This novella comes after Book 2 in this author’s “Daring Hearts” series. The prologue introduces the two main characters, Penelope Darlington and Darius Hall, when she is 12 and he is 20. Penelope is the daughter of successful confectionary shop owner Henry Darlington, while Darius is the third son of the Earl of Rushton. 12yr. old Penelope is very upset due to getting some surprising news and takes off to regroup. She has always disliked Christmas because her mother died around Christmas time. Penelope’s father has recently returned from out of town (around Christmas time) with a new wife in tow and Penelope is devastated. It’s not that she finds the new wife in any way intrinsically objectionable, it’s that her father got married without telling her, or even giving her any clue that he was thinking of remarrying. It’s while she’s in this frame of mind, that Darius finds her. In his quiet way, he listens to Penelope vent. It’s a sweet little moment that sets up the rest of the book. The rest of the story takes place seven years after the prologue. Darius and Penelope meet up again at Lady Wentworth’s soiree. Even though Penelope is content to be pursued by Scotsman Simon Wilkie, she and Darius share an impromptu kiss. That might have been the beginning and end of their romance, had things not taken a dramatic turn. Penelope agrees to elope with Wilkie and head to his home in the Scottish Highlands. Darius catches wind of it and takes off after the two, not only out of loyalty and affection for the Darlington family, but because he doesn’t believe she will be happy with Wilkie. I love the way Darius and Penelope’s relationship develops over the short period of time they are thrown together. Penelope is able to open up with him about her feelings for her family and her current situation. She feels like Darius “gets” her. The romantic tension is fabulous. Even though Darius “possessed a scientific, mechanical mind”, Penelope brought out the poet in him without his sounding trite. I loved the romantic game they played defining words. When he explains why he compared her to the earth’s atmosphere, I melted. This was the first thing I’ve read by this author but I look forward to reading more. I was able to enjoy this story, even though I hadn’t read the previous books in this series.