When Caleb Landers goes to New Orleans in 1838, his primary objective is to buy a steam vessel to use in navigating the Brazos and other Texas rivers, delivering freight and picking up cotton, tobacco, and other goods for his trading station in Galveston Bay. The Texas rivers were much smaller than other great rivers of North Americathe Mississippi and the Missouri, but shared the same problemsriver pirates, who along with tax men preyed upon the unwary and the unfortunate in a time when the new country of Texas and the United States were already in a financial panic of major proportions during the depression of 1837.
Megan, the teenage daughter of an affluent planter, is captured by the crew of the Mexican Navy ship, the Santa Anna, along with her father and younger brother. She is forced to watch as her father and brother are shot and their bodies tossed overboard. She is then sexually abused and tortured by the officers.
By a fluke, Caleb and his comrades aboard the Merry Queen manage to do what others have notcapture the Santa Anna. Caleb rescues Megan, but is wounded in the process. Megan recuperates in the same bed as the wounded Caleb. Sensing that Megan is attracted to Caleb, the mischievous Lu, one of Caleb's partners, encourages Megan to make overtures to advance a love affair between them. Lu is a different kind of girl, whose sexual proclivities cause Megan to feel hesitant about what Lu is suggesting she do, but with Lu's help, Megan gets her sexuality straight and learns not only how to take care of her own needs, but how to love a man.
A different kind of sea battle provides lively action in this fifth book in the series.