Thirty three year old romance velist Penelope Eames moves to Spain to avoid her oppressive father and drug-addicted brother, Dermot. When she meets Ramon, a young Spanish school teacher, she is immediately attracted to him and feels the happiness that eluded her all her life may at last be hers. However, she receives a distress call from Dermot saying he is at the mercy of Charlie Eliot, a pimp and drug dealer on the Costa. Ramon, whose mother was killed by a drug addict, tells her to have thing to do with Charlie Eliot. Penelope must decide: is she prepared to compromise herself with Charlie Eliot and jeopardise her chance of happiness with Ramon for the sake of her drug-addicted brother?