"I looked around warily, just as the boy had done. The dock was deserted. Suddenly, a shot rang out beside me! I jumped away from it so hard, I nearly tumbled into the water. Nobody was there. A sudden gust of wind had caught a loose canvas and snapped it against a mast. A shiver ran up my spine. I'd been warned again."
It's 1858, and Charlee Lebeau isn't your typical girl. She's worked as a hired hand ever since her Papa took the foreman's job on the Miller ranch in Sonoma. Thanks to her best friend Jake, the boss's son, she's learned as much as any boy. She's got big ideas. She wants a life nobody thinks a girl like her can have.
The summer she turns fourteen, however, everything begins to unravel. Jake is going off to school in San Francisco. Although she has always wanted a life of independence and adventure, Charlee is slated to take an ordinary job in the local town, and that's only the beginning of her trouble.
Her rich Uncle Jack, a professional gambler, suddenly shows up at the ranch and offers to take her to live with him in his San Francisco mansion. It's a chance to become something more than hired help and to be in the same city as Jake. But is it wise to trust a gambler's promise?...