Since she was just out of the cradle, almost, Gregory Ward has had a disastrous effect on Eloise Kendall. Anything that could go wrong, would go wrong whenever the two would meet. So of course, when Eloise and her younger brother Jeremy are orphaned by the deaths of their parents, the siblings end up living with her youngish widowed cousin, the Dowager Lady Theadosia Deighton.
The only difficulty with this situation is that Gregory's uncle, Lord Threwsbury has the adjoining property. And Jeremy's best friend and constant companion is the earl's nephew and heir, Basil.
Gregory has been busily carving out a career for himself as a politician, and returns to his uncle's home with the Whig party whip, Colin Jamison. The two hope to raise funds for Gregory's next campaign.
Unexpectedly, however, love at first sight strikes both Colin and Thea, casting each into alternate bouts of exhilaration and despair. While trying to sort out these strange feelings, which neither have ever experienced prior to this experience, Gregory and Eloise are having their own battle of the sexes. They don't want to care for each other, but yet those amazing emotions keep erupting!
In other parts of the realm, the Luddites are beginning to make their feelings known, as well, but Gregory thinks the returning soldiers--now no longer needed--have a real complaint. And then a villain steps in, and kidnaps the wrong heir.