The spunky but uncommonly pea-brained heroine of Woodiwiss' new, endless, 640pp. bodice-ripper is raven-tressed Erienne Fleming--who, in 1792 Northern England, is about to be married off by her foul, gambling, boozing father. And when Erienne turns down suitor after suitor, then tries to run away, Papa Fleming decides to auction her off! So: will the buyer/husband be newly-arrived Yankee shipbuilder Christopher Seton, a gorgeous hunk who both enflames and infuriates Erienne? (He wounded her feckless brother in a duel.) No, it won't--because the highest bidder is mysterious, masked, lame Lord Saxton . . . who has just suddenly re-surfaced at the Saxton estate after supposedly surviving a nasty fire. Poor Erienne, then, winds up at the cold, drafty estate--still in nostalgic heat for Christopher, too repelled by Lord Leather-Mask to allow the marriage to be consummated. (While breathing heavily, Lord S. agrees to separate bedrooms--for a while, anyway.) And Erienne remains faithfully virginal--resisting advances from slimy Lord Talbot and from lascivious Christopher (who keeps showing up only--hint, hint--whenever Lord S. is not around). Finally, however, after a particularly on-the-verge wrestling session with persistent Christopher, Erienne decides to submit to kindly Lord S. at last--with spectacular soft-core-porn results . . . though it will then take another 100 pages or so before she starts figuring out that Christopher and Lord S. seem to have an odd interchangeability about them. (A dum-dum to the core, Erienne doesn't even get the right idea when she spots the same scar on both men's backs.) And in the last, anti-climactic section Erienne is abducted by--and rescued from--some Saxton-family enemies, who have forced Lord S. to become the vengeful, anonymous ""Night Rider."" In short (which is definitely not Woodiwiss' style): a dull, jaw-droppingly inane cross between Beauty and the Beast and The Adventures of Zorro--but a virtually pre-sold trade-paperback commodity nonetheless, considering the success of Ashes in the Wind, Shanna, etc.