Joy is a college professor who has never been seriously in love … until she meets the gorgeous widower Ray Jenkins, single parent to two teenage girls. Joy doubts her own attractiveness, but Ray makes her feel beautiful inside and out. When the girls try to undermine her role in the household, she resolves to make her marriage work, one way or another.
Ray, seemingly successful banker, finds himself facing ethical dilemmas as his associates negotiate a dubious merger and then try to hide the undesirable financial consequences. Too caught up in his business concerns, he fails to keep sight of what’s going on at home, both with his daughters and with his new wife.
Marianne has aspired all her life to please her demanding perfectionist mother, even after that mother’s death. She cannot live up to her own standards of perfectionism, either as a ballerina or as a cheerleader longing for popularity. She views her new step-mother as anything but perfect. What can her dad possibly see in Joy?
Jenny, the younger daughter, knows she could never come near to the example set by Marianne, so why try? At least she has a friend—the charming, quirky, outspoken, too old-for-her-years Claudia. Jenny can’t help fantasizing about Claudia’s bad-boy, charming brother Alex. From shoplifting to lying to drugs, Jenny follows Claudia’s lead from one escapade to another … until one night, thing get out of hand. Way out.