For the king's loyal man-at-arms, Robert FitzStephan, being given Eleanor d'Outremer's hand in marriage is an honour he could never dream of. For Eleanor, being obliged to wed the man responsible for the deaths of her father and brother is not quite as much of a fairy tale. Not that she has any choice: in this the year 1282, King Edward I rules absolute and he has far bigger concerns than the fate of one young woman-he has the conquest of Wales to plan. Robert FitzStephan has served Edward Longshanks since the age of twelve. A loyal and trusted captain, he has ridden with Edward to the Holy Land and back, fought at his side in innumerable skirmishes. Now he is riding with his king to once and for all bring Wales under English control. Eleanor d'Outremer-Noor to family and friends-has grown up lonely. Her Castilian mother died when Noor was a child, her father and brother have rarely been home and now they are off to fight in Wales. When a messenger arrives telling her both father and brother are dead and that the king has ordered her to wed an unknown upstart named Robert FitzStephan, she has no choice but to comply. After all, it seems her dead kin were riding against the king, not for him, when they died. While Robert is more than happy to be the lord of Orton Castle, he is not immediately taken by his plump little wife. She is young and innocent, a far cry from the willowy and statuesque Edith that has warmed Robert's-and many others-bed for years. When Noor understands just how close Robert and Edith are, she makes a drastic attempt to have the marriage annulled. That does not go down well with Robert, surprised into realising he has not wed a plump dove but a proud Castilian hawk-a hawk he must woo or lose forever.