When famed London courtesan Alessandra Northrope passes away, her daughter Celia Pennifold inherits little more than a hopelessly contaminated reputation, a house in a middle class neighborhood, and an education that prepared her to take her mother’s place the way Alessandra intended. Celia hopes to make her own life on her own terms, however, and moves into the house only to discover one more legacy—an enigmatic, handsome tenant who knows her mother’s plans for her future rather too well. It does not help that Jonathan Albrighton’s mere presence creates delicious excitements that remind her of the thrilling pleasure that Alessandra taught her to arouse in others and enjoy herself. When new claims on her mother’s estate threaten her hold on the property, she is forced to fulfill her deathbed promise to Alessandra—to give fair consideration to the future for which she was trained. Unfortunately, she discovers that the only man with whom she really wants to share the secrets of her erotic education is unsuitable for a role in any future she might claim.
Jonathan thinks he is on a simple mission to discover whether Celia’s mother left accounts of her lovers that might embarrass important men. Instead he finds himself embroiled in a mystery full of dangerous betrayals and secrets, old and new, that touch on his life as well as Celia’s. The chamber that he leases in Celia’s home becomes convenient for protecting her, but their proximity only fuels his desire to seduce the radiant, beautiful woman she has become. With his first touch and stolen kiss, he decides that she will have no lover except him, whether she considers him suitable or not.