Best-selling author Catherine Palmer brings readers another stand-alone Regency-period romance in the vein of Jane Austen. When Ruel Chouteau returns home after his supposed death, he shocks everyone. They are even more surprised when he mock-proposes to a common housemaid as proof that no woman in her right mind would marry him. Anne Webster is no ordinary woman, and when she is shot through the leg, it appears that she will surely die. She decides to accept Ruel's proposal so he will be obligated to save and provide for her family. Since he will have a year to mourn her death, Ruel will be spared the hounding from his family and the many families of single women in the community. But after the marriage on Anne's deathbed, she surprises them all by returning to full health! Now Ruel and Anne must face a future they never expected!