Claire Banning fulfilled every debutante's dream when she married a rich nobleman. Soon, however, the celebrated beauty realizes she wed a dissolute wastrel. Bitterly hurt and desperately lonely, Claire vows nonetheless to take her expected place in society. Then on a journey home to her husband's estate on the coast of Sussex, she is abducted, and her life -- and her heart -- are changed forever.
Hugh Battancourt -- a dark and dangerous nobleman who long ago turned his back on the ton and now leads a life secretly dedicated to his country's service -- is determined not to be swayed by his prisoner's beauty as they share a cabin on a ship bound for France. Lives depend on his retrieving from her a letter full of secrets she intends to turn over to the enemy. But even as Claire and Hugh engage in a battle of wits and wills, captor and captive find themselves drawn irresistibly to each other. Is it possible, Claire wonders, that she could discover the true meaning of love that has eluded her with this handsome stranger? One who will lay his life on the line in order to protect her from someone who is intent on placing Claire in the path of danger?