Prudence Walker is an orphaned daughter of a scientist living with her aunt who has buried 7 wealthy husbands. Having helped her father with his research and experiments on improving gunpowder she is the only one who knows what he has discovered. She has no plans to marry although she has turned down several proposals.
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Sebastian Kerr was the abused son of a scottish laird. He buried his father when he was young and ran away from his castle to avoid being thrown out by the nearby Laird MacKay. He turns to a life of theft when he is discovered in jail by his French grandfather who takes him to France and educates him. His grandfather sends him back to Scotland and England to serve him as a spy. Sebastian also survives as a highwayman. He wants to escape the confines of his grandfather and he needs money to do so. He decides to marry money. He decides to marry Prudence's aunt. Sebastian and Prudence find themselves attracted to one another and when his grandfather learns who she is he wants Sebastian to get the gunpowder formula from her by marrying her.
Prudence is given an honorary title of Duchess and a reward of 10K a year for her father's formula from the King. She moves to Scotland. There she meets Sebastian again when he robs a ball she is attending. Later she is kidnapped by him and his highwaymen. She meets and becomes engaged to MacKay and together they plan a way to free Sebastian of his career and to lead him back to his run down castle. Sebastian's grandfather gets in the way of their plans but nothing keeps Sebastian from forcing Prudence to marry him.
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