Adventure-seeking Lady Sarah Halden didn’t intend to land on the wrong boat when she decides to stow away on her brother’s clipper for the trans-Atlantic sailing race he’s entered. Instead, the boy she hires to ferry her out to Lucky's boat leaves Sarah on the wrong boat, and in the company of her brother’s business partner, Lord Ian Alexander, for the coming weeks. She finds the surly American, descended of a noble Scottish family, rather handsome, but his manners leave a great deal to be desired. In spite of that (or because of it!) she is attracted to him in ways she'd never been attracted to a man before. When they reach New York and the half-way point of the race, instead of simply returning to England with her brother-by-marriage, Lucky makes Sarah and Ian marry because she's been compromised, and could possibly be carrying Ian's child.
Except Ian isn't ready for a wife and family yet. He has a plan, and marital bliss was still a few years down the road. But, while away on a tea run to China, he realizes he misses Sarah and that she was right, you cannot plan when to fall in love, you just have to grasp it and take what it offers while you're fortunate enough to have it. Upon his return to England, he discovers Sarah a very different woman than the one he left nine months earlier. She has no memory of him, and Ian tells her they will make new memories, hoping the old ones return. Only he doesn't want the old ones to return because if she remembers the callous way which he treated her, she would probably want nothing to do with him. His fears are realized when she regains her memory, and Ian has to work all the harder to win his wife back.