, defeated and deflated. She half imagined sharpened pitchforks awaited her.

Why had Matthew requested that she attend the birth of her niece or nephew? Why had she said yes? The whole situation seemed a cruel reminder of that which she would never experience. Tears pricked her eyes and made them burn as her hand drifted to her abdomen. Too late to change her mind now and far too late for regret.

Once the carriage stopped rocking and creaking, the silence became oppressive. She waited for the driver to leap down from his perch to hand her down.

Nothing happened.

Sophia stood, her body stooped so she wouldn't hit her head, and opened the carriage door. The first thing she saw was the reason the driver hadn't done his job. The dirt yard of the tavern she remembered from her childhood was churned to wet, dark mud that would cover her soft kid boots and more if she were to jump down on her own.

Not an option. "Johnson." She called the driver's name through clenched teeth.

"Yes, ma'am?"

"Get down here and do what I pay you for."

A snort reached her ears followed by his chuckled reply. "You don't pay me enough to slog through that."

Had she known her frugality would make the difference between assistance and abandonment, she would have loosened her purse strings somewhat. It's what she got for hiring the only man interested in driving a courtesan to the middle of nowhere during the wettest winter in years. Now she regretted not taking the Duke of St. Ives up on his offer of a carriage and driver but at the time, anonymity was foremost in her thoughts. No one could know where she had gone. "I'll pay you a further guinea if you get down here and help me."

Johnson snorted again and the carriage rocked slightly but still he didn't climb down. "Not for all the gold in London, lass."

"You can't expect me to...to..." Her bottom lip quivered. She closed her teeth down on it in an effort to remain calm.

"Don't much care how. I could sit up here all day."

"Drive around another way," she hissed.

"Ain't no other way. Rain's washed everything to the same kind of sludge."

Cursing under her breath, she looked to the door of the tavern where a small crowd gathered for what was turning out to be their morning's entertainment and wondered how they had all reached their destination. What she longed to see were boards or a paved walkway to the door but it seemed none of her wishes mattered that day.

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Behind the Courtesan 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
arlenadean More than 1 year ago
By: Bronwyn Stuart Published By: Carina Press Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Rating: 4 Book Blog For: GMTA Review: "Behind the Courtesan" by Bronwyn Stuart was a wonderful historical romance of two people who had been hurt since their childhood days. After Sophia has run away, after fourteen years ago she returns. Will there be any sparks between her and Blake? This seemed as though it was a impossible love with all that had gone one between these two people. Why did Sophie run away in the first place? This had been a secret that Sophie had held on to. However, Sophie was not the only one with secrets. We find from the read that both of these individual had a hard life. I like the way the author made the reader see the life under the Ton and to the life of a courtesan. There will be many twist and turn that you will not see coming and at times both of the two.....well this will be where I will say you must pick up this good read to see for yourself how this author will bring it all out. I found the characters all well developed and very captivating. You will find "Behind the Courtesan" moves at a fast pace that will keep you turning the pages and you will be kept 'enthralled' in Sophie's and Blake's story. Would I recommend? YES!