‘It is none of my business,’ he tells himself, but the sound of the girl’s weeping is inescapable and he has to go and investigate.
Instantly he is captivated by Selina Wade, the blue-eyed waif he encounters and, finding that she is being exploited cruelly by a ‘domestic agency’ proprietor who is little better than a ‘madam’, resolves to save her.
Quintus Tiverton smuggles her out of the inn in the early morning and he then spends a great deal of money, which he does not have, in buying her new fashionable dresses to make even more beautiful.
And so naïve Selina finds herself posing as the gambler’s pretty sister, as Quintus Tiverton tries to marry her off to someone suitably rich amongst the international wealthy who frequent Baden-Baden in the Season .
Little does Quintus know that poor Selina’s heart is already taken. And she only has eyes for him!
Still less does he realise that he too is falling in love.
And her father, who is a rich man, has helped support The Priory through difficult times and Charisa is his only child.
Greatly saddened to hear that the charming Marquis has died, she is however glad that his heir, Vincent, will be coming home soon from his Army posting in India to claim his title and estate.
But then Fate strikes another blow with the news that Vincent has been killed in India. Reluctantly Charisa and her father prepare to welcome the next in line to the Marquisate, the half-French Gervais Mawde, who no one seems to know anything about.
But as soon as he arrives at The Priory they sense that something is wrong. Penniless, he immediately sets about selling off the family treasures and dismissing loyal servants, even the Vicar!
Worse still he forces his attentions onto the shy and unworldly Charisa. But just as she begins to despair, her prayers are answered and Vincent appears, alive but in terrible danger.
Someone is trying to kill him and now they realise who! None other than Gervais, who is not only a murderer but also a Devil worshipper and is planning to use innocent Charisa in a Satanic Black Mass.
The burning question is, can love conquer the forces of darkness?
In it she coldly announces that that “having reached the age of sixty-five, you are retired from your Living and you will vacate the Vicarage within a month of this date.”
Whatever are they to do?
Without the Reverend’s stipend they will have nothing at all to live on and Jerry will be forced to leave Oxford University. And what of Little Medlock’s parishioners, who love their Vicar so dearly after all his years in their Parish?
Although the Duchess is known by all the locals as a completely ruthless woman without a heart, Aspasia resolves to go to visit her and throw herself on her mercy, saying, ‘I will do – anything you ask of me if Uncle Theophilus may remain at Little Medlock.’
The poor innocent Aspasia has no grasp of the evil that goes on behind Grimstone House’s imposing doors or of the terrible things that the wicked Duchess will demand of her as her side of the bargain.
But then Fate sends the imperious yet handsome Marquis of Thame to visit the Duchess, a gentleman unimpressed and undaunted by her disreputable and wicked ways.
But will he step in to save Aspasia from utter humiliation and dishonour?