The year is 1847…
Gabriel de la Vega, disgraced son of a Mexican ranchero, returns to his Alta California home when Americans take power to help his countrymen with the bewildering transition and make amends to the woman he once wronged.
Fiercely independent, Isabella Fuentes swore she’d never forgive Gabriel for abandoning her on the night they were to elope. Now he’s back, playing a dangerous game, pretending to be meek and repentant when she knows the handsome, former outlaw is anything but contrite.
When a series of accidents threaten Isabella’s safety, Gabriel offers an outrageous solution: the protection of a brief civil marriage. Isabella is tempted. But can she rely on a man who once betrayed her and can she trust her foolish heart to let him go when the danger has passed?