A struggling writer with a past, Nick Gardner, gains the success he wants; a great book contract, and a cable-TV deal. A low-life Nick knew shows up to bribe him about a murder he says Nick committed one drunken night, and he has pictures to prove it. Nick goes through the murder of his friend, and being shot himself before finding that it's not about success, but the love he finds. More
Nick Gardner has a sketchy past back east and moves to Portland, Oregon for two reasons: to leave his past, and to focus on his dream of writing. He lives with his friend, Mark. Nick is a waiter who writes every day and finally gets the call every writer dreams of. It’s from an agency with a book deal, and things take off. Nick experiences success, but Vinnie Chapman, a low-life Nick knew in Atlanta, shows up to bribe Nick about a murder he says Nick committed one drunken night, and he has pictures of the dead girl. Nick can't remember it, but he does remember the girl, and she did like her sex rough. On one night did things get too rough?
Vinnie wants money, and Nick pays the first installment. A woman, Marie, mysteriously appears and Nick falls in love. He later shares the bribery story with Mark, who says he is going to check into Vinnie. Detectives show up two days later to report to Nick that Mark has been shot and killed.
Sarah, Nick and Marie meet for lunch after Mark's murder. Comments are made that Mark was going to track Vinnie down. Marie denies the possibility of Vinnie being involved, but Nick disagrees. Sarah says that she thinks that Vinnie may have killed Mark and wants Nick go with her to the Portland police to turn his self in regarding the murder of the girl, and to tell them about Vinnie, or she'll go by herself.
Portland police interview them, and then do a conference call with Nick and the Atlanta police. Reporters hound him relentlessly. The reporters are joined by enraged protesters. The police ask Nick to set a meeting with Vinnie so they can arrest him, but Vinnie doesn't show up. Marie leaves, with “a man from Atlanta”. Nick is heartbroken.
Since the police seem to be dragging their feet about Vinnie, Nick travels to Atlanta to find him. Atlanta drug dealers say they saw Vinnie, but that he had gone back west. Nick searches Portland for Vinnie. He finds Vinnie and Vinnie shoots Nick, then Portland police kill Vinnie. Nick awakens in the hospital, and after a day he is sent home with reporters and protesters in tow.
Just as Nick is discovering strong feelings for Sarah, the supposed dead girl, Sherry Chamberlain, appears. She was doing overseas as a nurse and had just found out that she was being sought. When Nick does a book signing in Seattle Sherry appears. Nick is ashamed that he is living with Sarah, but is smitten with Sherry. Sarah is killed, but Sherry and Nick begin a relationship. They marry, and Nick's writing career begins anew.
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