Penny Himmell, a graphic artist with a newspaper, is a restless young woman, looking for some excitement in her life when the reader first meets her. She's given to dreams and fantasies to escape from her sometimes drab life. She works under pressure from a rather overbearing and unappreciative boss Tina, while her father Carl seems content to overlook her. Her relationship with the man in her life, John, has lost much appeal; he seems entirely set in his ways, not particularly romantic, perfectly fine with things as they are. Penny finds herself at a crossroads, wanting something more. Be careful what you wish for; sometimes you get it.
On an impulse, Penny joins a flirtatious pilot on a trip to Hawaii for a few days, casting aside her expectations for a healthy dose of fun. Events go awry, however, as she quickly discovers what kind of man he is, and Penny finds herself drawn into misadventure and a journey of sorts with Hawaii as a backdrop, meeting new people, both good and not so good, along the way. Tina, meanwhile, ropes Carl and John into setting out to going after Penny, and their own stories, along with those of other characters, plays out as the stories converge. Carl and John have to come to terms with understanding what Penny means to them both, while Penny herself has to figure out what she really wants out of life.