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Sixteen-year-old Merlin Lachlan dreams of knight errantry, but with only one eye, doubts he'll ever be more than a squire--a knight-in-training. He soon has the opportunity to play the hero when he befriends Calista Smith, a girl-child traveling alone to her father in Montana.
Eight years later Merlin receives a telegram from Callie, a cry for help. Her father is taking her to an unknown destination, possibly to a fate worse than death. Abandoned at the depot in Cheyenne, along and virtually penniless, Callie finds work. When Merlin arrives he finds not a damsel in distress but a woman standing on her own two feet. Still, she is Callie, and he has a tender memory of her. As she has of him.
Merlin weds Callie to ensure that her father will have no more control over her fate. Thwarted, Lem Smith seeks revenge and ends their brief idyll with fire and blood and terror. Afterward Merlin has no memory of her, beyond what his friends tell him. Callie is captive and helpless. Each believes the other dead.
Time heals most wounds, but not broken hearts. Callie escapes from her father and builds a life for herself. Merlin returns home, all of his youthful dreams shattered. Until a child's smile awakens old memories, and a family calls to its own.