Max St Albans, the Marquess of Rotherstone, is part of a secret group called the Inferno Club. Many believe members are just rakes, men that respectable ladies should avoid due to their reputations. But this is just a cover, for members have been sworn to defend England and the secrets about some scrolls found during the Crusades, as if they ever went into the wrong hands, disaster could strike. Now back from Waterloo after killing an assassin, he's back in London looking for a respectable bride who people adore to aid him being accepted back into society, something he's long desired. A friend sends him a list of potentially suitable brides, but it's Miss Daphne Starling who catches his eye. She has long been helping children at the orphanage on the rougher side of town, bringing them clothes and blankets, and trying to ensure they will not go down the wrong path. Her father, Lord Starling, and stepmother, want her to marry, but she is in no rush. She has refused many suitors, including Lord Carew, who happens to be Max's childhood enemy. Max spies on her doing her good deeds from a brothel window, but then she becomes in danger, and although he doesn't want to meet this way, knows he has to intervene. He pretends he's drunk, coming out of the brothel dishevelled, dropping money so the attackers take the bait. She runs off, but realises she cannot leave a drunk unarmed man alone, so she returns to find he's beating the hell out of them. Daphne realises he wasn't drunk at all and just wanted to help, but remembers he was in a brothel and this upsets her. Max sees her come back and is touched that she cared. He goes behind her back to ask her father if he can marry his daughter. Daphne is attracted to Max, but isn't happy he went behind her back and doesn't know why he wants her when they hardly know one another. Max doesn't tell Daphne he just wants to be loved and accepted at first, but over time, Daphne learns there is more to this marquess than meets the eye.
As well as Max and Daphne's courtship, we learn more of the history of the secret group Max is in, and how the other group, the Prometheans, the enemy from the Crusades, are still around causing trouble. He wants to keep her seperate from this, worrying how she'd react and how she may be in danger if she knew their existence.
Overall, the story was great, but I'd have to give it 3.5/5. It was alot to take in at the end, where you find out about Max's club and the Prometheans, and took a couple of reads to try to absorb. It seemed to stop the flow of the book, making it a little 'static.' Also, I noticed the editors printing wasn't up to scratch in some place, as they hyphenated a lot of words that don't have hyphens! Someone else mentioned this, and it is true. The story ends with the beginning of the second book in the Inferno Club series, focusing on the Earl of Warrington, which I'm starting today.
The story isn't Gaelen's best, but worth a read all the same.