In THE CLAIMING OF THE
SHREW, Catarina Neves begged Benedict
Draven to marry her years before. She was desperate to escape an arranged marriage, and the
brave English soldier seemed her only choice. Now Catarina is in London to ask for an
annulment, but Benedict isn’t so sure he wants to give her up…
“Senhor. You have come, as you
“I’m a man of my word.” He moved forward, entering the
“You have met my sister?”
He looked back at Ines for a moment, but it was Catarina
who held his gaze. The younger sister said something in Portuguese. He knew a bit of the
language, but he wasn’t paying enough attention to translate. Then the younger sister exited
to the bed chamber and he and Catarina were alone.
They looked at each other for a long time. Finally, Catarina
said, “I will ring for tea.”
“There’s no need.”
“I know your customs. It is appropriate to serve a caller
“I’m your husband. I think we can dispense with the social
Her dark eyes flashed fire before she quickly lowered her
lashes. There was the temper he knew so well. She was attempting to control it for the
With a savage yank, she pulled the bell summoning a
servant. “So now you wish to acknowledge me as your wife.”
“I’ve never denied you.”
“Nor did you claim me. Do you know how long I waited for
you to return?” Her brows rose in challenge.
She’d waited for him to return? He hadn’t known that. He’d
always assumed she’d used their marriage to escape. Had she felt something for him?
Perhaps he wasn’t the only one who’d been affected by that kiss.
“If you waited—”
A knock on the door interrupted them, and Ines hurried out
of the bed chamber to answer. Benedict fell silent as the young woman ordered tea and cakes
before slipping back behind the door, where she was most certainly eavesdropping.
“Please sit down,” Catarina said, indicating the couch across
from her. “If I must look up at you for any length of time, my neck will ache.”
“I thought we were following convention.”
Her brow creased in a way he found quite adorable.
“I cannot sit until you do, Mrs. Draven,” he explained.
She gave him a withering look but took her seat. He
followed, sitting on the couch she’d offered him. They sat in silence for a moment, the sound
of the crackling fire the only respite. She was so lovely. When he’d first met her, there’d been
something wild and fierce about her beauty. Now she looked perfectly polished and
sophisticated. Only her eyes gave a hint that she was that same untamed woman he’d married
all those years ago.
The moment dragged on, as she too looked at him. He
wondered if she wished he were young and dashing. He cleared his throat and she shifted
restlessly. And then they spoke at once. “You look beautiful,” he said at the same time she
said, “I need an annulment.”
Silence descended like a shroud. He’d known an annulment
was what she wanted. He’d come willing to grant it to her. After all, the marriage wasn’t valid.
He’d never considered it so, but he understood that her religion was important to her. She
considered the marriage valid and could not in good conscience marry another man without
“You have papers for me to sign?” he asked.
Her eyes widened. “Yes.” She might have been surprised at
his easy acquiescence, but she didn’t let that forestall her. She jumped to her feet, forcing him
to rise as well, and collected a sheaf of papers that had been sitting on a side table. “I do not
have a pen,” she said, looking about distractedly.
“We can send a servant for one. Let me see them.” He held
out his hand. She gave them and took her seat again. He sat as well, looking over the request
to the Pope for the granting of the annulment.
But he could hardly focus on the words. His eyes kept
returning to Catarina. She sat nervously pleating her skirt. Was she nervous he would not sign
or nervous he would?
“You said you want to marry someone else.”
Her chin jerked up. “Yes.”
“Who is it?”
“No one you know, senhor.”
“Why don’t you ever call me Benedict?”
She blinked at him, her long lashes a veil. “I suppose
because I don’t feel I really know you, sen—Benedict.”
She didn’t know him, and he didn’t know her. Well, he knew
she had a temper. He knew she could be impulsive and stubborn and determined.
He knew her lips were like silk when he kissed them.
He’d come willing to grant the annulment. He
the annulment. She was young and at the very beginning of her life. He had already lived what
felt like two lifetimes. She’d only married him because she’d been desperate to escape the
abusive man her father had promised her to, and his name would give her protection.
She hadn’t wanted him. She did not want him. What could
she possibly want in a man old enough to be her father?
But how would he ever know if there could be something
more than desperation between them if he granted the annulment?
And was he hoping to be humiliated? That was exactly what
would happen when she laughed at the very suggestion of giving their marriage a chance.
Not that he was entertaining that suggestion.
“And you know this man you plan to marry?”
“I…I fail to see how that is any of your concern.”
Benedict narrowed his eyes. “That’s an unusual
“It would have been easier to say you know him well or you
love him. Why refuse to discuss it?” Why did he care? Why not sign the papers and let her go?
She rose, the skin of her neck coloring. “Because it is not
your concern.” The flush rose from her neck to her chin and her cheeks.
“I’m your current husband. I think my successor is my
“I knew you would make this difficult!” She extended her
arms wide. “Please just sign the papers!”
He raised a brow at her show of temper. She wanted this
badly, but something was not right. He had the same sensation now that he’d often felt when a
battle did not end in his favor. In battle, there was a point when he realized he’d been flanked
or the reserves would arrive too late or his enemy had a better position. At that moment, he
felt a wave of dizziness. It wasn’t enough to unseat him from his horse or make him stumble,
but it was enough to disconcert him.
Benedict felt dizzyingly disconcerted now.
“I still don’t have a pen,” he drawled.
Her expression turned from anger to fury, and he wondered
if she would throw something at him. He also wondered if she could possibly look more
ravishing than she did at this very moment. But before she could reach for the closest object,
a tap sounded on the door. Catarina smiled in triumph.
“Our tea. And very soon, a pen.”
She lifted her skirts, but Benedict held up a hand. “Allow
me.” He strode toward the door and opened it.
But a servant with a tea tray did not wait outside. Instead, a
man a few years his senior stood there. “You must be Colonel Benedict,” he said. Benedict
immediately recognized the Spanish accent.
“I am. And just who the hell are you?”
(C) Shana Galen, 2019
The Survivors #5
What happens when a marriage of convenience isn't so
Lieutenant Colonel Benedict Draven has retired from the army
and spends most of his days either consulting for the
Foreign Office or whiling away the hours at his club with
his former comrades-in-arms. He rarely thinks about the
fiery Portuguese woman he saved from an abusive marriage by
wedding her himself. It was supposed to be a marriage in
name only, but even five years later and a world away, he
can't seem to forget her.
Catarina Neves never forgot what it felt like to be scared,
desperate, and subject to the whims of her cruel father.
Thanks to a marriage of convenience and her incredible skill
as a lacemaker, she's become an independent and wealthy
woman. But when she's once again thrust into a dangerous
situation, she finds herself in London and knocking on the
door of the husband she hasn't seen since those war-torn
years in Portugal. Catarina tells Benedict she wants an
annulment, but when he argues against it, can she trust him
enough to ask for what she really needs?
Romance Historical [Author Self-Published,
On Sale: April 16, 2019, e-Book, ISBN: 2940156275854 / eISBN: 9781386078715]
How do you
solve a problem like Catrina?
Fast-paced, Adventurous Regency Romance
is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals,
including the RT Reviewers' Choice THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN. Booklist says, "Galen
expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion," and RT Bookreviews calls
her "a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre." She taught English at the middle and
high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in
Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who
is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.
Shana loves to hear from readers, you can reach on her Website or see what she's up to daily
on Facebook and Twitter.
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