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Bennet Kelmarsh is a gentleman by his actions, but not his birth, and he believes his origins are securely hidden behind the veneer of wealth and gentility he has developed. Rebecca Valence was born a lady, but as a victim of a careless aristocratic upbringing, she rebelled. Her rebellion was both immoral and unacceptable to society.
An orphaned child brings them together. Little Maudie Fairmile needs Rebecca's help, and she requires the assistance of Bennet Kelmarsh as well. More than that, it becomes clear Maudie needs a home. In attempting to resolve Maudie's problems, both Rebecca and Bennet fall in love with the child. And then, they fall in love with each other.
But it seems clear to them both that their past lives prohibit any future happiness. They try to protect each other from harm by denying their mutual attraction, and their love, and they determine to go their separate ways. They each wish to care for the child, however, and that desire drives them further apart. She may be the only child either of them will ever have.
There is no solution which will satisfy everyone; a choice has to be made, no matter how much--or who--it hurts. Maudie's future and her happiness are at risk. Someone must make a great sacrifice....