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Have you ever lost someone who meant more to you than your own soul? Ford Newcombe has. For years he loved his wife, Pat, more than anyone -- and anything -- in the world. She came into his life when he was just an inexperienced college student with big dreams of becoming a published author. With love and humour, she guided him down the path that would eventually lead him to more success than he ever dreamed possible. Since Pat's death six years ago, Ford has lived a life of solitude, barely able to put pen to paper, and rumours are flying that it was Pat who actually created the books the world so loved. If there's one thing that Ford needs it's inspiration, and it finally comes in the guise of Jackie Maxwell -- a smart, sassy university researcher with just enough attitude to match Ford's sharp intellect. But it's her intimate knowledge of the story of a young woman's friendship with the devil -- and what the townspeople did to her -- that persuades Ford to hire Jackie as his assistant and to move to Cole Creek, North Carolina, where the story is said to have taken place. They soon learn that even though the inhabitants of Cole Creek try to deny it, they are still plagued by the consequences of the otherworldly tale of passion and death. As Ford and Jackie work to unravel the truth, they discover a connection between their lives and the past, a connection that not only helps them solve a long-ago crime but offers the promise of new love.