Relentlessly pursued by match-making mamas and their charges, Simon Bassett, the handsome Duke of Hastings, has grown tired of the societal chase. Tired too is the lovely Daphne Bridgerton, whose matrimonially minded mother is set on finding her daughter the perfect husband.
Neither Simon nor Daphne is happy with this annoying state of affairs and both would give anything for a little peace and quiet. Their mutual wish for a respite from the ton’s marriage mart leads to a pretend engagement–a scheme that is threatened with exposure by Daphne’s suspicious older brother, who happens to know Simon’s way with women very well.
The two never anticipated that a mutual attraction would lead to the very thing they set out to avoid–a wedding. But Simon fears that his painful past may keep him from being able to truly love anyone. And though Daphne cares for him deeply, she won’t settle for anything less than his heart.