When Alecia is summoned to Denlin County, Oklahoma, by her recuperating sister, the last place she expects to find herself is back in the classroom. A respected educator in Minneapolis, Alecia agrees to fill a tempory vacancy at the country school, while finding her true calling after work on her sister's ranch.
At once Alecia is charmed by J. D. Lassiter, a strangely troubled girl in her class. However, when Alecia meets J. D. 's father, Rayne, a handsome widower, she is not prepared for what she finds. Here is a loving, intelligent man who, for reasons unknown to Alecia, refuses to let his daughter blossom into adolescence.
Many in Denlin County know the tragic reason behind Rayne's behavior. By common consent, they realize what Alecia is hesitant to admit: Only she has the key to unlock the prison of the Lassiters' past.