Jessica Riley is a psychiatrist whose experience with catatonic trauma is personal as well as professional: she brought her beloved sister Melissa back from total mental withdrawal with her patience and skill. When the daughter of the president retreats into blankness after seeing her nanny and her Secret Service protector murdered, Jessica is summoned to treat the little girl. Although Jessica can't reach into her young patient's frightened mind, Melissa can--and only Melissa understands why Cassie's so afraid. When Michael Travis, the mysterious and not totally benign stranger who rescued Cassie from the kidnap-assassination that traumatized her, arrives at Jessica's Virginia estate, he's able to stop the child's nightmares long enough for Melissa to join Cassie in her self-imposed darkness and pull her back into the light. But the price he asks for his continued presence is one that Jessica, Melissa, and the president may not be able to meet. Is he an ally or an enemy? Even Melissa isn't sure--and her complicated feelings for Travis and Cassie are especially tortured because her unusual gifts allow her to see a bloody future for both of them, one she may not be able to prevent.