Erienne Fleming despairs for her future. Her father, Avery, mayor of their small town in the north of England, is awash in gambling debts. Her brother has been maimed in a foolish duel for the family's honor. It is Avery's intent to pay his debts and secure his and his son's futures by marrying off Erienne to a wealthy suitor, to which end he brings home an endless stream of aged and infirm, albeit wealthy, gentlemen. But the proud and beautiful Erienne will have none of them. Finally, Avery simply decides to sell her to the highest bidder. The only man barred from the auction is Christopher Seton, the handsome Yankee captain who wounded her brother, and with whom Erienne, against her will, is falling in love.
Erienne is sold to the mysterious Lord Saxton, a sinister figure who wears a black mask to cover the hideous scars left by a fire that burned down his family mansion. At first she is terrified of him, unable to give herself to him. Her terror of her husband only sharpens her longing for Christopher, a passion she struggles fiercely to deny.
But her private dilemma is pushed aside when panic sweeps the town as the Night Rider, a demonic figure with a silver saber, begins a murderous rampage to avenge the burning of Saxton Hall. When Christopher is seriously wounded, Erienne, tenderly ministering to him, discovers an astonishing secret that will threaten the future of the Saxton line itself and will put her own life in grave danger.