The reissue of this 1995 tale by award-winning author Jennifer Blake comes packaged beautifully from the romance classics line of Sourcebooks. In antebellum Louisiana, heiress Angelica Cardew awakes from a steamboat accident with her father and fiancé among the casualties and herself married to a man who she remembers trying to rape her aboard ship. As she pieces her new life together, she keeps her mysterious husband at bay by verbal dueling and enlisting the help of his household and relatives. She discovers his plot to gain possession of Bonheur, a plantation her gambler father won from her new husband’s stepfather, who subsequently committed suicide.
Renold soon realizes his growing feelings for his new wife but had been burned by the mother of his 10-year-old son, who refused to wed him because of his own illegitimacy. As Angelica becomes the victim of violence at Mardi Gras and a kidnapping plot, he fights to win her as his true wife. When her father and fiancé make an appearance at her second wedding celebration, Angelica must choose between her devil and the menfolk who prove themselves not quite what they seemed.
The set pieces of this Beauty and the Beast tale are in place, but there are many lengthy mind games and bloodless analyzing between bursts of well-written action and love scenes.