Heroine is engaged to plain-looking but wealthy industrialist whom she doesn't love. She's marrying him for money due to her alcoholic father's huge bebts & their dire financial straits in exchange for his gaining a title & loftier social position through her. Hero is bent on seducing heroine from her clueless fiance in order to publicly humiliate her to avenge her 1st fiance. Hero believes that she callously pushed aside her 1st fiance, who was one his of co-prisoner in India & who professed undying love for her until his last breath, to marry her current one for money. But the more Hero gets to know heroine, the more attracted he is with her & the more evidence accrued that she is not what he originally thought she was. However, he doesn't confess his ruse until it's too late.
What I find interesting about this Bernard book is that it appears like its a good one but only delivers a mediocre attempt at one. The writing, for example, is descriptive but it lacks enough substance to pull me in the story. The writing is also inconsistent. It switches from 1800 language to a contemporary one. And, although I've seen this done quite a bit by other authors, this one distracted me enough from my reading flow to notice it. Another odd thing about this book are the sex scenes. They were graphically described (WARNING: back-door action included) & filled quite a few pages but they were strangely not sexy enough to involve my full attention. There was something about the writing that was distancing.
Story-wise, I liked the heroine's character, with her creative survival skills, fortitude, & honesty. I didn't like that she cheated on her fiance, even though it was a marriage of convenience. She should've broken off their engagement after she shared some kisses with Hero & before she slept with him. The Hero in this book was charming & had a conscience but he was a bit off. He was obsessed (with revenge), deceitful, & manipulative but did it with a seductive flair. His determination to avenge his deceased friend by seducing & humiliating his friend's love didn't make sense & made Hero seem very immature & nutty.