Another NetGalley book. Alasdair, Lord Datchworth, finds himself in a pub where he witnesses a man, Matthias, put his sister Mary, a virgin, up for auction to the highest bidder. For a reason he does not know, Alasdair outbids all the other creepy men at the seedy pub. After winning the bid, Alasdair doesn't know what he is going to do with Mary. Mary is sure Alasdair has less than honorable intentions for her, but after he sends her to hallway of the inn where he is renting a room, Mary is admitted back and surprised when he does not make a move on her. The next morning, Alasdair insists he and Mary must head to Scotland to marry because they spent the night together and now her reputation is ruined. Alasdair forms a plan to ensure that Mary is well taken care of for the rest of her life, once this is accomplished he intends to see his plan of letting himself succumb to his addiction to opium to fruition. He again ensure her that she will not have to perform 'wifely duties,' which Mary is again shocked by. Mary, meanwhile, has decided that she will follow Alasdair's plan, follow him to London, and once she is sure he is free of his addiction, she will leave him to search for her mother. Mary just learned that her mother was alive, her father confessed on his deathbed that her mother did not die giving birth to Mary, something she has always felt guilty for, but she is in fact an illegitimate child because her parents were unwed when she was born. After their marriage, Mary cannot help herself, she seduces Alasdair on their wedding night, when he is still struggling with withdrawals from his addiction. Much to both of their surprise, they enjoy themselves and each fantasizes about being together again. The next day, Matthias comes back to retrieve Mary because he has found letter from Mary's mother-he is Mary's half-brother, a notion which becomes a bit of a joke between her and Alasdair throughout the book-that he wants to use to blackmail her mother into giving him more money. Alasdair is also being pursued by his cousin, Hugh, who wished to take over the family fortune, with the aid of his doctor by keeping Alasdair supplied in opium and hopefully eventually seeing him die from his addiction. Alasdair is able to help Mary get away from her evil brother and the next night Mary saves Alasdair from his cousin. This begins a long journey to not only get away from those who seek to harm them, but also for Mary and Alasdair to open up to each other about their pasts and help each other. The author writes a wonderful story of two lost souls who've never found anyone they can trust or confide in, finding that trust and ability to confide in each other. Both Mary and Alasdair are falling for each other, but will not admit it to the other for fear their hearts will be broken. The only downfall of this book is that the resolution of things between the two main characters did not happen until the last 2 pages of the book, which caused quite a bit of anxiety for this reader, believing that they would not end up together after all. I would have liked to have seen a bit of their future, perhaps an epilogue some months down the road.