Chloe is returning to London after five years of finishing school in Paris. Her mother, Olivia Barton, is delighted her daughter is coming home, but worried as well since her gaming house is not the proper place from which to launch a young lady into polite society.
The lively Chloe is very grateful for all her family has done for her and is happy to be coming home, but she returns with a secret. During her time in Paris she entered into a clandestine engagement with Armand du Vaudriel, a young French nobleman, and his family does not approve of the match.
Introducing her daughter to the ton is not the only complexity Olivia faces. When the lofty Duke Ashton begins to frequent her gaming establishment, an undeniable attraction develops between them despite the difference in their social standings. Between his meddling sister and the fact that Olivia doesn't know if her husband, who disappeared the day after their marriage, is alive or dead, she fears she will never have a second chance at love and happiness.
When Chloe is kidnapped by the lecherous Lord Sherford, Olivia turns to the duke as the only person she knows who is capable of saving her daughter. Together with Chloe's fiancé, they set out on a race against Sherford to the border of Scotland to rescue Chloe.
Unbeknownst to the duke's party, Armand's mother has also joined the chase under the mistaken idea her son has eloped with Chloe. She is determined her darling son will not marry such a socially inferior girl and is intent on stopping the elopement.
When these divergent parties converge on the small posting-town of Grantham, all secrets are laid bare, including the whereabouts of Olivia's long lost husband. The resolution of these issues will determine if Chloe is allowed to marry her Armand, and if Olivia gets a second chance at love.