Grief-stricken by the death of her parents, Sophie Benton is forced to leave her home in Missouri and go to Texas to live on a ranch outside of Austin. She is thrown into the middle of a long standing rivalry between two branches of a powerful family dynasty. The heirs to these family fortunes, Luke Blair and Cole Shelby, contend all their lives for wealth and political control and, finally, for Sophie, herself. Their passions, their fury and greed result inevitably in murder. At first glance, Sophie sees Texas as a cruel, unforgiving place. What holds her to this land is her passionate, seemingly hopeless, love for Luke Blair. She has an adversary in the young beautiful girl, Carmelita, who lies and plots to get what she wants from the domineering Shelbys and brings them to their knees. This is the story of a powerful love that prevails against forces of ambition, lust and, finally, vengeance that is inflicted Texas-style. Sophie discovers that there is more to Texas than the one portrayed in the movies about the uncouth, uneducated oil tycoon, flaunting diamonds and fancy duds. It is a thriving, changing fascinating place where cultures clash, fortunes rise and fall, and violence is embedded in its fabric. She is drawn in by the Texas Mystique, and in the end, for all its harsh land, violence and fierce independence of its people, she agrees with John Steinbeck, who wrote, Texas is an obsession.
Shirley Kays lives in Austin, Texas, but came from Missouri originally. She finds Texas a country in itself with a mystique that dates back to the Spanish conquistidors and the Indians who were here before them. She has four grown children and three grandchildren. Second only to family, writing has always been her chief love.