Rockland Royster was diagnosed with autism and severe dyslexia as a boy. He spent a painful and hated youth at the Massachusetts Center for Children.
Now an adult, he's found his niche in life as a premier boat builder of increasing renown. It suits him to work alone in his oceanfront boat yard, accompanied by his dog, Fish, and occasionally by his childhood friend, Tramwick.
When the Center wants Rocky to return for his ten-year reevaluation, Rocky grudgingly agrees. The visit goes horribly wrong when his memories of his years in the Center's clutches send him into a tailspin during his interview with Lisa Bevier, the warm and attractive school nurse.
Rocky escapes to the Maine lighthouse he's contracted to renovate, unaware that Miss Bevier is on her way to the neighboring island on a medical emergency. As Lisa attempts to return to the mainland in the face of an impending storm, she is stranded on the lighthouse with Rocky for a cold and wind-battered night.
During the storm, they forge a connection in the face of the rising waters that flood the lighthouse, forcing them to take refuge on a higher floor. Rocky is able to find it in himself to open up to Lisa, and she discovers a man she might be able to love.
The next morning, it hits Rocky like a fist that he's lost everything in the storm. His self-worth is ripped from him, and his connection to Lisa is broken. She leaves in tears, not understanding what went wrong.
Will Rocky and Lisa get a second chance? If it's left up to his grandmother, Bette, and his friend, Tramwick, they will. When the blizzard of the century hits New England, Rocky's ensuing rescue mission quickly becomes a rescue of the heart.