Johnny Ryan is a facile writer of best sellers, and he's a womanizer. At a party in L.A. to celebrate the publication of his third book, he's arranged an assignation with one of the catering crew when he meets Mercy, a writer in town from New York. She turns out to be a critic whose review savages his book. He calls on her at her hotel, invites her out, and they find they enjoy each other. When her brief stay in L.A. is to end, he asks her to stay. Jump ahead: he's bearded, alone, and emotionally shut down. He visits his father, a university professor from whom he's estranged. What's going on? Where's Mercy?