Jamie Montgomery, an impoverished Elizabethan knight, is elated when he is assigned to escort Axia, the Lancaster heiress, to the castle of her betrothed. If only she will fall in love with Jamie -- as Jamie's devoted older sister predicts -- the family's financial woes will be solved. But Axia, who has spent her life closely guarded by her father's servants, is not the shy, cossetted flower Jamie expects. She's a hoyden, hell-bent on enjoying her precious moments of liberty before her marriage to a man chosen by her remote, eccentric father. After curtly informing Jamie not to bother declaring his love for her -- as all poor, handsome men seem wont to do -- Axia makes his life a misery, sneaking off to the marketplace, nearly breaking her neck on a runaway horse, and doing everything possible to delay the trip. Though she dare not admit it, even to herself, Axia dreads being wed to a stranger. Suddenly Jamie realizes that he savors even her most barbed words like the rarest nectar...that he is falling desperately in love with this bold, maddening beauty. Now he must contrive a daring plan to win her freedom -- and win her proud, defiant heart for his own!