In this book, life in Mercy Hospital's emergency room is life not only unmasked but stripped to the bone. Crises are the daily fare of Mercy's staff, headed by Dr. Thomas Graystone, a man enormously dedicated, yet also rigid and proud, thus far immune to the fevers and messiness of love. Alice Straugh also suffers from a hardening of the heart. Having defied her wealthy parents to become a nurse, she is determined to lead a different life. The arrival at the hospital of an abused child breaks down her defenses and she discovers her own fierce tenacity, strength, and determination to pursue something of her own. Dr. Elias Glass was head of the ER until his untimely death in a shooting incident. His spirit cannot bring itself to leave the hospital until he has finished the work he has left undone. Crow Durango, a recent widow of a brilliant musician, keeps her scars close and secret while she sweeps the emergency room floors. Unlike the victims she sees daily, her pain is private. Yet there is too much life in Crow for her to continue 'wanting nothing she can't afford to lose'. One night she is persuaded to go to a jazz club, where a virtual stranger recognizes in her not the invisible, anonymous face of one of the overworked poor, but the transformed expression of a passionate woman, a woman whose life beyond the hospital walls he might never have guessed at, and now feels compelled to know.... Here in Mercy Hospital among the living and the dead, the crack addicts and the crash victims, love strikes two unlikely people. In this story of love, unforgettable characters are confronted with the boundaries of class and the vagaries of pride and prejudice in the 1990s.