When the most eligible Earl of Rule offers for the hand of the Beauty of the Winwood Family, he has no notion of the distress he causes his intended. Miss Lizzie Winwood is promised to the impoverished Edward Heron but the Earl of Rule wants her as his wife. Lizzie's sister Horatia conceives a dazzling plan to avert a nuptial disaster, and offers herself instead.
When dazzling Horatia married the powerful Earl of Rule, she was only saving her sister from a loveless match, rescuing her family fortune, and providing herself with a life of ease. Hers was a marriage made not in heaven but in the coolly logical mind of a very self-possessed young lady. Everyone knows she's no beauty, but she'll do her best to keep out of the Earl's way and make him a good wife.
Not until Horatia was deep in dangerous intrigue with her husband's vengeful rival, the dashing and arrogant Lord Lethbridge, did she suddenly find -- to her own tremulous surprise -- she had fallen deeply in love with the man she had married for money. But was it too late, now that she was but a heartbeat away from betraying both him and herself? And then, Sir Robert, sets out to ruin her reputation...
The Earl of Rule has found just the wife he wants, unbeknownst to Horatia, the Earl is enchanted by her. There's simply no way he's going to let her get into trouble. Overcoming some misguided help from Horatia's harebrained brother and a hired highwayman, the Earl routs his old enemy, and wins over his young wife, gifting her with a love that she never thought she could expect.