Elizabeth and Mary Spencer, each has their sight set on a particular gentleman—one forbidden, one damaged.
Edward Worthington, Marquess of Amesbury, is haunted by his past. After his entire family dies in a tragic carriage accident, where he is the only survivor, he partakes in disreputable behavior to deal with his loss. Upon making Elizabeth's acquaintance, his heart awakens. Knowing he will never be worthy of her, he proposes anyway. Will Elizabeth take him as he is or will she beg off upon learning of his secrets?
Elizabeth fell in love with Amesbury at the beginning of her second Season. When he proposes she knows her happily-ever-after is within reach, or so she thinks. During a masquerade ball she overhears a conversation between Amesbury and a woman from his past. Elizabeth is beyond broken inside. When she agrees to give him the opportunity to explain, she is torn between the transgressions of his past and her withering heart.
Mr. Smythe, a Bow Street Runner, captures Mary's heart when they first meet at the beginning of the Season. While on holiday, at the Marquess of Amesbury's country estate, Mary is caught in a compromising position with him. Her brother, Spencer, against her wishes, decides to betroth her to a member of the tonas soon as possible, as Mr. Smythe will not do. Time is of the utmost urgency if they are to get ahead of the gossipmongers and save Mary from ruin.
Mr. Smythe knows loving the granddaughter of a countess will come to a painful and heartbreaking end. It doesn't stop him from taking the risk. A risk he loses. Members from the upper-class do not marry from the lower-class. Nor do they marry a man hired to keep them safe from highwaymen. How unfortunate Mary and Smythe's hearts do not follow society's strict rules.