'He will father your children...' When Catriona Hennessy, honourable Scottish Lady of the Vale, receives this prediction, she is exceedingly vexed. How can she unite with a rake like Richard Cynster - a masterful man with a scandalous reputation? More shocking still is her guardian's will that decrees that she and Richard be wed within a week! Though charmed by his commanding presence, and wooed by his heated kisses, she will not - cannot - give up her independence. So, she forms a plan to get the heir she needs without taking wedding vows. Richard is just as stunned by the will's command. Marriage had not previously been on his agenda, but lately he's been feeling rather...restless. Perhaps taming the lady is just the challenge he needs. But can he have the rights of the marriage bed without making any revealing promises of love?