Miles Redmond, the second son of the wealthy Redmond family of Pennyroyal Green, has his family's dark good looks, the cool, studious demeanor of the scientist he is - and formidable sensual talents, which he discreetly and enthusiastically shares with the ton's aristocratic widows. But the very notion of 'love' and its side effects - poetry, idiocy, obsession - amuses him. When it doesn't bore him. Which is why he's blindsided when Cynthia Brightly- the dazzling, slightly scandalous, ambitious and all-but-penniless belle of the season - manages to steal his heart at a ball only to break it minutes later with words he wasn't meant to hear: 'Miles Redmond? Why should I settle for a dour second son when I can have an earl?'.The tables turn two years later when Miles becomes the Redmond heir and Cynthia arrives in Pennyroyal Green trailing a whiff of scandal and a hint of desperation only Miles senses. His mocking offer to help her husband hunt from the lords on hand - as Redmond heir, Miles couldn't possibly marry her - evolves into an incendiary passion that upends their notions of love, duty and ambition.