Samantha Carlyle is perfectly happy to run her diving facility but when her former lover, Adam O'Connor, arrives on the island, she realizes that she is in danger from both supernatural and human beings, with no idea who she can trust, Samantha Carlyle has lost her father because he could not give up his love of the sea and since the resort she runs is close to the Bermuda Triangle, there is always a little intrigue to choose from. However, when the man she had once loved dearly, Adam O'Connor, appears on the island, she soon realizes how easy her life was just a day or two ago. The very night she sees him, she is almost kidnapped by a mysterious man in black and Adam saves her.
She has known for some time that both her father and friend died because of an ancient mystery. Even though she wonders occasionally about the secrets about the Eyes of Fire, which are a set of valuable, mysterious and ancient rubies that many look for and nobody survives to find, she has no burning desire to become another casualty of its magic.
Unfortunately, some of the bad guys who are looking for the rubies do not believe she does not know more about them and therefore, she is almost kidnapped by people who are willing to commit violence to obtain the fortune the rubies are worth.
Eventually, it is discovered that the Belladona, which held the rubies for decades, was believed to possess both magical abilities and many other riches. Essentially, some divers thought that if they could get to that long-abandoned ship, they could claim the rubies for money and determine what it was about the ship that made it magical and use that to get everything they ever wanted.
There are some problems with that, the first being that nobody is sure where the boat was wrecked and if the rubies were that easy to get, they would not still be there. In addition, the ship broke into pieces and the currents have moved the remains substantially over the years. No map could be accurate and the shipwreck occurred in the Bermuda Triangle, where mysteries literally go to die.
The reader is also introduced to the Steps. They are rumored to have been dug by humans a million years ago and allegedly are the gateway to Atlantis. Logically, water changes and pressure created them, but they do seem very precise for something not man-made. Regardless, they are near to the Island where the mystery occurs and go down to the ocean at a precise level. Among other things, they are used to provide scuba diving classes.
The Mystery of the Steps, its existence and use was never totally explained and in fact, is remarkably similar in description and type to Bimini Road, which actually exists under a similar mystery in the Bermuda area. However, in this book, the characters use it as a drop off spot for scuba diving and as a map of sorts for characters to know exactly where in the water they are. Eventually, it is discovered that parts of the Belladonna rested safely under the steps and had been there the whole time.
Samantha is kidnapped, almost raped and forced to share everything she knows, has heard or believes about the mysterious rubies. She is held during this time on a ship and upon her escape is still in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the night and alone. She manages to make it to shore and she thinks she is safe for a while. Unfortunately, she is wrong.
It is soon established that one of the mysterious people on the island recently, Jerry, is Sam's biological mother who left her soon after giving birth. She was also an avid diver and eventually had the bad luck to witness Sam's father being killed. The really bad guys who had attempted murder, kidnapping, theft, etc. were a couple named Sukee and Joey and they were the murderers. They wanted the rubies and the ship that contained it.
They had no attachment to the island and prior to arriving there, virtually no knowledge of anyone on the island. They did it only for money and were caught. However, too many good people died before they were caught, but their actions allowed the mystery of Samantha's father's death and the location of the Rubies, to be discovered. Upon a final dive to the long-drowned boat, the rubies were found in the eyes of a skeleton and it is clear that everyone on the boat had, willingly or not, died for the rubies and were buried underwater with them. The lovers left them there at the end of the book, believing that they were safer without the cursed jewelry.
Best part of story, including ending:
did not like this story very much, although I didn't hate it, because there was not enough character explanation or growth. There were many, many characters who appeared throughout the book and except for the main characters, none of them were memorable. It was not an interesting or exciting book, it must have been a bad few months for the author, because her other works have been much better.
Best scene in story:
After Sam escapes from her kidnappers, she is swimming away from them and to shore. My pet peeve with this book was that nobody seemed to be nervous about the non-magical things that can kill you in the ocean, like sharks, bleeding to death, freezing to death, drowning, etc. Therefore, as she tried desperately to make it to shore, being slapped in the face and shoved backwards by the waves, and remembering everything she ever heard about what it felt like to be killed by sharks, it seemed accurate and appropriate.
Opinion about the main character:
Although the book did not keep my interest, Samantha Carlyle did. She was independent and not afraid to stand up for herself and when her long-lost-ex-boyfriend showed up, she did not just fall into his arms. She ran a business and loved the ocean, this was a strong character for girls to emulate.