Lady Marian Lawrence is in London to snare a rich husband to save her family from ruin - a difficult task given her biting wit and lack of beauty. Hiding her true self, Marian is about to win the wealthy and amiable Lord Darley - until the detestable Reginald Montague blocks their path to the altar. Reginald Montague has vowed to never marry and is determined to keep his bestfriend Darley from being snared by a fortune hunter.
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Scarred in a duel over a feckless female, Gavin Lawrence leaves America to take up his new duty as Marquess of Effingham, vowing to never again care for another woman. But lurking in the Marquess' crumbling manor is a young woman in terrible danger. The self-sufficient daughter of a soldier, Dillian Whitnell hides her injured cousin in the secret passages of Arinmede Manor following an attempt on their lives.
Though enchanted by the selfless beauty of a duke's granddaughter, Michael - a man of many names but none his own - has wisely kept his distance. But two years after the disastrous fire that brought Lady Blanche Perceval into his life, he is saddled with a lost, lying Irish waif and needs a woman's understanding aid. To his dismay, the generous lady he remembers now despises him for deserting her when she needed him most.
Neville Perceval, the bankrupt Duke of Anglesey, has been burdened since youth with more responsibility than one man should handle. He has finally accepted that he needs to marry a wealthy, gracious lady who will ease his burdens and smooth his political path. Fiona MacDermot, the rebellious, untamed cousin of an Irish earl, has the freedom and independence Neville has never known. Like the duke, she needs cash to help starving villagers and orphans. Unfortunately, she'd rather earn a living than have anything to do with useless men, and the politicians she knows all belong at the wrong end of a rope.