Ava and Phoebe Fairchild and their cousin Greer, popular young ladies of the ton, discover they're destitute when their mother dies. Their stepfather has absconded to Paris with their fortune, leaving them with a miserly stipend and under the watchful eye of his sister, an austere spinster. In order to maintain the grand lifestyle they are accustomed to each young woman pursues a desperate course. Greer goes off to Wales to seek help from a mysterious relative. Phoebe puts her outstanding dressmaking skills to use, introducing the work of a chic Parisian seamstress (really her own) to the ladies of the ton. And Ava, the eldest girl, takes the most direct approach -- she hunts down handsome Jared Broderick, the Earl of Middleton and heir to a dukedom, and marries him. Only after their passionate wedding night does Ava realize Jared had ulterior motives for marrying her. He intends for Ava to serve as his socially-acceptable wife so his very proper father will not disown him for pursuing a love affair with a beautiful, sophisticated widow. Yes, Ava needs the duke's money for her sisters, but she will not avail herself of his fortune unless he loves her truly and exclusively. And that's exactly what she sets out to achieve.