Brianna Phillips thought she'd never find another man to take the place of her high school sweetheart, Billy Starrett, who was killed in Iraq. That was before she met a very handsome and somewhat mysterious man named Khaleel Hashemi who, like Bree herself, was a soon-to-graduate engineering student at Columbia University.
After a brief and heated romance, Bree moves into Khaleel's plushy, off-campus apartment and the two ready themselves for graduation. Bree supplements her intense study schedule with additional research, exams, and job applications. Khaleel, on the other hand, seems to be spending most of his time with endless emails and phone calls, nearly all of which are conducted in his native Arabic tongue. When Bree asks him about the emails and phone calls, he tells her they are his business, not hers.
Despite his secretive private life, Khaleel is delighted when Bree tells him she is pregnant. He is convinced that Allah will soon present him with twin sons. Bree's parents, however, are anything BUT delighted. In fact, they are adamantly opposed to Bree marrying any man from Saudi Arabia.
"The men who caused 9/11 were all Arabs," Bree's father reminds her. "And your own cousin Tom was among those three thousand people who died that day. How can you possibly marry a man who could be related to those maniacs?"
Bree dismisses what she sees as unjust prejudice and assures her parents that they, too, will come to love Khaleel as much as she does, once they get to know him better. The chance of that happening, however, disappears when an unexpected event propels Bree down a new and dangerous path. It is a pathway established by Khaleel himself, along with a man who claims to be Khaleel's brother, Saajid. Confused and frightened, Bree suddenly finds herself whisked away in a private jet to a nameless destination in the heart of Saudi Arabia's desolate Empty Quarter.
Completely separated from everything she has ever known, Bree quickly discovers that Khaleel is no longer the man she fell in love with. In fact, that person no longer exists. The Khaleel she knew at Columbia University has been replaced by a mean and domineering stranger who wants to control everything, including Bree.
This revelation is soon followed by other shocks as Bree tries to adjust to a world that has suddenly turned into an endless nightmare. Desperate and terrified, she reminds Khaleel that she is still a citizen of the United States. She demands that he send her home immediately. Khaleel's cold and angry response is final.
"You are no longer living in the United States, Bree," he says. "You are my wife. You are living in my country now. And you will stay here. For the rest of your life. Is that clear?"
Pregnant and totally isolated from the outside world, Bree can focus on only three things: her own safety, the safety of her unborn child, and most of all: how to escape from a prison built on hatred.