When the Countess of Moncrief encounters penniless Katherine Standerson, she realizes that if anyone can teach her dissolute son how to love, it a woman like Katherine. So she sends the beautiful young woman to the Earl's country estate to care for his infant daughter, Julie.
Wealthy, arrogant and disillusioned by faithless women, Freddie Lattimore, Earl of Montcrief, sees Katherine as a challenge. She's too beautiful for words, witty, intelligent and elusive; he does his best to seduce her.
Though unworldly, Katherine insists that a contract be drawn up before she will become his, and then goes to his bed. Their idyll is a magical coming together of two lost souls, but Freddie's pride and Katherine's unconditional love for Julie drive her to flee.
Finding refuge in a small cottage nearby, Katharine raises Julie as her own daughter and gives birth to the Earl's son. After searching for a year, Freddie finds them and the real battle of wills begins when Katherine discovers the secret of her past.