Deputy Karen O'Neil is a California girl, shedding the abusive husband who'd ripped her from a sun-drenched, stimulating life as a San Diego cop to isolation in rural Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Talented, attractive, and cut off from everything she wants, her rock-bottom self-esteem lunges at the mysterious airplane crash as though a life line, a chance to escape the doldrums of perceived failure in every other aspect of her life. National Transportation Safety Board investigator Adam Phlatt has his own issues. His career is going nowhere. His love life smolders in ruin after he horribly misplayed his heart, something he swears he'll avoid forever. The accident investigation is a no brainer, a simple case of too much airplane and not enough pilot. The easy inquiry over, he plans his return to Chicago and the safety of his own loneliness, yet he somehow entangles himself with Deputy O'Neil's complex personality. Karen refuses to let go of the case, or of Adam. When she discovers the pilot's life is a lie, it's a whole new ball game. Thrust from one perplexing clue to the next, they tumble headlong onto a group of criminals, intent on protecting a lucrative shadow business with violence, if necessary. Karen and Adam face an impossible confrontation, even as hope triumphs over experience, and they fall in love. Their first intimate encounter as lovers is interrupted by the disappearance of a friend under sinister circumstances. A killer targets Karen, and Adam must regain what he once was--a man tough enough to save the woman he loves. Her attention focused on a smoking hole containing the remains of a wrecked airplane and its equally wrecked pilot, will Karen O'Neil notice salvation walking up behind her?