Darcy Farthing and her friends can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Darcy left her job with Shrinden Pharmaceuticals, and her home on the bluff in Colorado Springs, to live with boyfriend Mick Clayton in Marco Island, Florida. They are exploring their new relationship and commitment to each other. She is enjoying the success of her first book while working on a new manuscript, which tells the story of their latest ill-fated cruise. Mick is commuting between Florida and Washington DC while conducting a supposedly routine U.S. Government Accountability Office audit of the Marshals Service Asset Forfeiture Program. Forfeitures are properties the marshals seize from criminals, then store, and eventually liquidate to pay restitution or support law enforcement efforts. Under an agreement with the marshals, the Geneva County Florida Sheriff’s Office stores and safeguards seized properties in secure lockers and vaults.
Mick and Darcy are thrown into a mystery peppered with violence when their friend and compatriot, Tom Smythe, is arrested for shooting a deputy sheriff two weeks after starting work as an administrative officer for Geneva County. Mick is drawn into the investigation, and to aid Tom, he taps into his professional and personal resources, including longtime friend New York senator Bill Sawyer. It soon becomes clear that the shooting is tied to corruption in the sheriff’s office. Unknown perpetrators are stealing and liquidating property forfeited by criminals and stored by Geneva County. Suddenly, Mick’s GAO assignment is no longer routine.
As Mick’s GAO team continues their audit of the asset forfeiture program, Mick realizes the corruption in the sheriff’s office is strangely intertwined with a Yemeni-Pakistani terrorist cell using smuggled pre-Columbian artifacts to raise funds for a new branch of Al Qaeda. Mick and Darcy risk their well-being when they embark on a six-day Caribbean cruise aboard a multimillion-dollar yacht where they uncover smuggling activity by the yacht’s captain and crew. Their discovery eventually leads authorities to unravel a surprising internal county scheme and to catch an unbalanced murderer, who nearly succeeds in adding Darcy to the list of victims.
While these events are producing enough trauma and stress for Darcy and friends, her birth daughter, Rachael, makes a surprise visit from Kenya where she lives with her adoptive parents, bringing with her another shocking set of problems. Darcy and Mick are thrown into a parenting and problem-solving role when Rachael’s parents are unwilling or unable to handle their daughter’s troubles. Rachael too becomes a target of desperate criminals when she takes it upon herself to help solve Tom’s attempted murder case. Darcy must face how similar she and Rachael are despite having been apart most of Rachael’s life. Even after resolving the problems in Geneva County, Darcy and Mick must still contend with the surprising and controversial family crisis that Rachael literally brings to their doorstep.