The Earl of St. Merryn needs a woman. His intentions are purely practical - he simply wants someone sensible and suitably lovely to pose as his betrothed for a few weeks among polite society. He has his own agenda to pursue, and a false fiancée will keep the husband-hunters at bay while he goes about his business. The easiest solution is to hire a paid companion. However, finding the right candidate proves more of a challenge than he expected - until he encounters Miss Elenora Lodge. Her dowdy attire and pinned-up hair cannot hide her fine figure and the fire in her golden eyes. And her unfortunate circumstances, and dreams of a life of independence, make the Earl’s generous offer undeniably appealing. But Elenora is unsure what this masquerade might entail. For St. Merryn is clearly hiding a secret or two, and things seem oddly amiss in his gloomy Rain Street home. She is soon to discover that his secrets are even darker than his decor, and that this lark will be a far more dangerous adventure than she’s been led to believe. And Arthur, Earl of St. Merryn, is making a discovery as well: that the meek and mild companion he’d initially envisioned has become, in reality, a partner in his quest to catch a killer - and an outspoken belle of the ball who stirs a wild passion in his practical heart.