The Captain, the Courtesan and the Queen
Gabrielle Cheney has been the consort of some of the most powerful men in 16th century Paris. But now she's set her sights on perhaps the most powerful of all, Henry, the Huguenot king of Navarre. By allying herself with Henry, Gabrielle hopes to one day be a power behind the throne.
Catherine de Medici currently holds Henry hostage and until he is free of the Dark Queen, Henry has little choice but to bide his time. Even more formidable a foe to Gabrielle's plan is Captain Nicolas Remy.
Once upon a time a younger and more innocent Gabrielle fell in love with Nicolas Remy. When he disappeared from her life - Nicolas was presumed killed in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew's Day - Gabrielle created a new existence. His reappearance complicates her life practically and emotionally and though she's glad to know he's not dead, Gabrielle wishes he were anywhere but here.
Rich in detail and characterization, The Courtesan by Susan Carroll is a nice mix of history and romance, with a little magic thrown in. And though it is the middle book in the Fair Isle trilogy, it is easily read as a standalone.