Jamie Montgomery, an impoverished Elizabethan knight, is elated when he is assigned to escort Axia, the Lancaster heiress, to the castle of her betrothed. If only she will fall in love with Jamie 00 as Jamie's devoted older sister predicts 00 the family's financial woes will be solved. But Axia, who has spent her life closely guarded by her father's servants, is not the shy, cossetted flower Jamie expects. She's a hoyden, hell-bent on enjoying her precious moments of liberty before her marriage to a man chosen by her remote, eccentric father. After curtly informing Jamie not to bother declaring his love for her -- as all poor, handsome men seem wont to do -- Axia makes his life a misery, sneaking off to the marketplace, nearly breaking her neck on a runaway horse, and doing everything possible to delay the trip. Though she dare not admit it, even to herself, Axia dreads being wed to a stranger. Suddenly Jamie realizes that he savors even her most barbed words life the rarest nectar..that he is falling desperately in love with this bold, maddening beauty. Now he must contrive a daring plan to win her freedom -- and win her proud, defiant heart for his own!
No one is richer than the Maidenhall heiress. Miserly merchant Perkin Maidenhall is to Elizabethan England what John D. Rockefeller was to 20th-century America. And his daughter Axia, whom he has never met, stands to inherit the whole enchilada. But can a rich heiress ever find true love? Can she ever be sure that the hard-muscled thighs between her 16th-century sheets have been attracted by hot passion and not cold cash? Playing God (as the reader finally learns), the omniscient and omnipotent merchant intends to make sure that his daughter marries for love. He betroths Axia to a wealthy but impotent Yorkshireman, then hires penniless but startlingly handsome Jamie Montgomery, Earl of Dalkeith, to escort her across England. Poor Axia, who has spent her whole life cloistered away, with only Tode, a deformed young man, and Frances, her beautiful but shallow cousin, as companions, has never known any real freedom. The spirited girl switches identities with Frances for the trip--unbeknownst to Jamie, who has been given the last Montgomery pennies in order to seduce the heiress. Poor, honorable Jamie is torn between his growing devotion to Axia and his responsibility to marry for money. Lots of predictable filler before he discovers that his loss is his gain. Reliable Deveraux, if not her best.