George Pembroke, the Viscount Sedgewick, is a man bent on self-destruction. Even though it's been two years since his cherished wife died on childbed, George continues to rely on liquor to blunt his grief.
Worried about him and his children, George's sisters urge him to ask spinster Sally Spenser – a longtime family friend – to help care for his daughter and son. Sally's the perfect person. She's of high birth, has no money, and she adores his children. But George can't ask an earl's niece to become a servant! However. . .since he'll never love again, why not make Sally his viscountess? It would be a marriage in name only. For the children.
Sally's deep love of the children and fear that their father might marry an unfeeling stepmother that prompt Sally to agree George's proposal. Even though it will be unbearable living under the roof of the man she loves and knowing she can never have him.