In the turbulent twelfth century, politics and pressure from their fathers force French courtier Eleanor and English border knight Stian of Harelby into a marriage that neither wants. He sees her as a colorless mouse. To her, he is an uncouth barbarian. She searches desperately for a way to have the marriage annulled while trying to adjust to life in a cold northern fortress. Lured by an attraction to Eleanor's lovely sister, Stian tries to ignore his wife. But passion soon sparks between them, and with it a growing respect for each other. But when their newfound love is threatened by a war with the Scots that rouses Stian's most barbaric instincts, they must both fight to hold onto what truly matters—each other.