When Annie McWilliams arrives in Kirkham with her two young children, she is given a warm welcome and taken to a small house that has been made ready for the town's new schoolmarm. Delighted with her new surroundings, Annie quickly settles in, eager to leave her troubled past behind and make a fresh start in life. Her first encounter with Reverend James Daffern occurs when he saves her children from drowning in the river. She finds him very attractive, and James is extremely taken with the pretty young widow. But when Annie disobeys the Sheriff's instructions by exploring an unrespectable part of town, she learns she is to be spanked for her disobedience, and as she has no husband, James Daffern is the man for the job.
Acutely embarrassed, Annie takes her punishment … and given her headstrong nature, it turns out to be the first of several discipline sessions with the good-looking preacher. As time passes, their romance grows, and when James asks Annie to be his wife, she accepts gladly … yet she is reluctant to set a date for the wedding. She has a secret which weighs heavy on her shoulders … but she is not the only one with a secret past. As events unfold, the truth comes to light … but how will the revelations affect Annie's future?