Oliver Sharpe, Marques of Stoneville, has been playing the role of rakehell for nearly twenty years. Seeing him and his siblings spiral downward, their grandmother, Hester, threatens to disinherit them all if they don't straighten out their lives and settle marry within the next year. Outraged, Oliver devises a plan to hire a woman from a brothel to pose as his fiance and prove to Hester that she cannot force his hand. So, when he meets Maria Butterfield, an American woman who is searching for her fiance in the most unlikely of places, he knows she's perfect for his ruse. But before long, he finds himself willing to risk anything to make her his - even his heart, and the dark secret he hides inside it.