Driven from the Dumas mansion back to her beloved bayou, Ruby's only hope is that fate will let her begin anew....
Living again in a humble shack, Ruby is determined to make a secure and happy home for her precious infant daughter, Pearl. Paul Tate -- her first love, whom she was forced to abandon -- is at her side once more, now a man of dazzling wealth. When he whisks her into his grand house, it seems their future is assured. As mistress of Cypress Woods, Ruby can forget even the shocking reason she and Paul must wed in a secret ceremony and remain husband and wife in name alone.
But the thick, expensive walls of Cypress Woods cannot shut out the terrible memories that have woven their fabric over her destiny, or the cold eyes of Paul's mother Gladys, reminding Ruby of the secret she must keep to give Pearl a loving father. Then her venomous twin sister, Gisselle, arrives to taunt her with news of Beau Andreas, the true father Pearl has never met, and the only man Ruby will ever long for with all her body and soul. Desperate to find the complete, fulfilling life she craves, Ruby builds a precarious new existence, a flimsy shanty of hope that the first flood washes away. Only when the storm exposes the very blackest evils of the past will she glimpse the rainbow's fragile promise, a morning of sunshine and laughter with a family of her own....
The third entry begins with Ruby and her daughter Pearl living in the bayou, Ruby having fled New Orleans at the end of the last book. Paul Tate, Ruby's half-brother, tries to convince her to marry him so he can take care of them both. Ruby is touched by his love but is reluctant to marry, partly because they are related, partly because she knows that Paul's mother, Gladys, hates her. She eventually agrees after she is almost raped by Buster Trahaw. Octavius Tate, Paul's father, tries to convince Ruby not to marry Paul, offering her a substantial amount of money to move away and start again, but Ruby has little respect for his opinion, as he raped her mother, and the marriage goes ahead, on the understanding that it is for show only.
At first, Ruby is happy. Paul is a loving father figure to Pearl and treats Ruby with great respect. She has space and time to continue her paintings and her reputation as an artist is growing. Then her twin sister Giselle reappears. Giselle has now fully regained the use of her legs. She brings the news that their Uncle Jean committed suicide at the mental institution and Beau Andreas, Pearl's father, broke up with his fiancée in France. Some point after her first visit, she writes to Ruby to let her know that Daphne died in a horseriding accident. Later on, Giselle marries Beau, mainly out of spite towards Ruby. Tormented by their loveless marriages, Ruby and Beau begin a secret affair. Beau is at ease with the arrangement, as he is sure Giselle also takes lovers, but Ruby feels terrible guilt, as she knows that Paul truly loves her and would be very hurt if he discovered what was going on.
After another visit to Cypress Woods, Giselle is stricken with encephalitis from a mosquito bite and becomes deathly ill with no chance of recovering. Beau and Ruby take advantage of this situation to pretend Giselle is Ruby and vice versa. Paul is not happy about it, but goes along with the plan because he knows that it will make Ruby happy. Ruby finds it difficult to act like Giselle, and Paul becomes convinced himself that it really was Ruby who died. Grief stricken, Paul goes off into the swamps drunk with grief and inadvertently drowns.
After Paul's death, Gladys Tate seeks revenge on Ruby, as she knows it was really Giselle who died. Most of the town believe Paul to be Pearl's father, so Gladys tries to get custody of Pearl. At the custody trial, Ruby reveals her true identity, but Gladys sways public sympathy in her favor by disclosing the affair. Left with no other choice, Ruby pleads with Octavious to tell the court that Gabrielle Landry was Paul's mother, not Gladys, which he does to Gladys' horror. Ruby and Beau keep custody of Pearl.
The book ends with Ruby having twin boys, Pierre and Jean, named for Ruby's father and uncle respectively.