Returning home from France, Robina Melville finds surprises awaiting her, and not all of them pleasant. Almost immediately it becomes clear that the familiar surroundings of Trentham House are not the sanctuary that she hoped for, and she soon feels unwanted and alone. Still in mourning for her beloved mama and shocked by the changes in her father, Robina struggles to come to terms with all that she has lost. Alongside this, her stepmother, the new Lady Melville, seems intent on marrying off her to the wealthiest suitor, regardless of Robina?s wishes. A chance encounter with a childhood friend, the handsome new Earl of Hampton, provides Robina with employment as his secretary and a temporary escape from her stepmother?s clutches.But when Robina is forced to flee in order to avoid the unwanted attentions of Lord Drury, she finds herself at the mercy of the earl?s dissolute brother, Ellis.