Amid the silken swirl of ballgowns and the glitter of a thousand candles, no one at the French Court of Louis Napoleon (Napoléon III, born Charles Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte) guessed that the notorious Lady Thorne was really the young and inexperienced shopgirl Valetta Finch. Fate had given the English cousins the same devastating beauty, and it was Lady Thorne's idea to have Val replace her in society, while she slipped away with her Parisian lover.
The daring masquerade, however, soon swept Val toward heartbreak. For in her first tempestuous meeting with Captain Alec Drummond, she had melted into his stormy gray eyes, enraptured by the sensuous thrill of his bold embrace. But Captain Drummond despised what he thought was the easy virtue of Lady Thorne.
Valetta's innocent heart now was commanded by longing for a man who disdained her. She endured her despair for the moment when her Captain's undeniable love would conquer his mistaken pride.