After years of schooling in England, Jesmond Corbett finds little has changed on her family’s estate along the sea-battered coast of Tasmania. Betrothed since childhood to a wealthy neighbor, Jessie comes home determined to conform to the expectations of her family and the society in which they live. But nothing in Jessie’s life has prepared her for the mysterious stranger who works in the stables, a man with searing eyes who haunts her dreams and awakens passions she never knew existed. Irishman Lucas Gallagher arrived on the island in chains, a convict sentenced to a lifetime of slave labor for the English gentry. For four years he has lived a dead man’s existence, using every spare moment to plan his escape. But when he meets Jessie, she touches his cold, angry heart. And although their love has no future, he finds himself unable to deny the longings of his battered soul- longings that threaten to destroy what may be his last chance to reach for freedom. . . .