Elias Shelton, the Duke of Winsdale, has a duty to produce an heir. Completely indifferent, he leaves his mother to invite all the most suitable candidates to a house party at Winsdale Park, promising to choose one of them as his duchess. Returning home after several days of pre-nuptial carousing, Eli falls from his horse and badly injures his head. His life is saved by a mysterious woman who fascinates and enthrals Eli.
Athena Defoe and her young twin sisters are hiding from their past in a tumbledown cottage on Eli’s estate. Athena refuses to place her trust in Eli, but he is equally determined to repay her by protecting her. To do so he must first discover what or whom she is so afraid of. With attention focused on her by the duke’s interest, Athena’s whereabouts becomes known and danger visits her quiet corner of Hampshire.
Caught up in the whirl of his mother’s entertainments, Eli must race against time to save the woman he’s fallen in love with, even if she isn’t duchess material…