Bargain With the Devil by Jayne Castle
Every line of his face, from the deep-set eyes to the arrogant nose and harshly carved cheekbones, declared that this was a man who lived by his own rules. He hadn't come to Tuscon for his health. Hunter Manning wanted revenge.
Stacy Rylan looked into the eyes of the man who meant to ruin her father. She made a bargain--agreed to marry him if he would stop his threats. With a coolly possessive air that defied protest, his hands settled on her small waist and moved slowly upward. How could she go through with it? She despised him. His touch made her tremble with outrage--and desire!
This Candlelight Ecstasy Romance written by Jayne Castle (Jayne Ann Krentz) in 1981 shows its age in some places with the interactions and comments between the male and female characters. Hunter has waited fourteen years to get revenge on the man who took over his father's business, and apparently, his father's reason to live. He remembers going in and begging Mr. Rylan not to fire his father but was rejected and his father died a year later. Now, Hunter has a plan to bring the Rylan patriarch to his knees and he's going to enjoy every minute of it. The plan includes seducing Rylan's daughter-in-law, wife to the newly appointed company president.
Stacy sees the beginning salvo in Hunter's plan to turn Leanna's head and knows she must do something to protect her family. She offers herself up instead knowing that her father has pretty much given up on her ever doing what he wants her to do, and therefore mitigating the possible consequences of Hunter's revenge. Hunter accepts Stacy's plan with some terms of his own, an affair won't be enough--he wants marriage and for Stacy to become a Manning with all of her loyalty belonging Hunter.
While the overall premise was rather ridiculous, I still enjoyed many of the interactions between Stacy and Hunter (although not necessarily the one where he quasi-manhandles her on a public street believing she has just eaten lunch with ex-boyfriend--although it was fun to see him grovel when he realizes he is wrong). Stacy was a smart, independent woman who truly cared for her family and Hunter, while 80's style macho and butch, was rather sweet at times such as moving all of Stacy's plants to their new home or putting together her greenhouse when it was in a hopeless pile of pieces with indecipherable directions. Not my favorite JAK title but still a worthwhile read.
I purchased this book with my own funds.