A woman coming of age early in the century had few choices... unless she had independent means. Bess Steed Garner inherits a legacy -- of wealth, determination, and desire. She loves one man with all her heart only to discover the price of such devotion. She struggles with the flaws of marriage and its irresistible rewards. She sets out to conquer high society and forces oil-rich Dallas to its knees. But her own daughter may break her heart... and the man she chooses may rob her of the one thing she prizes the most -- her manipulating, delightful, bossy, and believable independence. For Bess is a woman of independent means.