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For centuries, the Kingdom of Oantra has utilized the practice of debt-bonding, a unique method of rehabilitation that ties the life force of the criminal to that of the person wronged. The powerful Order of Shamaia, Goddess of Vengeance and Justice, oversees the setting or release of such bonds. But the Order holds a deadly secret, and as they prepare for a ritual they believe to be their salvation, they do not realize they are about to unleash dangerous magical forces they cannot hope to contain. Debt-bonded to the Crown Prince of Oantra and unable to get too far from her bondholder without suffering a painful death, Raena var Kandren clings to the promise of freedom. But when Prince Xander runs afoul of the Shamaian Order and Raena learns the secret they'd do anything to conceal, she finds that some promises cannot be kept, no matter how noble the intentions of those who make them, and that even a former thief may be called upon to become a heroine. Xander ven Orlys followed his conscience when he chose to debt-bond the woman who'd first stolen his prize hunting cat and then found herself caught while returning it. Now, on the run and stuck in a stretched-to-the-limit bond that was never intended to be permanent, he finds himself out of his element and desperately in need of whatever allies he can muster, however unlikely they may be. Separated from Raena and with time running out for everyone, Xander must find a way to balance his duty to his people with the dictates of his heart.

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