What if you lost your job, were rapidly running out of money, discovered your young daughter had developed a life-threatening illness, and suddenly had a chance to make a lot of fast, easy cash? But the way to get it was illegal — and deadly...
What if, on your 40th birthday, forgotten once again by your intellectually superior and emotionally distant husband, you decided to run away to a remote Mexican village? But in the process of “finding yourself” you find someone else who puts your life in danger.
What if you were a 12-year-old girl from a poor family living in a small Mexican village with no prospects of getting out — or ahead — when one day, walking down the beach, you find a big plastic bag filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars? The cash will change your life, but it may also take it.
Luis Gonzalez, an honest, hard-working man from a small village in the Mexican highlands, is laid off from his construction job. As days and weeks go by with no other prospects, as money runs out, he discovers his young daughter needs surgery to repair a hole in her heart or she will die. But the surgery is expensive and he can’t possibly afford it. When he’s approached by a friend of a friend to make just one run, delivering a cache of drugs for a cartel off-shoot in exchange for a huge payoff that would pay for his daughter’s surgery, he takes a chance. But it all goes disastrously wrong. As he barrels along a deserted dirt road in the tierra caliente, the “hot land”, plumes of fine red dust swirl in his wake, obscuring what — or who — could be gaining on him. In his mounting fear, he focuses on the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the virgin of protection, dangling at the end of a string of rosary beads that swing from his rearview mirror, and whispers a silent prayer.
Meanwhile, Laurel Taylor, a lonely, 40-year-old suburban high school teacher whose professor husband has emotionally drifted away like an ice floe, spending increasing amounts of time on his research, is filled with anxiety as the years stack up and fall away like dominoes. She is afraid that she is living life on the surface; that she is missing something deeper and more meaningful if only she knew what that was. As she lies awake at night, mentally thumbing through the blank pages of her day, she feels empty and worthless. Living nearly 20 years under the shadow of her intellectual husband, following his life rather than her own, she makes the decision to escape, if only for a few months, to find out exactly who Laurel Taylor is. She rents a small casa in a remote village on the Mexican coast, intending to blend in with the locals and just “be”, hoping to learn more about herself, what she really wants for the last half of her life, and whether that includes her husband. What she doesn’t expect is that of the many locals she will meet, one will steal her heart, and another will attempt to steal her life.
Luis and Laurel’s lives are soon to intersect, under dangerous circumstances, innocently precipitated by an impoverished 12-year-old girl by the name of Pia Salinas, who finds a large plastic bag stuffed with hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, on the beach of her small village. The same beach where Laurel has rented her casa, the same beach where Luis washes ashore after going overboard in the drug deal gone bad, the same beach where the murderous double-crosser comes to recover his loot.