In the summer swelter of New Orleans, society girls talk of eligible young men, and of whom they will marry. For Augusta Lafayette, only the scandalous Beauregard Clay will do. He is years older than she -- and dangerous by all accounts. But Gussie wants to make him hers -- forever. How was she to know that the ritual she performed was not the joke her friends said it was? How was she to know she would soon love someone else? How was she to know that forever meant beyond the grave?