Benjamin King never yet met a woman he couldn’t charm. Until he strides into the village of Hatherden under an assumed name and meets the Viscountesses Dunstan. Not one of the three is captivated by his winning ways. Ben, though, needs to ingratiate himself into the family as he believes proof of a significant inheritance due him is located in their home. To his surprise and good fortune, he recognizes the youngest viscountess as a childhood friend. Ben proposes they enter into a fake courtship so he can search the house.
Harriet Rutledge, the widowed Lady Dunstan, chafes under the strictures of the guardian of her young son and her mother-in-law. Though she must tread carefully where they are concerned, she agrees to help her old friend. However, under no circumstances will she pretend to be courted by him. Harriet suggests a different ruse to enable Ben to find what he’s looking for.
Amidst late-night searches, the two discover unfettered passion, and perhaps something more. But for Hattie, the risk of loving a young rogue comes with a steep price. Ben is willing to make sacrifices for his lady’s heart, but can he prove to Hattie that the cost of love is always worthwhile—when shared?
Content warning: brief physical abuse