Hanford Stone carries with him a past as heavy as his name implies when he arrives in Beaux Bridge, Ohio, he a modern day flimflam man for Nearly Diamond Corporation, an energy company hoping to sell its high-sulfur coal. No one senses his burden, given his bright facade and dynamic demeanor. Surely not Hasten Edmond whose beauty, unequalled in the town, is emphasized by ebony-marbled eyes and shaft-dark mane which hints of how her persona plays the light of reflection at once with the clarity of diamond and with the carbon black of coal. She contrives to possess Hanford as she has every man of her desire, and is stunned when she finds her only competition ever in the personas of Allison, Grace, and Mary-each woman with varying allures, all unachievable by Hasten-and all sought by a man whose search for love demands more than beauty and wit. She sees Hanford as a contemporary in every way, but cannot fathom that part of him from a different timescape, tradition, sense of self. Nor can Hanford, a man in flight and in denial-even as he succumbs to the abundance of love he helps Hasten find within herself.