After five years in the California mountains, Birdie Banks longs to return to civilization. Her father is gone and mining camps are no place for a lady alone. With the help of her Asian manservant, Lin Sing, Birdie hires Jedidiah Evans to escort them down the mountain. Jed is a big man, strong and capable and Birdie knows that God sent him to help get them back to Sacramento and to her fiancé Nelson O’Neil.
Nelson is a highly successful California merchant. He’s a bit older than Birdie, but they have been corresponding through letters for the last five years. Now the time as come for them to be together and Birdie can hardly wait. The treacherous trip down the mountain will be more than worth every danger they will face.
Making sure a tiny woman and Chinese man get down the mountains safely will be too easy. Jed is almost embarrassed to take her money, but when they are set upon by would-be thieves the truth comes out: Birdie and Lin Sing are transporting a fortune in gold. They need Jed to protect it—and Birdie—as she makes her way back to town.
Jed hates everything about gold. He lost his brother on the mountain and the precious time he spent looking for a way to save the family ranch in Texas. Birdie agrees. She lost her father and her health. She may have found a fortune, but she has learned the hard way that wealth can be a curse as well as a blessing. That’s why she’s giving it all to the church as soon as she gets back to town.
Once in Sacramento, Birdie gives Jed the money he needs to save his family’s land, though he refuses to take it. How can he take the money from her when he’s fallen in love with her? Yet with a fiancé as perfect as Nelson O’Neil why would she ever fall for a common man like him?
Birdie is confused by her feelings, conflicted over the time she spent loving Nelson from afar to the days and nights she spent with Jed, riding, walking, talking, just being. He’s a good man, a godly man. Still how could she fall in love with someone in a matter of days? She couldn’t. Not when she has loved Nelson for the last five years.
But like gold, love is strange and treasure is in the eye of the beholder. And she’ll have to choose between the treasure she has always known and the one God sent especially for her.