Sophia blinked back the tears of disbelief in her eyes. Even Lucy seemed at a loss for words, standing next to her. No one had ever defended her honor with such passion and conviction as this man, this rough-around-the-edges mountain man who was as out of place in her Boston home as a donkey in a barn full of thoroughbreds. His head slowly turned and he glanced up the staircase. Their eyes met. Sophia stood still, her gaze locked on his. Her knees went weak and breathing became impossible. She gripped the bannister as if her life depended on it, and at that moment, Joseph Walker owned her heart.