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Beneath the glittering façade of historic mansions and gaslit restaurants, no one tells Maureen Collins what to do. Not her father. Not the old society families of New Orleans. Not even her dead mother, who chose her groom the day her daughter was born. Refusing the husband selected for her, Maureen ventures into a world of lies, disguises and midnight rendezvous—to win the love of Ben Merritt, an intriguing stranger with something to hide.
Merritt leads a double life. By day he’s a priggish attorney; when the moon rises, he prowls the docks tracking opium smugglers. When he meets Maureen, he suppresses his desire and thinks of her as a useful tool to aid his investigation of her father—his prime suspect.
Each tries to make sense of the other’s peculiar behavior. Maureen concludes Merritt is an opium addict, while Merritt deduces that Maureen and her father are cohorts in a vast smuggling operation.
As the deceptions multiply, the stakes grow higher. When Maureen’s desperate plan to learn the truth turns deadly, only one man can identify the threads of conspiracy to save her life.