When 18-year-old Eliza Cross agrees to visit her school friend, Lady Celia, at her home for the summer, it’s immediately clear how out of place she is at Caerdon Abbey. Eliza, orphan and charity student, can’t help feeling different from the aristocracy who are living their lives in luxury. But when Celia’s brother, Alan, the handsome Duke of Caerdon, comes home from France, Eliza finds herself irresistibly attracted to him – especially after he disciplines her on the very first morning after they meet.

Alan knows Eliza isn’t someone his mother would consider marriage material, but he can’t stop thinking about her, no matter how hard he tries. A whirlwind courtship leads to a secret wedding, but when Alan is suddenly called to diplomatic service, Eliza is left on her own to keep her secret until he returns. Can the Duke’s schoolgirl bride hide the truth? And can she bear the consequences if she does?