Born in India, Carolyn Rydell moves her shipping business to London. Although she is exotically beautiful and wealthy, her late husband's aristocratic family rejects her because of her profession and heritage. Feeling increasingly isolated, Caro uses work as a shield against loneliness. Then she finds an injured man floating in the Thames - and the pattern of her life changes.
The injured man is Lord Lucien Harlington. The youngest son of a marquess, Luke is accused of seducing and abandoning a young lady. Disgraced and estranged from his family, he tries to live down to others' expectations. But now he's become disgusted with his dissolute lifestyle and longs to start anew. To do so, however, he must find his missing legacy - a cache of jewels.
Luke's innate kindness and golden good looks spark Caro's desire, but she fears he's attracted to her money and not herself. For his part, Luke finds his rescuer fascinating and wants more than the friendship she offers.
Surrounded by greed, bigotry, and betrayal, Caro and Luke try to discover the passion and love that will complete the patterns of their lives.