London, 1851. An alluring, outspoken widow and an enigmatic agent are drawn into a web of power, greed, and ambition that threatens to overturn the very future of the British Empire. . . Society knows Lilly Clarence Hampton as a respected widow who was wildly in love with her husband, the architect of London's famed Crystal Palace. The truth. . .well, the truth would cost Lilly her reputation, her freedom, and quite possibly her life. And one man has uncovered it--the reclusive, savagely handsome Julian St. Martin. A former agent of the Crown, Julian intends to blackmail Lilly to obtain plans to the Palace, where the Koh-I-Noor--the largest diamond in the world--will be presented to Queen Victoria at the Great Exhibition. Men have committed all manner of crimes to possess the fabled gem, but Julian's intentions are even darker. And the closer he gets to the beguiling Lilly, the more complicated matters become. Succumbing to intense, primal desire, Julian and Lilly both become pawns in a wicked game where no one can be trusted, and where the final, shocking truth will test their newfound passion to the limit. . .