Shanna is a willfull girl who prides herself on being so, but is also selfish and used to getting what she wants. She is past the age where a nice lady usually gets hitched, and her father, bent on making sure she has little heirs lined up, sets up a deadline for her to marry of her own will. If she fails, he will pick a suitor for her.
Shanna comes up with the ingenius plan of picking out a man on deathrow, and the one she picks just so happens to be Ruark, innocent of his crime, quite handsome, honorable, and all the other dreamy attributes. She figures her bargain will be enough, he gets a few luxuries for the last days of his life, and she can go home a widow. But he ends up matching her will for will.
After she leaves him hanging and heads home after the nuptials, he, by a twist of fate, is put into bondage and -gasp- is heading towards the island Shanna's father owns! Once there, he is a common bondslave and ends up practically stalking her, because they are man and wife and she didn't follow through with the deal. She, obviously, doesn't seem to mind really after all her complaining. What follows is a struggle between Shanna and her heart and brain, and then the forces of fate.
I'm used to the cliched romances, where the man is selfish and denying, and the woman sacrifices and chases after him. But in this story, the roles almost seemed reverse, and in the end Shanna was the one to prove herself. I didn't find her too bad, but sometimes I wanted to slap her when Ruark was being open and loving. I found this book thrilling, beautiful, and well-thought. I don't usually have romance novels in my favorites, but this one surpasses the others.