Joanna Clifford just can’t say yes to a proposal of marriage from one of Seattle’s most desirable bachelors. And she doesn’t really know why. After running off to do some soul-searching, she finds herself traveling with a group of strangers in southwest France. But her companions don’t stay strangers for long, as she gains friends, enemies and a new lover—a French lover—whose passion ignites surprising forces in conservative Joanna.
Blame it on the Black Virgin of Rocamadour. Not only does she represent the darker forces of femininity—subversive, sexual forces—some women believe the Black Virgin grants sexual license. Jo joins the Cult of the Black Virgin, and is freed to indulge her lust for Lucien LaPlante, the charming athletic archaeologist who introduces her to the sensual pleasures of his culture. Taking the most thrilling ride of her life, Jo submits to him, discovering the joy of giving up control.
But lust is only temporary.