Evie Bell is the white sheep in a family of black ones. Bookish and quiet where her sisters are showy and brash, she doesn't understand her darker needs that resulted in the catastrophic end to her last relationship.
Frederic d'Estang, a stage performer with Byronic dark good looks, is famous for playing villains that women adore - the Phantom, Claude Frollo, Mr. Hyde. Facing a distressing premature end to his career due to developing Reinke's edema, a chronic voice disorder, he recalls how someone took a chance on him when he was just starting out, which launched him into stardom, and desires to do the same before his power and influence wane.
His agent wants him to write his memoirs, and when he meets Evie Bell, an autobiographical writer with a penchant for gothic anti-heroes, he sees his chance: she has talent, but lacks the confidence and experience to make something of herself. She also has interesting, unexplored tastes, which Frederic discovers when her sister gives him a link to her anonymous fan-fiction archive - much to Evie's mortification.