This book starts off telling the story of two lovers very passionately in love. These two lovers are the Merricks - the mother and father of the two brothers and sister that are the focus of this series. Unfortunately, the father changes and through his treachery and evilness, their lives are ripped apart. Through the father's actions, his sons are later imprisoned. He bails out his eldest son, Ashton, who then spends his days trying to raise enough money to purchase his brother's freedom - since his father has failed to do so.
In an effort to raise money, Ashton goes on a mission to find and escort his father's young ward to him. The circumstances he finds her in and the young woman herself stir Ashton's emotions and he finds himself strongly attracted to her. The more he learns about her, the more Ashton is torn between doing his father's bidding to get the money he needs to free his brother, or keeping the young ward for himself.
The young ward has plans of her own. Having built a life for herself, she's none too happy about being escorted to a guardian that she doesn't know and being forced to give up the life she has built for herself. She's both repelled and strongly drawn towards Ashton whom she doesn't understand. To make matters worse, she doesn't understand the dark world of the Merricks nor their strange behavior towards one another. She becomes even moreso troubled when she meets Ashton's father and begins to glimpse the evil side of him.