Bethany Lindstrom is well on the way to achieving her career goals as an historian when her trip to Oxford goes badly awry. On an unplanned visit to Cornwall, while wandering around her enigmatic hostess’s ancient home, she stumbles through an unseen portal into the fourteenth century.
Stranded in 1353, Beth knows she must find a way back to her own time or face a life of falsehood and peril. But with the stern overlord Baron Michael Veryan, she is swept up into the intrigues of King Edward’s court, which will test their mettle and their faith to the limits—and forever bind their lives together.
He shifted on the log, studying her face. With a swift gesture, he reclaimed the sprig of lavender from under her wimple and cast it into the spring.
"An old custom, and hardly Christian. Legend says if you offer the well a belonging, it creates a binding. We Cornish are a fanciful people."
"I have bound you to the well." His eyes glinted mischief, then sobered. "And to Cornwall. And in a very small manner, only as much as you yourself permit, to me. But lady, you should take care."
"Tell no one your tale. I will keep it secret. Others may be less easy of belief than I." He shook his head, his expression making Beth wonder if he thought he'd lost his mind. "I cannot say why I believe, for I never have known such a thing to fall out as you say it has. Yet I would counsel you to mention your history as little as possible. I accept it, but there are those who will disbelieve for reasons of their own. Others may use your..."
"Aye. They may use it for their own ends, and not for your well-doing. Enough. You shall bide at Truro until I must wait upon the king. When I am summoned, will you travel with me to court?"
Court. He invites me to go with him to King Edward's court. The Black Prince will be there, and Queen Philippa of Hainault. How many of them might I see?
Her spirits rose at the very thought. "I had not thought on it. Yet if you wish it, I will go."
"We will take the greatest care for your safety."
She decided to tease him out of his worry. "What ill can befall me while under your protection?"
He ran a single finger from her temple to her chin, his expression lightening for a moment, then sobering once more. "I am only a man, not a saint, and a soldier at that. A man so long under arms sees danger behind every gorse bush. I cannot help fearing for you. So lovely, and no history. No husband or overlord, nor father nor brother to protect you. Other men may -- nay, will -- covet the beauty I now look upon freely. Strangeness attracts in its own manner. Some may try to use your extraordinary position for their own ends. Yet I will do my best to protect you, my lady. I swear it by whatever spirit still inhabits this well."