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Accomplished and fiercely independent Lady Eleanor de Tracy is ruthlessly seized as hostage by Sir Hugh Fitzwilliam, friend and loyal liegeman to King John I of England. A traitorous lineage is not all this mysterious lady conceals, and Hugh soon discovers that loyalty to his king may be the very thing that destroys any hope of ever knowing what lies beneath Eleanor's stubborn evasions.
Hugh believes that a woman given to him as a chattel will never care for him, while Eleanor must undo her family's disgrace before seeking her heart's desire. Both are hostages to the past, driven by conflicting loyalties. In an age of rebellion and betrayal, danger lies not only within the court of the last Angevin monarch but in the lawless forests beyond every city wall.
In a world where the monarch gives and takes all, Eleanor and Hugh discover what price the pledge that comes with the gift of a king.