The story of an unlikely romance between an orphaned would-be nun and an ambitious knight back in the days of the Wars of the Roses in fifteenth-century England.
The only life which sixteen-year-old herbalist Jane Dare has ever known suddenly and traumatically vanishes, when a group of renegade knights destroys the convent in which she has grown up and slays everyone who lives there – except herself, the convent infirmarian, and their two patients. The survivors are rescued by two young and ambitious noblemen in the service of King Edward the Fourth, Sir Alan Sanford, and his close friend, Sir John du Fay.
Sir Alan is determined to marry a wealthy noblewoman – but his heart decrees otherwise. Captivated by the beautiful herbalist, he fights his attraction to her and loses. She is at his side throughout King Edward’s fight for the throne.
Yet Alan’s ambition gets in the way. Knowing this, Jane, in spite of her love for him, lets him go, and pursues her chosen profession: healing. Alan takes control of vast lands in the north, and they part for several years.
Until King Edward dies and leaves his son, a mere boy of thirteen, to inherit the throne – surrounded by enemies. Their mutual concern for the lad and his younger brother brings Jane and Alan together again. But will they be able to save the boys – and still find love once more?
The pain was gone;he was dying, Alan knew. The arrow shot by Warwick’s man had pierced a lung, he was sure. He tried to open his eyes, but when he did he could only see a blank stone wall. Gradually, as his vision became more focused, he could discern two heads moving directly in front of him, then one of them disappeared. He was lying on his side; suddenly there was a sharp pain in his back.
“I have broken the arrow,” said a familiar male voice. “Now I shall have to extract the point. What do you have to make him sleep?”
“I have some hemlock,” said a feminine voice. Jane. Had he died, then; did this angel await him?
“But isn’t hemlock a deadly poison?” demanded the man. Then Alan recognized the voice. Master Robert.
“Yes. But in very small doses it merely produces unconsciousness. Rest assured, Master Robert; I will do naught to harm this man. Alan!”
Alan’s eyelids fluttered. “Jane . . . “ he said weakly.
“Alan, you have an arrow in your back. Master Robert does not think it hit any vital organs, but the point must be removed. Do you understand?”
Alan nodded weakly.
“I am going to give you something to make you sleep, and Master Robert is going to cut the point out. I will then stitch the wound and pack it with comfrey and nettles. You will live, Alan. You must live!”
“I don’t plan to die just yet,” Alan muttered.
“Good,” said Jane. She took both his hands in hers and squeezed.
His deep blue eyes met hers. “Kiss me, Jane. Let me feel your touch - let me take that memory with me into the netherworlds in case I don’t come back”
“You will come back!” Jane swore. Nonetheless she bent her head and kissed his lips, gently but firmly . . .