In the winter of 1147, the French army makes its way through Asia Minor, with King Louis determined to recapture Edessa, a holy undertaking blessed by the Pope. Mysterious widow Catherine le Rochefort travels with Queen Eleanor and the French army toward Jerusalem, where Catherine hopes to gain absolution for her dark sins. Guarding her secrets as vigilantly as she protects the queen, Catherine has no place in her heart for the desires sparked by the handsome, perceptive Lord Payen de Montfer. Respected advisor to King Louis, Payen is ordered to infiltrate the queen’s private retinue and determine where Queen Eleanor’s loyalties lie, protecting the fragile peace between the crusading army and the Roman Empire. Distrustful of beautiful women, Payen is appalled at his own attraction to Catherine, the loveliest yet most secretive of the queen’s female guards. As the caravan winds through the dangerous mountains and steep valleys, skirmishing with Turks and traitorous Greeks, Catherine and Payen fight their growing attraction. Knowing Payen sees too much, Catherine struggles to keep her secrets hidden. If the two give in to their passion, Payen’s honor is at stake, while Catherine could lose her very soul.
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