Emilia “Mia” Carrington’s father created a scandal by openly romancing the Duchess of Pindar, while her husband was locked up in an insane asylum. Her father’s affair brought Mia frequently into the company of the Duchess’ son, Evander Septimus Brody, who young Mia developed a crush on. One fateful afternoon, having overheard Evander and some of his school friends ridiculing a foolish love poem Mia had written, she furiously declared that she would rather marry any man in the world before she chose him – words that would come back to haunt her.
Thirteen years later, Mia desperately needs a husband, because while she is unwed, she can never be granted guardianship of her young nephew, whose maternal uncle she deeply distrusts. Jilted by her fiancee at the altar, she only has a few weeks left to find someone, and resorts to blackmail to achieve her goal. While she may have sworn to marry anyone in the world rather than Evander Brody, now the Duke of Pindar, she has in her possession documents that accuse his late father of treason, which could lead to him being stripped of his title and most of his lands. She fully intends for their marriage to be in name only, all the needs is a powerful man to act as her husband until her nephew is safe, then she intends to take him far away, to the Continent, where they can live off the money she earns as a successful romance novelist.
Evander always hated his mother’s affair with Lord Carrington, and Miss Mia Carrington is an unwelcome reminder of their shared past. From the prim, unfashionable way she dresses, he assumes she’s become a missionary and seeks him out to collect donations of some variety. He’s flabbergasted when he finds himself blackmailed, but doesn’t really see a way out of his predicament, except by agreeing to her terms. Because Mia doesn’t tell him the real reason she needs a husband, Evander thinks she’s just become some crazy stalker, nursing her infatuation for him since she was a girl. He reluctantly agrees to marry her, but claims he will only sleep with her four nights every year.
When the couple actually find themselves married, Mia is shocked to discover Evander, though reluctant to go through with it in the first place, has no intention of seeking an annulment – he considers the union to be for life. Once he meets Mia’s crippled nephew, the two get on like a house on fire, and he starts to realise that he may have misjudged his new bride and her intentions somewhat. He’s vastly amused at her attempts to persuade him about their unsuitability and soon becomes determined to win her heart, for real this time.