From vicar’s son
To captain of her heart!
Lady Helene Barnes travels to Brussels to bring her battle-seeking younger brother home, only to collide with Rhys Landon, her ex-fiancé! Gone is the penniless vicar’s son, now transformed into a combat-hardened captain. The spark still burns between them, but Rhys has a new love now—the army. Until, on the eve of battle, with Napoleon’s troops advancing, the emotional turmoil of their past explodes into a night of passion!
Paperback January 26, 2021
Ebook February 1, 2021
Brussels, Belgium—June 1815
Raucous laughter, loud voices, and the scent of hops and male sweat assaulted Helene Banes as she stood in the threshold of the Brussels tavern. Her mother’s voice rang in her ears. Ladies do not enter such places. But her mother was not here, was she? And Helene had already visited three other such establishments before this one.
Resolutely she stepped through the doorway, followed by her weary old manservant.
‘`Tis a bootless errand, Lady Helene,’ her servant said. ‘We’ll never find him.’
The poor man. She’d dragged him from Northamptonshire to Ramsgate, across the Channel to Ostend and Ghent and finally to Brussels, with very little rest.
‘This will be the last, Wilson. I promise.’ Helene craned her neck to peruse the dark, crowded room. ‘If he is not here, we will return to the hotel.’
They were searching for her younger brother, the only family member she had left since her parents died not even six months ago. David, only eighteen years of age, had tricked her, saying he was visiting school friends. Instead he ran off to Brussels. His letter, posted from the Hôtel de Flandre, had reached her six days before, breezily explaining that he refused to miss the event of the century—the impending battle with Napoleon.
But David was not a soldier. He was little more than a boy with no ounce of sense!
She pushed her way slowly through the crowd of red, blue or black-coated soldiers and plain-clothed Belgians, ignoring the hoots and whistles that had also followed her at the other establishments. She searched for one scrawny blond-haired youth, almost impossible to see in the dim light of the oil lamps and the crowd of larger men. Poor Wilson. Her servant looked dead on his feet, but he’d refused to let her search alone.
One man’s laugh broke through the din. Her head swung around to the sound and all thoughts of her brother fled. A red-coated soldier with dark brown hair and a certain air about him sat at a nearby table. He took a swig of beer and turned his head slightly.
Helene gasped and quickly averted her gaze. Her heart pounded.
It could not be him.
She stole another glance and her chest ached.
He looked older, of course. And thicker—more muscular. Even though she’d only caught a glimpse, that grin was painfully familiar. It was, though, only a glimpse, so she could not be certain. It could be him. He’d left for the army immediately after…after…
After he’d learned she’d changed her mind about marrying him.
Helene closed her eyes and again remembered the pain—Her father said he’d informed him that the elopement was off. He would instead become a lieutenant. She edged away. If it was him, he’d have no wish to lay eyes on her again.
An angry shout and a scraping of chairs made her turn back. She’d found brother, nose to nose with a man twice his size. The man was dressed in town clothes.
‘David!’ she whispered. Her servant caught up to her.
David swayed on his feet, tankard in hand. ‘Napoleon will be defeated!’ he shouted. ‘He’s not half the general Wellington is!’
The man said in French, ‘Napoleon might win. Wellington never faced him in battle.’
‘Napoleon will not win!’ David flung his drink into the man’s face.
The room got quiet. Soldiers half rose from their chairs.
‘No!’ Helene cried.
Suddenly he was there, his hand gripping David’s shoulder.
No doubt now. It was Rhys Landon. The man she almost married.
Five Stars! RITA award-winning Gaston has few literary peers when it comes to creating quietly powerful, emotionally compelling love stories, and her latest impeccably crafted, Regency-set romance is a perfect example of this. Gaston skillfully develops the slow-burn sexual chemistry between Helene Banes and Rhys Landon into a truly believable romantic connection, and her incisive knowledge of the time period and deft hand at incorporating historical details into the book's plot will have readers thinking that they are actually in Brussels on the eve of Waterloo.
John Charles, Goodreads review
Five Stars! Colorfully vivid descriptions of the Regency period plus the Battle at Waterloo kept me totally entranced while reading this historical romance by Diane Gaston. Regardless of the setting, the locale and any people present seemed so conceivable, and I could always picture every moment in my mind… Diane Gaston puts her own spin on the reason that Helene and Rhys parted ways, and the way in which developments affect their relationship when they meet years later certainly had me intrigued as to what would eventually happen. Lots of sentiments are conveyed as this couple navigate their way though the ups and downs cropping up in their lives, and each occurrence only deepened my connection to these two characters who come across as truly believable again and again.
Readers who can't get enough of the Regency era will be riveted by Gaston's latest historical romance set far from the graceful ballrooms of the London ton…The heart of the story is relationships; not only the long delayed passion of a once severed romance but also a difficult sibling relation, and the respectful affection and caring for an employee. Gaston's history is thoroughly researched with descriptions of Brussels and the Belgian countryside making the setting for her depiction of the Battle of Waterloo. The vividly described battle as well as its approach and aftermath is a real page turner.
Not only for Regency romance fans, readers of historical fiction will enjoy it. It is a good read-alike for Mary Balogh’s Only a Promise and readers of Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon, a fantasy novel set in the Napoleonic wars.
Diana Tixier Herald, Booklist
One of the joys of writing historical fiction comes when you are able to fit the real history and real historical figures into the story. In writing Her Gallant Captain at WaterlooI had a lot of that sort of fun. Setting the book in Belgium before and during the Battle of Waterloo, how could I miss. I particularly enjoyed trying to fit the events of the battle into the story, but there was also the Duchess of Richmond’s ball for my characters to attend and, inevitably, the horrid aftermath of the battle. And anytime I can include the Duke of Wellington in a book, I’m happy.
Sometimes a historical figure fits in so well that he or she become a part of the story. In this book it was David Banes’s friend, William Lennox.
Lord William Pitt Lennox was the 5th son of the Duke of Richmond. As a youth he attended Westminster School, the perfect place for my character to befriend him. By 1814 he had a cornetcy in the army and was an aide de camp to the Duke of Wellington when the Duke was in Paris, the Netherlands, and at the Congress of Vienna after Napoleon’s first defeat and exile at Elba. When Napoleon escaped Elba and returned to France, a battle became inevitable, and no one but the Duke of Wellington could command the Allied army to face this foe. These two great generals had never faced each other in battle. The impending battle was considered the event of the century, not to be missed.
So in the late spring of 1815, Brussels filled with soldiers and civilians, including David Bane and his sister, Helene, who came to bring her brother home. William Lennox was now attached to General Maitland’s staff, but he suffered a riding accident, injuring his eye and General Maitland relieved him of duty. Because of his injury, he would not fight in the battle, which surely must have depressed him greatly.
It is known that the Duke of Richmond, William’s father, rode with Wellington the day of the battle and observed the fighting. It made sense that William would ride with him—and that gave my character, David, the opportunity to ride with them, putting him exactly where I wanted him—in the battle itself.
I love it when that happens.