Marla's a little nervous about her family reunion at Florida's historic Sugar Crest Plantation Resort. It's the first time her clan will meet her fiancé, Detective Dalton Vail—and vice versa. There's little hope of much privacy. One wing of the hotel is condemned and off-limits while the rest is packed this Thanksgiving weekend with visitors, from city council members debating the feasibility of developing the property into a living history theme park to paranormal experts investigating the site's many ghosts. Not exactly a romantic getaway. The web of tension connecting Marla's relatives adds a most unwelcome tint of anxiety to the whole affair. Elderly Aunt Polly, whose Russian father, Andrew Marks, once owned Sugar Crest, is desperate to find the treasure in gemstones he hid there before the place is torn down. Meanwhile, Cousin Cynthia piques Marla's interest with talk of a family curse. Apparently the plantation was built on an Indian burial mound, and two eerie Cossacks were somehow involved in Andrew's very premature death. What one thing has to do with the other, no one can say. But when Aunt Polly is found suffocated in her bed, her nursing aide vanished, there's no excuse for silly speculations. It's time for Marla to unravel the tangle of lies that tie her family to Sugar Crest, a tangle that reaches all the way back to Tzarist Russia. And while she's on the hunt, she might as well consider those with money to lose if the demolition is delayed--like local businessmen and Cynthia's husband, who is anxious to invest in the theme park. Things get even more desperate when the body of the resort's groundskeeper is found on the nature trail. Whatever is going on at Sugar Crest, someone is willing to go to great lengths to keep it hidden. But he or she hasn't planned on Marla, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth before the killer strikes even closer to home.