Title: The Dictator’s Wife
Entry Nickname: Cuddles and Coups
Word Count: 82K
Genre: Adult Dark Romantic Suspense
A military dictatorship governs Britain, led by the First Lord of the Treasury, Julien St John Helmsley. Julien is charming, charismatic, and utterly ruthless, particularly towards the resistance group known as the Treaty.
Melanie Bonham, a member of the Treaty and enemy of the state, accepts her commanding officer’s orders for a deadly last stand. She must become the First Lord’s mistress, learn his secrets, and then assassinate him. Failure would mean torture, death, and vicious retaliation against the rebels, but success could restore democracy.
But Melanie has a secret. Before she faked her death and fled to the Treaty in disguise, she was Julien’s beloved but equally merciless wife. Instead of sneaking into the Regime’s stronghold as the Treaty expects, she makes a triumphant return as the long-lost First Lady, claiming the rebels have held her prisoner for years.
In love with the man she’s meant to kill and tempted by absolute power, “Melanie” must choose between freeing the country and breaking her heart or ruling at Julien’s side and losing her soul – before both sides seek to execute her as a traitor.
Alternating chapters jump backwards and forwards in time to tell the story of the idealistic build-up to the military coup and the brutal realities of its aftermath and to reveal why our rather unreliable narrator really left, why she’s really returned and where her true loyalties lie.
I became a triple-agent on the eighth anniversary of Britain’s military coup.
That morning, I strode into the Treaty’s underground control room and pushed through the crowd until I reached the resistance leader.
“Good of you to finally join us, Melanie.” Without another word, David set our hacked CCTV feed to show Somerset House. The elegant arches and columns of the Regime’s London headquarters formed a stark contrast to this utilitarian network of abandoned mines. I studied the soldiers guarding the archway and the helicopters hovering above the courtyard, but the larger-than-life portraits covering the façade demanded my attention.
Honour the First Lord ordered the painting on the left, which depicted a striking man in replica nineteenth-century military uniform. Remember the Eternal Blessed First Lady mourned its companion. My co-conspirators considered its subject a she-devil in life and their most high-profile victim in death.
“The Regime bombed Derby last week for supporting our cause. Yesterday, they wiped out an entire platoon. We need to stop the First Lord once and for all.” Years of outdoor living had given David muscles and a hearty glow. When he spoke, people listened.
I ignored him.
My eyes lingered on the second portrait until I was content the so-called Eternal Blessed First Lady’s curves, red lips and Dior gown bore no resemblance to my soldier’s body and weather-beaten face. Besides, the dictator’s wife had been famous for her Rapunzel curls, and I’d cropped my hair to the skull five years ago when I’d fled to the Treaty.