Mired in a steamy, mosquito-infested thicket north of sprawling Houston, a bemused Jimmy Beard gaped at the contents of a weathered metal box resting in the shadows of the sentinel pine¡row upon row of tightly bound packets, neatly stacked in orderly layers. Should he report this trove to the authorities? He was already rich. Additional wealth offered little allure. But its challenges intrigued him. He could hide the illicit treasure¡then launder it to blunt the numbing repetition of his life. In Mexico¡¯s Nuevo Laredo, the brutal drug kingpin, Jose Luis Guerra, rallied his dark forces. Only imprudent men stole from Luis Guerra. Like hungry jackals, his vengeful minions filtered into Houston¡¯s dark crevices stalking their prey. In Scottsdale, Abbie Hart fashioned a trendy frame to showcase a western art masterpiece. Random memories stirred recollections of past loves¡scandalous ex-husband, Russel Hart¡reliable buddy, Jimmy Beard. Affairs of the heart rooted in Houston¡¯s chaotic early 1980¡¯s. A stirring deep in her belly exposed powerful lingering emotions. Russel had brought excitement¡and sadness¡into her life. Jimmy had been trustworthy, but married. Ancient sorrows¡ancient joys.