Revenge Wears Rubies by Renee Bernard 426
Galen Hawke survived months in a sahib's prison while in India and he survived on tale's of his friend John's sweetheart back home, Haley Moreland. He and several of his fellow English captives manage to escape but on the harrowing journey back to civilization John passes away and exacts a promise from Galen that he will take care of Haley. Galen is furious to return to England and find that Haley is engaged to another man less than a year after she discovered her lover had died. He knows that this supposedly innocent miss is nothing but a fortune hunter who has latched herself onto a rich industrialist despite his inferior breeding and uncouth manners. He has been aimless ever since he got back but Haley gives him something to work towards- he needs to get revenge for John and ruin the young lady who wasted no time getting over him. Haley is not at all happy to have the weight of her family's financial ruin placed on her shoulder, but she knows her duty and that is why she has agreed to married Mr. Herbert Tumble.
When Galen gains an introduction to Haley both are immediately smitten, but Galen is still determined to prove that she is heartless. Haley realizes that she does not want to live her entire life without having known true passion, so despite her misgivings and the realization that she will have to marry Tumble, she embarks on a wild and reckless affair with Galen. They are not long into it before Galen has misgivings about his plan to ruin Haley and begins to search for reasons why he should not ruin her. It does not take Haley long to realize that she is desperately in love with Galen and she knows she must call off her ill fated wedding. But the time that Galen and his friends spent in that dungeon in India is coming back to haunt them as they had discovered a treasure room before their escape that members of the East India Company would literally kill to discover the whereabouts of it. Added to that, Galen's brother becomes deathly ill just as Haley discovers that Galen's intentions had not been honorable from the start. Galen must try to fight off the madmen who want him dead and gain back the love of the woman he may have lost forever.
From the outset it is obvious that Galen and Haley are very attracted to each other, but beyond that there really was not all that much to show a true emotional relationship between the two of them. There were not even the token reflections on the others' spirit or goodness or whatnot. The time these two spent together was almost entirely devoted to sex or at least double entendres that alluded to sex. Also there was some rather annoyingly witty and short banter between the two of them. However the sex, while plentiful, is very rarely hot, and really goes on for far too long and even I found myself wanting to just kind of skip through it. Literally- I believe the scene where she finally lost her virginity went on for 30 pages. Galen was so single minded in his pursuit of revenge against Haley in the beginning and I am happy to say that at least that was understandable as it finally gave him something to live for since his life had been a little empty since his return. Haley was quite the martyr as she sacrificed herself at the altar of marriage to save her family, and I loved that she had a little spunk and went out there and got some for herself.
However, I was able to see Michael as he grew from being bitter and suffering from some severe post-traumatic stress disorder to a man who finds a woman who can finally help him sleep through the night. The plot involving the treasure room and the East India Company really only hovers in the back ground for the majority of the book which suited me fine. Although more interesting than conspiracies involving books, I just tend not to go for big mystery-murder plots in general in my romance novels. However, as this is a part of what proves to be a much longer series (The Jaded Gentleman) based on the romances of all the survivors out of India, it is not entirely resolved and probably will not be until the end of the last in the series. I was a little surprised that the horrors the endured in India were really only alluded to in a very brief way, although it was probably for the best as i didn't really need to read them to understand what had happened.
Rating: The sex took over the book and it was not even all that good. I loved her last offering, but I have to give this two hearts.