Hoping to fend off the matchmaking mamas and their daughters who want only to marry him for his wealth and title, Nicholas Maxwell, Duke of Colfax, invents an American fiancée who is separated from him because of war between Britain and America. But when the war ends in 1815, everyone in the ton expects "Miss Robinson" to come to London and marry Nick. Since she doesn't really exist, he makes plans to fake her death and be so bereaved that he can never consider finding another bride. When he meets her ship, he fully expects the captain to break the devastating news that his "fiancée" took ill on the voyage and was buried at sea. Instead the confused captain announces that Miss Robinson is alive and well, and awaiting the very shocked Duke aboard ship. To avoid the advances of her cousin's lecherous husband on the voyage, Claire Tremaine was forced to assume the identity of mortally ill passenger Miss Robinson to claim the safety of the doomed woman's berth. Claire arrives in London only to be disavowed and abandoned by her vindictive relatives...and swept into a dangerous deception when the Duke of Colfax claims her as his bride.