Poppy Hathaway is the second youngest of the Hathaway siblings, and frequently wishes that her family weren’t quite so unconventional and colourful. When her sister’s pet ferret runs off with one of her love letters, while her family are staying at the fashionable Rutledge hotel, she is desperate to retrieve it, so the truth of her secret courtship with the promising young isn’t revealed. She runs into Harry Rutledge, the enigmatic, powerful and reclusive owner of the hotel, who seems amuse and intrigued by her predicament.
While Harry may be a highly eligible bachelor, he hasn’t seriously considered marriage until he meets Poppy. It doesn’t take many meetings before he decides that he wants to have her, though, and he will use any trick necessary to win her, even if it means fighting very dirty indeed. Soon Poppy finds herself jilted by her gentle suitor, whose father has found out about their hopes, and not long after finds herself very publicly compromised by Harry Rutledge, who of course promises to marry her (despite assurances from her family that they’ll weather the scandal and she needn’t marry anyone at all), and give her everything she could have hoped or dreamed of. Except closeness and affection, as these are things Harry himself have never experienced either.