It is the end of the 17th century, and the Countess Ashby de la Zouche is having rather a bad time. The money is long gone, along with the Count, and while the Countess has no mealy-mouthed scruples about renting out her person, fewer gentlemen than one might think appreciate the mellow, nuanced charms of a mature lady. In short, it's looking like a very hungry winter, until a new possibility arises: A job as a professional gossip columnist for one of London's daily tabloids. Peering into bedroom windows may not be the most respectable of occupations, but respectability loses a certain amount of its allure when the alternative is debtors? prison.