Electra Shipley lies in a mite-infested bunk, weak from lack of food and seasickness. Imprisoned and sentenced to seven years’ transportation, she sails towards the penal colony of New South Wales, Australia. Despite the odds, she is determined to survive, to clear her name, and return to her life of wealth and ease in England.
William Radcliffe has fled the betrayals of his father and fiancée to make a new life in the colony. When a transport ship from England docks, William stumbles across much more than mere trade cargo. Haunted by the beautiful convict with wild hair and golden eyes, William decides a compliant and grateful convict wife might meet his needs without the complications of love. Electra must now decide whether a loveless marriage with a "colonial barbarian" is preferable to imprisonment.
William is unprepared for the deeply suppressed passion his new wife arouses within him. Against his conviction never to love, he begins to desire Electra and the sexual tension between them sparks into a fierce physical attraction he longs to satisfy.
But Electra has made enemies on the ship and a vicious act of revenge endangers her life and the lives of the people she has come to love. Can Electra and William’s love survive the perils of this land and its inhabitants, or will their pasts destroy their future?