When Lily Chadwick, debutante and innocent maid, is kidnapped, drugged and auctioned to the highest bidder in a brothel, she little expected to be bought by Avenell, the Earl of Harte, a man she has made eye contact with at various events. A man who sets her blood on fire.
(Lily is one of three sisters whose dead father has left them in debt. They have come to London for the season, staying with their eccentric and fabulous great aunt Angelique, the Dowager Countess of Chelmsworth. Only recently have the sisters come to realize how huge that debt is. (Sisters Emma and Pippa have their own secrets and the stories about them are developing simultaneously).
Avenell's relationship with Madam Pendragon, owner of the brothel, has been one of long standing. She is privy to his secret--that touch causes him extreme pain. It was Madam Pendragon Avenell turned to for schooling in touch. She knows his Archilles' heel, so then why has he been invited to this most unusual happening? And why does he find the woman who sends a shaft of frisson through his body whenever he sees her, drugged and being ogled by some of the most decadent men of the city?
Avenell must rescue Lily before all is lost--and in doing so he becomes lost!
Lily must go beyond what is expected of a woman of her gentle background in order to reach the very soul of the man she has become enamoured with. But at what cost?
The healing of Avenell is a slow unfurling dance of heightened emotions and distraught advances. Lily comes into her own.
Sometimes a little too tortured, this was nevertheless an interesting addition to the Fallen Chadwick Ladies milieu.