Lee Haze has his sights set on escape. Even though he's only seven months deep into a twenty-year sentence at Heartlock Correctional Facility, he can already feel the outside world leaving him behind. As he plots his break out, Lee realizes his best shot at freedom is to master the art of "ducking," a specialized form of prison manipulation in which an inmate befriends a flawed guard whose improprieties can eventually be used as blackmail. Lee comes to learn that ducking is how drugs slip into prisons and, on occasion, how inmates slip out, leading him to seek out the only man who can teach him this dark craft, Continental, a convict who kills as easily as he smiles. Carving out his place in Continental's crooked labyrinth of curried favors and blood, Lee sets his sights on Tera Sharpe, a rookie guard whose tough skin hides an underlying vulnerability. All Lee needs to do now is exploit it. However, as his machinations escalate, Lee begins to fall for Tera, jeopardizing his original plan. Will he betray the woman he loves to be free, or will he find freedom in love?