Feisty research biologist Adrienne Matthews is trying to find evidence tying the decline in Steller sea lion numbers to the Exxon oil spill. Now, Stellers are being found dead of gunshot wounds, and when she approaches the commercial fishermen for help, she finds only animosity. Brody Keaton is a retired, physically and emotionally wounded ex-soldier hiding in Seward from the debris of two failed marriages. A pilot and wildlife lover, he becomes Matthews' one reluctant volunteer. An uneasy alliance forms as the yearly sea lion count proceeds. Together they devise a plan to catch the sea lion shooter, but the poacher they are seeking has friends, and other much more deadly interests. An even greater challenge may be the rediscovery of trust; their growing attraction to each other requires it, and so will their very lives.