If you must read Barbara Dawson Smith, I'd recommend Once Upon a Scandal, where the plot is much more consistent. Here, we are to believe that Alicia agrees to marry Drake in order to repay a family debt, but only on the condition that their marriage be a chaste one. He agrees. WHY? She doesn't have a penny's worth of leverage with which to bargain.
When they finally do consummate their marriage, we get no real explanation of the reasoning behind Alicia's change of attitude. Why has she decided to stop hating this man, and surrender her prized virginity to him?
Another thing that bothered me was that Drake was too perfect. For most of the book, no sooner did a thought pop into Alicia's head that he knew exactly what it was. That served no purpose except to constantly pull me out of the story to wonder if Drake was psychic. Who else in the world is that perceptive--especially if we are talking about men! Also, all along the story, most of the misapprehensions and errors of judgment belong to Alicia, while Drake sails along with the wisdom of a saint. And the only time he does regret his actions, it's not really made clear what exactly it is he wishes he hadn't done.
The only things that redeemed the book in my eyes were the passably humorous episodes with Alicia's mother, and the sub-plot with James and Sarah. I wish more had been written about their romance, as I thought it was the only part that didn't seem to have been written by a sixteen-year-old.