After nearly two centuries, the St. Valliers family is on the verge of losing Shadow Oaks, their sugar cane plantation. Stella St. Vallier is taking a years sabbatical from her career, in order to try and save Shadow Oaks. Only her elderly Aunt Rose remains of the once-proud family, so the burden of saving the plantation rests firmly with Stella.

Upon her return, Stella discovers she has more problems than just staving off foreclosure. Someone is using her remote land for a drug smuggling operation. When Stella tries to complain to the local authorities, she runs into a roadblock. Suddenly it is difficult to see who are the good guys and who are the villains in this mess.

The discovery of a badly wounded man on her property forces Stella to make a dangerous decision. Garrett Shaw claims to be an undercover agent, but all the news reports are claiming he is corrupt. Stella realizes that she cant turn the handsome stranger over to the local authorities, for it will mean instant death. Hiding him in the old secret room may just be their only hope. However, the persistent manhunt is continuing to close in, and Stellas actions could cost them all their lives.

Corruption and evil permeate this wonderfully dark and dangerous tale. Meagan McKinney is back with a vengeance! (Jan., 313 pp., $6.50) Hardcover published February 2001.

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith