When the Duchess of Harborough offers Harriet Treene a chance to model for one of her alluring paintings, Harriet accepts. Beautiful, witty, and bold, Harriet is a lowborn orange-seller in St. James Park. Can this diamond-in-the-rough be polished enough to find a place in the genteel ton -- and in the heart of London's most enigmatic rake? Devilishly irresistible William Manderville, Earl of Bonnington, refuses to take a wife because the covert risks he takes for the sake of his country put him in constant danger. A painting by his friend the duchess -- of a woman who looks like the goddess Venus -- could change his mind, however. As the duchess plays matchmaker between the enamored earl and the mysterious beauty, William finds himself caught up in a maelstrom of powerful emotions and desires he has never felt before. But can he finally take the risk of loving a woman when his love of danger and excitement will put her in harm's way?