In Victorian England, Anthony Fairchilde, the earl of Malvern, is tricked into a compromising position with a tradesman's daughter and must marry her to prevent a scandal. He's determined it will be a true marriage of convenience, but she's so unimpressed by his rank and yet so responsive in his bed, that she's soon the only woman he desires. Prudence Crump has dreamed of finding love, but faced with the threat of a scandal that will make her unfit for respectable employment, she's forced to agree to the earl's arrogant proposal. She's determined to keep her side of the bargain and not develop feelings for him, but he stirs surprising emotions within her. Prudence begins to hope for something more than a marriage of convenience, but first she must teach him that rank has responsibilities as well as privileges, and he must convince her that his love is real.