Fionna’s ruthless brothers decide she must die for overhearing their treasonous plotting against the king of the Scots. They toss her into a nearby river, but she manages to make it to the riverbank. There she is found by Quentin of Alney who is returning from a diplomatic mission to King Alexander. Upon learning Quentin’s name, Fionna is terrified because he is the man her brothers intend to kill to create an incident that will lead to war between England and Scotland. Gillemore and Murdoch are furious that Alexander is allowing Normans to settle on Scottish land, and he’s changing age-old customs.
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Young Thomas falls into love with the beautiful Selene at first sight and is delighted at the marriage Lord Guy has arranged for him. But Selene cannot love anyone, and she has become the innocent agent sent by Thomas’ mother, Lady Isabel, to destroy Afoncaer and ruin Guy in payment for the punishment he inflicted on her years ago for her…
Fionna has never known kindness, but Quentin and his companions soon win her over. They agree to help her remove her younger sister, Janet, from an abbey where she’s being held until the brutal man she’s supposed to marry returns from transporting an English spy to French captivity.
Lord Royce of Wortham, an old friend of Quentin, joins the group. Long depressed after the early death of his beloved wife, he is cheered by recent events and agrees to help save Janet.
A difficult rescue, complicated by Janet’s unwillingness to accept Fionna’s explanation, followed by attacks from Gillemore and Murdock and their cohorts, all delay the return to England and safety. Along the way, Fionna is badly wounded when she tries to protect Quentin. Meanwhile, Janet wages a battle of words with Quentin’s friend, Cadwallon, who appears to be falling into love with the sharp-tongued girl.
Fionna has fallen into love with Quentin, though she recognizes he is far above her socially. Still, she gives into her emotions and sleeps with him. The party eventually reaches Wortham Castle, Royce’s home, and there his daughter, Catherine, makes them welcome and cares for Fionna’s wounds. But what hope can there be for happy endings for two Scottish girls, neither with a dowry, who have fallen into love with Norman noblemen?