When Mary de Vere’s closest companion Martin de Stafford—whom she secretly loves—is stolen from her by his long-promised marriage to another woman, eighteen-year-old Mary believes things can get no worse… until an assassin’s blade takes her father’s life. The laws of the land place her under the authority of her heartless uncle, but even as her world falls apart around her, Mary vows to one day reclaim her rights and her title.
Years later, Martin, now the Sheriff of Staffordshire and a widower since illness claimed his wife, encounters his childhood friend in the unlikeliest of places: a convent. Though Mary plays the part of a simple woman who dreams of becoming a nun, Martin is far from convinced. He knows the feisty girl far too well to believe that she aspires to a life of service in the church, and in any case, he has another future to offer her—a future as his wife.
When she spurns his affections, Martin only grows more determined to unravel her plot, and at last Mary is caught red-handed in an act of banditry. To save herself from the dungeon, she is left with no choice but to submit to the very thing she once longed for: marriage to Martin de Stafford. Mary soon learns that her new husband is more than her match and that from now on her bare bottom will pay the price for her scheming. In spite of her pride, Martin’s firm chastisement enflames her lust for him, but can she truly force herself to put aside the wrongs of the past and lay claim to a life at the side of the man she always wanted?