Ellen has to stop running sometime. She's fled her past all the way across the Atlantic and has given up hope of having the kind of romance she dreamed of as a girl. Bruised, inside and out, she'll be happy just to find a family for whom she can keep house.
Nate Harper has been in Lazarus County, NM, for years. His younger sister knows how lonely he is and has been seeking a bride for him back East. He's embarrassed, but his heart wells up with kindness when he reads about Ellen's hopes for a new life and invites her to his home as a housekeeper.
Neither want to admit to their attraction, and Ellen can't shake the feeling that no man will ever love her with her dark past.