Cassie O'Brian is brutally injured and running for her life from the deranged neighbor who raped and murdered her mother. When he tried to do the same to Cassie, she fought back leaving him hideously scarred and vowing revenge. Not only has Cassie lost everything and everyone that made up her simple existence, the vicious attack violated her innermost being, destroying her self-confidence and sense of security and trust. The only thing that gives her the strength to heal and keep going is the remembered teachings of her Choctaw great-grandmother. Through dreams and visions, the old healer encourages Cassie to take back control of her destiny, find a safe place to reconnect with the earth and start her life over. But in order to do this, she must deceive the very men who are helping her. One of the men has a deep resentment of Indians and would abandon her if he knew she was a half-breed. Worse yet, as they cross the Colorado plains in route to the mountains, her strange attraction to another man threatens to undermine her will to find a safe place to hide, a place to once again call home.Cole Adams learned at an early age that life was about survival of the fittest. So he honed his wit, his brawn and his fast draw to become the fittest of them all. But by 1873, he's had enough of living on the edge and is determined to dodge anything that even smacks of trouble and find a more peaceful existence. Unfortunately he's also plagued with a bent for jumping in to help the under-dog. Now his problems suddenly include the unwanted responsibility of an injured old man, his nineteen-year-old grandson and a young woman wearing over-sized men's clothing and an air of trouble as thick as prairie dust. Cole's determination to stay uninvolved is not only challenged by a growing attraction to the strange and stunning young woman, but also by news from his past that will require a whole new set of skills to deal with, skills he's not sure he'll ever learn.