At twenty-three and a bluestocking to boot, Miss Lavender Brabant feels her chances of marriage have passed her by. But the problem isn't that she's never met a man to make her pulse race. It's that she's an admiral's daughter--and the man of her dreams is a shopkeeper's son. Barnabas Hammond has the looks and confidence to mingle with all circles of society. And to Lavender's amazement he is both well-read and a superlative swordsman. Could it be that this unlikely suitor is more suitable than he at first appears?