Psychology professor Vanessa Paris receives word that her father has disappeared from his fishing boat in Puget Sound and rushes to her childhood home in the San Juan Islands to try to help find him. Tragedy has been no stranger to Vanessa--years ago her mother died and more recently, her brother. The possibility of losing her father now is almost too much to bear. But when Vanessa arrives at the family owned tourist lodge, she meets Lowell Maxwell, who offers to help her search for her father. Back in high school, Vanessa harbored a secret, unrequited crush on Lowell. Now, he's a tough, jaded cop on leave from L.A., working for her father as a carpenter on a temporary basis, and even more dangerously appealing. Vanessa and Lowell are like sunshine and darkness. Despite her losses, she focuses on positive action and the good in people. Lowell, however, chases down the bad guys, flirts with danger, sometimes even death--and he's determined he'll soon return to the force in L.A. Is there still a chance of finding Vanessa's father alive and well? Can she take a chance on loving Lowell, risking the possibility of his dying too? And what is the dark secret that has driven him back home, a secret that has convinced him there's no longer any room in his heart for love?