Justin St Arnaud arrives in New Orleans at the start of the nineteenth century to search for the wife and child of his dead friend. Instead, he meets Estelle Lebrun, the daughter of a French Creole gentleman, who is preoccupied with the health of her old nurse, Marietta, and her ailing father. But Justin is out for revenge and the payment of a debt owed by Estelle's father, who is unable to pay. In a fit of devilry, Justin offers her an infamous bargain: for one night in her arms, he will relinquish her father's debt. Justin's work as a privateer soon takes him to far-off waters, yet he can never forget the woman he seduced and fell in love with. But there is a secret in Estelle's past that neither of them knows about, which plunges her into terrible danger a danger from which only Justin can rescue her . . .