Hugo, the Duke of Wynchester enjoys many affaires de coeur and his latest lover, the beautiful but scheming and spoilt Olive Lady Brandon, is trying to blackmail him into marriage by forcing her husband to divorce her.
Storming angrily from her house, Hugo finds a strange stowaway aboard his carriage. It transpires that this frail elfin beauty is none other that Janeta Brandon, Olive’s step-daughter, and that she is fleeing the marriage her stepmother has arranged to an old man known to beat not only his servants and horses but also his late wife.
When the Duke realises that Janeta means to kill herself rather than face a loveless marriage, he is struck by a cunning way to rescue them both by announcing their ‘engagement’.
They are then married in a quiet ceremony in the Duke’s private Chapel.
It is only when Janeta saves him from death by poisoning by the hand of her stepmother that the Duke realises that he has been in love with her from the moment he first saw her.
But surely the scorned Olive’s fury will ensure their love is doomed before it can blossom.