"BUT I WON'T."
With these words Alisha Defoe dramatically breaks the family bonds that chain her life. Now what is she going to do with her newfound freedom? She knows one thing: she needs to find a place where she's not known, where she can succeed - or fail - on her own.
That place turns out to be Vandalia - a small historic town on the Ohio River, described as "the most out-of-the-way place on earth." There Alisha finds a job on, of all things, a showboat named The Mountain Laurel.
There, too, she meets Zachary Martin. Zach also works on The Laurel, and it is his kindness that steers her through her first overwhelming weeks on the boat. As they work together, bringing characters to life ans singing vaudeville songs, they're naturally drawn to each other. But Zach knows something deadly that might separate them forever - and he's afraid.