A cynical bachelor romances the eldest of a quintet of persecuted sisters.Prudence Merridew was as plain as her sisters were beautiful; or at least, that’s what her tight fisted, mean spirited, over critical grandfather always told her. Her guardian was a vicious old man who never missed an opportunity to abuse (verbally and physically) his five granddaughters. He beats Faith for singing. He beats Hope for using her left hand. He beats Charity for being vain. However, he is particularly harsh with Prudence because she has red hair, just like her mother. The daughter of a merchant had committed the unpardonable sin of falling in love with the only son of a Baron.Prue is clever, strong and loyal. Somehow, she must protect her sisters until her twenty first birthday, which is only a few weeks away. According to their father’s will, Prudence will be granted custody of her sisters and control of her parents’ fortune when she turns 21 or after she marries whichever comes first. Prue became engaged at the age of 16, but her fiancé went to India before they could be married.The Merridew sisters are running out of time. Their Grandfather will not allow any of them to date and he swears no court in the land will give custody of a troop of girls to a naive country miss when a titled gentleman is willing to assume the responsibility.
Prue fears he is right. She needs a fiancé - fast! Preferably, a man with a title who doesn’t get out much. The Duke of Dinstable seems to fit the bill. Prudence decides to call on the gentleman and ask him to help her for a few weeks.Gideon Carradice, notorious rake and prankster, cannot resist a good jest. Life is one long series of fun and games, or so he tries desperately to convince himself. He decides to humor the beautiful, impulsive, young lady with the confusing and highly unlikely story who arrives on his cousin’s doorstep and mistakes him for his titled relative. Gideon has vowed never to be a fool for love. He remembers only too well the example set by his parents. On the day his Mother died, Gideon’s father killed himself.Prudence has never been much of a gambler. Now, in order to save her sisters (and herself) she will have to teach a cynical rake that true love is a game worth playing.