Reclusive widow Jenny Hamilton retreats to her modern cabin in the Eastern Sierras, content to be cut off from the outside world, the victim of an abusive marriage that leaves her afraid of men.
She spends her time writing, weaving and tending her animals until Tom Driscoll washes up in the creek below. Somehow Jenny finds the strength and courage to rescue the unconscious man and nurse him back to health while slowly falling in love with him.
A burly intruder intent on revenge for crimes her late husband committed arrives and tries to rape Jenny. Tom saves her, but the terrifying incident traumatizes her. All her earlier fears of men come flooding back. She decides never to trust another man and orders Tom out of her cabin, effectively shutting him out of her life.
Can Tom soften Jenny's hardened heart and teach her to feel again?
"What are you making?"
The words caught in Tom's dry throat and growled across the distance with such harshness those dainty fingers he'd enjoyed watching so much froze in midair. The attractive young woman pivoted her golden head and peered in his direction, her doe-like eyes widening. Wetting her lips, she blinked at him, making him regret he'd interrupted her weaving.
"You're awake." Her whispered words fell from trembling lips.
Dummy. You scared her with your sudden outburst. A smile might ease her fright.
He tried to lift the corners of his mouth, but his dry, cracked lips stretched across his teeth. He winced, flicking out his tongue to circle his mouth, raking his parched lips with needed moisture. He cleared his throat and tried again. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you."
Her hands settled in her lap. She clasped her fingers. Puzzled, he watched her knuckles turn white. She moistened her lips again, then chewed on the bottom one, her somber gaze never leaving his face. Those expressive eyes held a disturbing wariness he couldn't comprehend.
"You hurt your head," she whispered.
He tried to touch the spot that ached. Both his hands came up, connected by rope.
"What in blazes?"
The fairy rose, her golden head moving from his line of vision. He lifted his head to follow her movements. Rockets exploded behind his eyes.
He shut them again.
Her footsteps faltered, then moved toward him. He opened his eyes.
A pair of trim leather boots stopped beside him. The knees above the boots bent as she knelt in his line of vision and leaned back on her heels, considering him with a wary look.
"Your fever made you delirious, so I tied your hands."
Her words brought a bright flush to her cheeks. With the sun no longer shining on her head, her hair took on a darker shade, encircling her shoulders in a cape of chestnut satin.
"Did I hurt you?"
She nodded. "Last night. A little. Here, I'll untie you."