Summoned to the office of her late grandfather's attorney, Megan Holcomb is presented with a stack of journals and a mysterious locked briefcase. She is informed that her grandparents gave explicit instructions that the briefcase not be opened until Megan had read though the journals in their entirety. The initial journal entry opens in San Diego, California in 1943, where Ensign Martin Holcomb finds himself in a Naval hospital struggling with physical wounds and mental demons. At the hospital, Martin meets Navy WAVE, Sherrill O'Toole, who takes him home to her parents' ranch. He ultimately falls in love with both her and her remarkable family, especially her grandfather, who uses his own war memories to help Martin deal with his mental trauma. Murders near the O'Toole hacienda come to play an important role in the story's conclusion. Only, when Megan finishes the journal does she understand the significance of the locked briefcase.