Dane Redford Lambourne, now the fourth Earl of Huntsbridge, never thought to live a responsible, noble existence. Spending his nights as a privileged gentleman, carousing and enjoying the company of friends was the only life he ever aspired to until the sudden death of his brother thrust him into a world he never wanted and was not prepared to face. Lady Nichola Crawford could care less if the fabric of her new evening dress matched her shoes or if any of the men at the upcoming ball even looked in her direction. She would sooner stay in the country and scour her father's library than place herself on the marriage block to be picked at and prodded by the scant handful of ill-deserving men in London. But a chance meeting at a local confectioner shop is all it takes to set off sparks between the man who vowed no woman would ever get under his skin and the woman who would do anything to deny the love she felt for the Earl of her heart.