In 1887 San Francisco, Claire Aldrich finds herself running short of funds. After her elderly employer passed away in Cincinnati, Claire ventured to San Francisco to find her brother, Donald, her only living relative. A twist of fate brings Claire to the Landauer Hotel where she seeks to find employment. But the part owner of the hotel, banker Garrett Monroe, meets Claire and finds her the perfect solution to his dilemma.
With his grandmother's failing heart, Garrett feels a duty to succumb to her pressure to get married. If Claire will agree to pose as his fianc, he will hire a private investigator to locate her missing brother. Having no desire to marry, Garrett is surprised at the feelings that Claire seems to awaken in him. While she is staying with his grandmother at his home on Nob Hill, Garrett finds it difficult to stay away from her and decides that he would like to make her his mistress when their charade is concluded. But Claire will be no man's mistress, even as she fights not to be swayed by Garrett's powers of seduction.
Claire was looking for her lost brother. Garrett offered her a place to stay, food, and money to hire and investegator to look for her brother if she just played the part of the attentive fiance.