After being discovered in a compromising situation, Lilith was hustled off to her aunt in Italy, where she eventually became accustomed to the fact that not only did her lover not intend to make her an honest woman, but that she would never be able to contract a respectable marriage with any honorable man.
So after her aunt's death, Lilith decides to defy society's rules and use her inheritance to run a gambling establishment. This is where she is finally confronted with her former lover, Gabriel, now an earl who is attempting to persuade Parliament to outlaw gambling.
As much as they are now on entirely opposite sides, both Gabriel and Lilith discover that the feelings they had for each other are as strong as ever, in spite of the passing of ten years and much bitterness on both sides. But Lilith's reputation--certainly not improved by her position as mistress of a gaming establishment--has gone too far for her ever to be accepted as an earl's wife, and Gabriel will have her no other way.
As with Ms. Smith's other books, I found myself glued to the pages of this one. Nevertheless, I don't give it a five-star rating because I was NOT impressed with Gabriel's "excuses" for allowing Lilith to bear the blame and the scandal for their affair. In a time when young women had little or no control over their lives, he was a young man who could have made it right. The fact that he considered his father's tragedy to be more important than the woman he loved rather diminished his character, in my opinion. How HE could have nursed any bitterness at all toward HER was simply incredible to me. Nor did I care for the casual way it was suggested that Lilith had indulged in affairs with other men in the past, no matter how few.
Overall, however, reading this book was a rare pleasure, and I heartily recommend it.