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Barbara Delinsky. Grand Central Publishing, $7.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-446-35945-0

Delinsky's ( Heart of the Night ) new tale demonstrates that even when revenge isn't sweet, it still makes palatable reading. Writer Hillary Cox has been exceptionally patient and discreet during her 27-year affair with mining and jewelry magnate John St. George, a man who is, as they say, not the ``marrying kind.'' Thus, when John announces on television that he has become engaged to another woman, Hillary's thoughts turn to equally public revenge: she decides to write a biographical expose of his personal and business life. John's much younger half-sister, Pamela, readily acknowledges that he's ``arrogant, self-centered, despotic, and sly.'' She tries, however, to dissuade Hillary from her plan, hinting that she has more subtle schemes afoot for John's destruction. But the scorned woman forges on, learning that the man for whom she harbors an obsession has a loathsome history of blackmail, theft, heartless seduction, attempted incest and physical violence. Delinsky's story holds up to the last--instead of settling for melodramatic soap opera, she opts for a much less neat but more realistic ending. (Nov.)