After her mother's death, six-year-old Jaycee Stevens is neglected by her alcoholic father and decides she would rather be beaten than ignored. She grows up in rural Alabama and takes crap off no one, and she lives in fear of anyone finding out she is also a love-starved little girl terrified of being abandoned in the dark. Her heart is broken when her first love, Cole McGee, won't go to college with her because of his family obligations, but her intrepid spirit and her talent for softball carry her forward to her goal of becoming a journalist--until she is tripped up in college by a poor little rich boy named Bud Stanton, who turns out to be the male version of herself.
Jaycee and Bud are an emotional paradox: drawn together because they're so much alike and constantly at war for the same reason. They fight as frequently and as physically as they make love. They manage to stand together against Bud's manipulative father, Mack Stanton, and live in happy poverty until they get out of college, then Jaycee gets the chance to take an apprenticeship with a women's magazine in New York that scares Bud into proposing.
Jaycee's rollercoaster life with Bud is gritty, touching, and funny, and just when she thinks she has made it safely to the end of the ride, her childhood and her first love come back to derail her when she has to go back to Alabama to see her dying father and face her biggest fear of all: what happened to her in the dark?
This report prepared by Joyce Scarbrough