Phillip Hawthorne, Marquis of Kayne, has his life mapped out before him. He is a responsible member of the peerage, and rumor has it he may become the next prime minister. And then the unthinkable happens - he literally runs into the woman from his past...Twelve years ago, Maria Martingale was the cook's daughter, and she fancied herself in love with Lawrence Hawthorne, the Marquis' younger brother. But then Phillip got wind of it and threatened to cut Lawrence off, unless Maria left. Refusing to be the cause of family strife, Maria agrees. Now she has run into Phillip, still as cold and ruthless as he had been on that day twelve years ago. He's concerned that Maria will ruin things for Lawrence and his impending marriage, so Phillip does the only thing he can think of to distract her - seduction. But he may get more than he bargains for when his heart begins to thaw and he realizes propriety isn't all it's cracked up to be.