Justin Bracken has no choice but to resign his commission and return home to the cotton mills, when his father falls ill. Unrest among the workers, fire, death and an opinionated woman all seek to make his new life every bit as dangerous as the military battles he fought in the past. Young widow and vicar's daughter Lucinda Osborne is born out of her time. When her husband dies, she returns to her father's home determined to improve the lives of the mill workers she grew up with. Mill owner, Charles Bracken refuses her offer to educate the workers' children and threatens her. Lucinda narrowly escapes his unwelcome attentions, thanks to the rugged stranger who intervenes. A fire at the mill and the sudden death of the mill owner has profound implications for Lucinda, who suspects her cousins' are responsible. Determined to save them from the hangman's noose, she risks her own reputation to do so. Grief stricken by his father's sudden death, Justin cannot forget his father's last words, accusing Lucinda of starting the fire in the mill. Determined to find out the truth Justin summons the vicar's daughter to the manor. Intuitively he knows she is not guilty but believes she knows who is. In an attempt to get to the truth and unable to control his inconvenient passion, he makes her an indecent proposal but will she accept?