Marriage saved her from a tyrant...and kept her from the man she loved. In order to protect herself from a ruthless suitor, Desiree of Exceat married the aged Frewyn of Polegate, sacrificing passion in favor of platonic companionship. But three years later Frewyn is struck with an apoplectic attack, leaving him partially paralyzed. When France threatens to invade England, Desiree has no choice but to beg for help. Assistance comes from Sir Alexandre Baudoin, the sheriff of Sussex's nephew, who is assigned to be the castellan of Desiree's land. Frewyn warmly invites him into his home, unaware of Sir Alex's burgeoning desire for Desiree. Torn between the two men, Desiree is desperate for any distraction...until Sir Alex's brother arrives, armed with a plan to murder the sheriff-and return Desiree to the man from whom she escaped!