Sometimes it's better to say nothing, no matter how much your heart hurts...
"Pierce, unless you wish me to tell your mother and Lady Christobel about Mary in the village, and her eldest child, and the reason she was married off to the blacksmith in a rush —"
Oops. Melisande Eardley has a temper.
To save her family from scandal, innocent Melly agrees to a pretend engagement to a notorious rake. But he's a family friend, so Melly's convinced that Lord Linton is unfairly maligned, and that his reputation is mere ton gossip.
She hopes that's so, because she soon fears that she's becoming attached to Linton.
Randall Ward, Lord Linton, is determined to avoid a family feud between the Eardleys and the Wards. Although he's drawn to Melly's beauty and innocence, marriage isn't on his mind. He tells himself that a faux betrothal is necessary, because he's spiking the guns of Melly's sister, vengeance-loving Catherine Grove.
Neither Melly nor Linton is prepared when disaster strikes.