When employment counselor Shelly Gaines goes to interview perspective new hire Tom Peterson things don't go well, or maybe they went too well. She's not so sure about Tom, but she's sure her boss, Karen, may give her job away to the dashing young applicant if she's not careful. Shelly's worries are confirmed when she hears Karen's take an Tom's potential. "Whew!" Karen says. "He's a hot topic!"
Turns out, Tom's hot in more ways than one. While on a day trip to ease her mind, Shelly stumbles upon Tom's hidden past, a past that doesn't bode well for her or her boss; if only she can get back to Glendale in time before Tom makes his move. But a little beach town, Carpinteria, keeps getting in Shelly's way. A friendly cafe, a gnarly beach bum and a town full of anxiety following a devastating wild fire interrupts Shelly's progress with generous helpings of small-town hospitality, personality disorders and gin martinis.
Will Shelly overcome Carpinteria's charm and get back in time before Tom signs Karen's offer of employment? Seems unlikely after she runs over and injures the town's favorite dog in her gin-sodden haste to get out of town.