Sterling Baxter, the Earl of Merritt, has married the woman his father has chosen for him, but the marriage has been anything but comfortable. Sterling?s wife, Lady Claire, came to the marriage bed with a wanton?s experience. She dutifully provides Merritt his heir, but within a fortnight, she deserts father and son for a baron, Lord Lyall Sutherland. In the eyes of the ton, Lady Claire has cuckolded Merritt.
Ebba Mayer longs for love and adventure. Unfortunately, she?s likely to find neither. As a squire?s daughter, Ebba holds no sway in Society, but she?s a true diamond of the first water. Yet, when she meets Merritt?s grandmother, the Dowager Countess of Merritt creates a ?story? for the girl, claiming if Ebba is presented to the ton as a war widow with a small dowry, the girl will find a suitable match.
Lord Lyall Sutherland remains a thorn in Merritt?s side, but when the baron makes Mrs. Mayer a pawn in his crazy game of control, Merritt offers the woman his protection. However, the earl has never faced a man who holds little strength of title, but who wields great power, and he finds himself always a step behind the enigmatic baron. When someone frames Merritt for Lady Claire?s sudden disappearance, Merritt must quickly learn the baron?s secrets or face a death sentence.