Lila was a natural born artist, drawing before she could pick up finger foods. Where most kids were selling lemonade, Lila was sketching portraits and selling them. It is no surprise then when she is accepted on full scholarship to a prestigious art school in the Northeast. Yet, over the summer, she meets Michael. The two fall for each other. She struggles to deal with conflicted feelings, the constant desire she has for him, and what appears to be his fickleness.
She is finally able to move forward, forget Michael, as she transitions to her new college, Beckett, and becomes enamored with the dean, Chad Dillinger, a well-respected faculty member with a stunning wife and two children. Yet, Chad is controlling, targets Lila, knows her every move, controls her with his experimental meditative sessions, which make her lose all anxiety and perform at high levels. Lila craves the sessions, but begins to feel claustrophobic as Chad discourages her from connecting with anyone outside of the Beckett community. She finds a way to make it more manageable by creating a website to show her art.
David Standish another artist from New Hampshire, reaches out to her, offers her a proposal she can’t resist, a partnership taking on some of his clients. Lila decides to reconnect with David Standish, and accept his offer. Soon after arriving to the small community called Bountiful, Lila discovers eccentricities--nudists, communal living, open relationships, and she considers maybe it is not the place for her. But David is irresistible, seduces her, sets her up in his studio, sends her some clients, wealthy ones. She begins to acclimate to her environment. She feels less tension, can have David anytime she wants and her art is selling.
But when David introduces her to his newest model, a fragile, brooding runaway, Katie, Lila discovers she is a minor, everything turns upside down. She notices David is bewitched by Katie, intent upon keeping her a secret. Lila is faced with a moral dilemma. In order to remain in Bountiful, she must ignore David’s escapades with Katie, and his fixation on her, or ruin him, and possibly her art career, by reporting him to the authorities. In doing so, she risks facing her own insecurities and fear of commitment, the real reasons she found solace in Bountiful.