Only love can break this captive's chains.
Valon Argris has lived alone in the crude wasteland fortress for longer than he cares to remember. He watches from the tower for enemy ships or spies, his only goal to keep a hidden seaside colony of escaped slaves safe from the Empire of Rysar. The empire destroyed everything Valon loved and left him scarred and hunted. While he prefers to hide his chilling visage in the isolation of the fortress, he will allow nothing to endanger the runaway slaves who have made the cove their home. But a handsome deserter from Rysar stumbles onto the secret, throwing everything Valon's worked so hard to protect into peril...
After his army is defeated by barbarian invaders, conscripted soldier Keram Rhees flees across the mountains into a desolate volcanic wasteland. But when he reaches the safety of the ocean, his discovery of a colony of escaped slaves provokes the wrath of the colony's guardian—a huge, scarred man named Valon who seems more beast than human. Accused of being a spy for the empire, Keram is dragged in chains to a bleak stone fortress which is little more than a ruin. He soon comes to learn there is more pain inside Valon than rage, more loneliness than ferocity. Keram knows he can help heal the dark, scarred, and brooding guardian. He's seen the desire and longing in the way Valon looks at him. But Valon isn't ready to trust. He knows the runaway soldier is dangerous—if not to the people Valon protects, then certainly to the chains around Valon's heart.