It is the year 216 BC. Livia is a Vestal Virgin, a priestess of the goddess Vesta sworn to keep Rome safe through the obligations of duty, dedication, and chastity. In just a few months she will end her vows and marry her childhood companion. But the High Priestess's collapse extends Livia's duties and thrusts her into the unwanted role of leadership. As summer heat and the threat of Hannibal descend on Rome, Livia dares to fall for Gaius, a married man and equestrian commander, who has loved her secretly for many years. When his wife Justina refuses to surrender the security of her privileged life, Gaius and Livia are caught in a sticky web of deceit and forbidden love that threatens both their worlds.