He is Damon Ryder (is there a Ryder series?) who falls for Gillie Giles a woman who has lived through the horrors of living in London's slums. She is in love (she thinks) with Lord Drummond, but accepts Damon's proposal because she thinks she's beneath Drumm's class. It's a wonderfully told love story, growing up story and happy ending for Damon and Gilly.
I just reread this book, many years after the original reading, and I forgot how good it is. Edith Layton was a superb writer, and she's not afraid to set up tricky situations. In this book, 3 different men are competing for the heroine's attention, and none of them are bad guys(the other 2 get to be heroes of other books), so at times it's touch and go who she will end up with. Great job delving into each character's motives, emotions and thought processes. The heroine has had some terrible experiences in her past, but she is by no means portrayed as a victim. She is strong and resilient, but still a bit immature at the start of the book. Her path to knowing who is the right man for her feels real and makes a compelling story.
I recommend the entire "C" series: The Cad, The Choice, The Chance, The Challenge and The Conquest(I think that is the correct order)
A lovely young woman whose ethereal beauty has enchanted the London ton, Miss Gillian Giles can combat a suitor's unwanted embrace with deadly efficiency. But her talent for self-protection can't help her stave off the most proper advances of one Damon Ryder, the Season's most eligible bachelor. Caught in a compromising position with himone that could irreparably ruin her reputationGilly is dismayed when Damon unhesitatingly offers marriage.
Most young ladies would be thrilled to land such a handsome, wealthy husband. Gilly, however, has a mind of her ownand more than a few secrets to hide. She believes marriage to Damon to be impossible, but Damon is equally determined to convince her otherwise. And if he isn't enough trouble, two other suitors, both charmingly irresistible, have now set their sights on winning her, too. Pursued by three devilishly persuasive men, how can the headstrong Gilly possibly resist falling in love?