Ben Rydell left River’s End in the wake of the fire that destroyed much of his family’s ranch, the valley surrounding it and changing the life of the citizens of his small hometown. Taking off without a word of warning to his family Ben runs east across several states to escape the loss that he can’t accept, nor the actions that compounded the tragedy. He has betrayed the love of his life in a way that he doesn’t believe can ever be forgiven or excused. His life is over as far as he’s concerned. There is nothing left to live for except to survive. Until one day his father hunt’s him down and with his arrival Ben learns a secret, and perhaps the only thing that could draw him back to the devastation he left behind.
Jocelyn Jantz figured out in her late teens that her crush on her friend Ben Rydell would not end well for her because he only saw her as the annoying neighbor tomboy he often fought with. When Ben marries Jocelyn’s nemesis Jocelyn nurses years’ worth of anger and hurt as she watches them set up a life, even as she understands what Ben doesn’t; it’s all an illusion.
Until the day of the greatest fire in state history that burns through them, ripping all of them apart and bringing out a passion that is as explosive as the fire burning. But because of that and the ensuing aftermath of the fire Jocelyn realizes that Ben will hate her always with a heat that rivals the core of the firestorm. She has taken from him the honor he has always prided himself on. And when he leaves she knows he is lost to her, even as her secret threatens to destroy not only herself but what is left of who Ben Rydell once was.