Carmen Navarro rings up customers at the Quikmart, bored to tears. It's a job, and she needs it. But Carmen's true love is music: she dropped out of high school to sing with the Gypsy Lovers and land a recording contract, someday. Just a few miles away, Ryan Sweeney hunches over his books, a studious cadet with his eye on West Point. There's not a single girl at the Valley Forge Military Academy, and that's fine by him. But when Ryan, on a day pass from campus, spots Carmen, with her shining black hair and snake tattoo, his pulse quickens. Carmen, who normally rolls her eyes at the stiff Academy soldados, can tell this one is different. She slips him a note: ';Come hear my band.' A romance begins, unlikely, passionate . . . and quickly imbalanced. In an enthralling narrative of obsessive love, the novel builds to a stunning close.Inspired by the novella and opera Carmen, Jen Bryant creates a strong-minded and alluring heroine in this contemporary tale of tragic love.From the Hardcover edition.