On the shores of the Chesapeake, Nicholas Talbot scana the faces of the disembarking passengers for his beloved Alyssa, who sailed form Englandto Maryland to be his bride. But to his utter shock, he finds himself hacing her older sister Kate, who announces that Alyssa is in love with another man and she has come to take her place.
Kate tries bravely to conceal her humiliation at Nicholas's cruel rejection. Her own traitorous passion for her sister's fiance had won out when she was asked to travel to the Colonies in her sister's place. Though the plight of Nicholas's orphaned nieces gives Kate a reason to stay; each day is an agonizing torment of unrequited desire. Then, just as a fragile trust begins to grow between Nicholas and Kate, Alyssa arrives ready to claim what is hers-daring Kate to fight for the man and the love she refuses to surrender at any cost.