A self-absorbed surgeon tries to persuade an eccentric heiress to marry him.
Dr. Ian Cabott, Duke of Dunsford, is the only son of a very wealthy duke. He is accustomed to getting whatever he wants (especially from women).
Aside from his mother (who has been nagging him to find a wife ever since his father died), Ian''s female relationships are mostly shallow affairs (they want his money, he wants their beauty). Then, he becomes the guardian of Charlotte, a fourteen year-old girl who was crippled during a fire that killed her parents. Charlotte has been confined to a wheel chair for almost a year. As a patient, he understood how to treat her injuries. As a surrogate father, he does not have the least idea what to do with a girl who seems determined to make everyone around her miserable. Ian thinks that if he finds a wife, then she could handle his ward as well as all the other domestic and social obligations that come with wealth and privilege. Then he could fulfill his lifelong ambition to build a charity hospital. All he needs to do is find a suitable girl.
Fiona Turnbridge is the youngest daughter of the old Duke of Ryland. A quiet girl with a sixth sense and an introspective manner, she has always been more comfortable around animals than people. When her pet cat breaks his leg, she takes him to the best physician in the area, Ian Cabott.
Ian is surprised when Fiona shows up on his doorstep with an injured cat; then, he begins to see the advantages of the situation. He needs a wife and a beautiful girl has come knocking on his door. It must be Fate. He is impressed with her calm precision during the surgery, but disregards the facts that she has read his medical articles and understands anatomy well enough to adapt experimental procedures during a crisis.
As Fiona waits for her cat to recover; Ian develops a plan. When Fiona realizes that she has spent the night alone with him, he will save her reputation by marrying her. Ian is shocked when the lady refuses his generous offer, and decides to talk to her brother-in-law (the new duke of Ryland) whom he assumes will see reason. Duke Ryland lets Fiona make the choice.
Despite her dainty appearance, Fiona is not weak willed or faint hearted. She has dreams of her own and tells Ian that the man she marries will be as considerate of her as she is of him. Ian thinks she means that both of them will lead separate lives like most couples including his parents. He agrees to what he thinks she wants and Fiona agrees to let him announce their upcoming marriage. Later that day, Fiona and her sister find Ian with his pants down and another woman in his arms.
Fiona is humiliated, hurt and furious. She wants some respect and his grace can either get with the program or stick his proposal where the sun does not shine.