Nicholas Davies, Earl of Aberdare, son of a rogue aristocrat and a Gypsy, was a notorious rake but now lives secluded and embittered in the Welsh countryside. Methodist school teacher Clare Morgan asks the Earl to help save her village from the problems caused by the mines. Unwilling to involve himself in the problems of others, Nicholas sets an impossible price on his aid. If Clare agrees to live with him for three months, letting the world think the worst, he will intervene. Further, each day, she must let Nicholas kiss her and try to seduce her. Furiously, Clare accepts his outrageous challenge.
Numerous subplots develop. Together, Clare and Nicholas work to bring reform to the mines to make them safer and earn an enemy in the mines manager. Nicholas' old friend, Michael, has become estranged since the death of Nicholas' wife, who was killed in a carriage accident. It was rumoured that she was fleeing from Nicholas. But Nicholas needs Michael's support since he is also a mine owner in the area. Clare learns that Nicholas has been deeply scarred emotionally by his grandfather, the late earl, who dictated and managed Nicholas' life. Between the grandfather and the late wife, Clare suspects that Nicholas has learned to hide a sensitive nature.
Meanwhile, Nicholas relentless tries to seduce Clare, who is awakening to her own passionate nature. But as a woman past her youth and a Welsh commoner, she sees no future with the handsome earl. Nicholas may have found his love buddy in Clare, but cannot trust her not to betray him like everyone else he has cared for.
This report prepared by L. Watson