Aurelia has always valued love and happiness over titles and power. Though her kind-hearted father has allowed her to turn away suitor after suitor in pursuit of a love she cannot yet define, when he dies her choices die with him. Knowing that marrying the elderly governor of a neighboring province can secure her mentally challenged brother’s safety, she gives up on her dream of finding love in return for his protection.
Cassius is the ill-fated captain of the governor’s guard tasked with escorting the Lady Aurelia and her unpleasant aunt to the governor’s estate. Since the soothsayer Tullia foretold an early death for him, Cassius wants nothing more than to keep his hands busy with labor and his heart free from any connections to the world he believes he will be leaving soon. As they work through a series of misfortunes on the road to the governor’s province, the words of the soothsayer start to make sense, and together they find the courage to allow their true destiny to unfold.
When Aurelia’s mother dies, the servants and slaves try to raise the daughter of the Imperial Legate, but she is too unruly, too stubborn, and too undisciplined. In a fit of frustration, the Imperial Legate brings his daughter to live in the military camp with his soldiers.
Aurelia grows up into a strong an willful woman under the watchful eye of her bodyguard, handpicked by the Legate. Marcus is her protector, her confidante, and her friend. He’s also her first love, and she plans on making him her first lover as well.
But Marcus makes it clear to Aurelia that everything will be according to his terms. She willing accepts his demands, though she doesn’t always obey him. Even though the consequences of disobedience may be punishing, Aurelia wouldn’t change a thing.