If ever there was a woman who was more than a match for Sharpe, it was Teresa Moreno. Far from being some damsel in distress, Teresa was every bit as brave as any of Sharpe's chosen men. In fact, this Spanish partisan warrior was downright dashing, cutting quite a figure as she galloped on horseback to take the fight to the French. Never mind her dusky beauty and uncanny elegance amid the dirt and sweat of the Peninsular War - what really set Teresa apart was her charisma and swagger. Even Sharpe had to swoon.
The pair first met when Sharpe was sent on a treacherous mission (is there any other kind?) to rescue a member of the wealthy Rothschild family. He ran into Teresa's group of militants, and before long they had succumbed to each other's cocky charms. And "cocky" is definitely the right word - Teresa's tongue was as quick as her reflexes, and she could outwit any fools who cross her path.
Unfortunately, one such fool had a homicidal bent: the odious Obadiah Hakeswill. Sharpe's twitchy, crazed nemesis, Hakeswill set his sights on Teresa, who'd by then given birth to Sharpe's daughter, and he eventually murdered her. In a heartbreaking moment, Teresa died in Sharpe's arms. "Please don't go," he begged. "You never stopped me from doing what I must do," the dying Teresa replied. "That's why I loved you so much." Not a dry eye in the house.
Sometimes Sharpe is just too charming and seductive for his own good. He should have left Jane Gibbons well alone - she was the niece of the awful Sir Henry Simmerson, a pompous aristocrat and war profiteer who meddled in the lives of men embedded in the war against Napoleon. Simmerson was one of Sharpe's great foes - so much so that Sharpe felt like he had to rescue his poor, bullied niece Jane from his influence. How? By marrying her.
Bad move. While Jane seemed like a sweet enough match at first, it soon became clear she had a serious distaste for the military life. Which is a bit of an issue when your husband is a rugged man of action immersed in a titanic European conflict. Sharpe then made the mistake of giving her legal control of his finances, and soon she was off on a rampant spending spree in England, with brazen disregard for Sharpe's situation.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Jane then threw herself into a fling with a cowardly spendthrift named Lord Rossendale, who made short work of her income. Estranged from a (justifiably) enraged Sharpe, Jane went from bad to worse over time, her social disgrace adding to her bitterness. All in all, Cupid was really having an off-day when he matched Jane and Sharpe up.
Why is Lady Anne Camoynes on this list? After all, Sharpe was never in love with her, and it's doubtful whether Lady Anne herself had enough tenderness in her heart to even be capable of such sentimental silliness as "love". But they made such an exciting, enjoyable match that Lady Anne has to count as one of the unforgettable ladies in his life.
Coldly beautiful, aloof and imperious, Lady Anne was a femme fatale swanning about in the elite ranks of English society. Yet all was not well behind the perfect façade. Her late husband's debts meant she was forced into virtual prostitution to a certain Lord Fenner, and teaming up with Sharpe to expose Fenner's corruption was her way out of it.
Naturally, her alliance with Sharpe required plenty of rolling about in the sheets, and later on she would reappear to tease him about Jane's extra-marital dalliances. Well, that's what you get for playing with a woman as formidable as Lady Anne - and Sharpe learnt his lesson.
Lucille was arguably the love of Sharpe's life, even more so than Teresa. And how did he meet her? Perhaps they were introduced by mutual friends, or maybe they locked eyes across a crowded ballroom? No: they met when she shot him after mistaking him for one of her brother's killers. Now that's a story to tell the grandkids.
Sharpe had entered Lucille's world while trying to clear his name, after being framed for the theft of French treasure. Lucille's brother was a key witness who could prove Sharpe's innocence, but was bumped off by the baddies before Sharpe could find him. Instead, Sharpe wound up meeting sister Lucille, and was promptly almost killed for his troubles. Luckily, he didn't hold that against her, and they fell in love as he recuperated.
Sleeping with a French woman? Fraternizing with the enemy? Well, you know Sharpe: he follows his heart, even if it raises eyebrows. While Lucille shared Jane's reservations about his military career, she had the significant benefit of not being a cold, adulterous, thieving witch-lady, and the pair enjoyed a romance that overcame the odds. Adorable.