Finally free after a desperately unhappy marriage, widowed Lady Dearing goes to a masquerade. She thinks it's just a lark, but matters turn serious when she kisses a costumed stranger who protected her from a drunken lout. Word leaks out, scandal escalates and she becomes the town's most infamous widow.
Shunned by society, she retreats to her country estate. Having no children of her own, she finds joy in caring for children she's taken in from London's Foundling Hospital. But every night, she is haunted by the memory of the gallant stranger, whose seductive voice and gentle touch awakened desires she'd thought long dead.
Two years later, Sir Jeremy Fairhill still hungers for the lady from the masquerade. She felt like his match, more than his saintly deceased wife, more than any of the respectable ladies his friends urge him to marry. Failing to find her, he throws his energies into the cause of the Foundling Hospital, where he serves on the Board of Governors. Hearing that a notorious woman has some of the foundlings in her charge, he is impelled to investigate. He has no idea that she is the lady he seeks, but soon his sense of honor is at odds with his dangerous passion for the elusive, alluring Lady Dearing.