A masculine code, dredged from ancient values forged by warriors "thou shalt harbor pain, fear, and emotions," prevented him from breaking down, from admitting he loved her. The mantra: "there is not future for us," had become Biblical.
Bud Daniels lived by codes of the old west, even if vowed in modern day. Along comes a beautiful, sophisticated, and forceful woman with a funny accent, who wishes to join his trail ride, and he submits his heart and body to become part of her adventure package. Martie Malone, the city gal from Boston, was hired to perform a bank audit in rural Cleveland, Texas near the Piney Woods, and discovered an expansive world where the sky stretched bigger, the land spread wider, and the people went untamed. Marie's adventure comes to a halt when a near death tragedy occurs on Bud's trail ride to Houston. Sick with self-loathing and guilt, Bud sends Martie back to her own kind in Boston, to people who can take better care of her than he has done. Her feminine impulse impels her to go to him, to prove she can cleanse his heart of self-recrimination and erase his pain with her love.
Little does Martie know that Bud's world hides dark secrets and her work at the bank not only made her a target, but the trail ride accident may have been part of a sinister plan. She learns the Ku Klux Klan is active in east Texas, Bud's father is a hatemonger and member of a radical militia, and would-be citizens of Texans First are resurrecting the defunct idealogy of the Republic of Texas, a nation independent of the United States. While recuperating in Boston, she hears the news, "There you have it, ladies and gentleman of Texas, the latest saga of hometown events which have put Cleveland on the map. Officials of the Republic deny it had anything to do with the crimes of Pinkie Laroux, a businessman who was attempting to run for office in the Republic by pledging considerable amounts of money to the cause, money he obtained through embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, and murder. The schemes, the murders, the kidnappings, and the very concept of a Republic, are about greed and power."