PATRICK CHANNING has spent the last eleven months in the quiet Scottish town of Moraig, lying low while his father works to deflect the suspicions cast on him in his older brother’s death. But when he is discovered by Miss JULIANNE BAXTER, the one woman who couldn’t keep a secret were her tongue cut out , Patrick knows his quiet existence on the fringe of truth is over. Julianne is thrilled she has tracked Channing down in the far-flung reaches of Scotland. One of the ton’s most acknowledged flirts and gossips, she knows Patrick distrusts her. And why wouldn’t he? It was her statement to the authorities eleven months ago that cast suspicion on his role in his older brother’s death. But new self-doubts have her questioning what she saw that fateful day-and indeed, whether Patrick might actually be innocent. Julianne hands him the shocking news of his father’s unexpected death, making Patrick the new Earl of Haversham. Worse, she tells him that his cousin, GEORGE WAVERLY, who is next in the line of succession, is pursuing a formal charge of murder against him for the events of his brother’s death. There is no question he needs to return and try to save his family from ruin, even if it means facing a hangman’s noose. But what to do about the woman whose testimony might place it there? Can he marry the woman who has brought him so low, if only to silence her wicked tongue? After all, they are in Scotland, where clandestine weddings are not only accepted, but expected.