Interior designer Tess McKenzie finds herself in Apple Valley, Washington, sorting through the house and antique shop of her late sister and brother-in-law after they were killed in a car accident. Three weeks before Christmas and Tess can see nothing but piles of junk and a house in total need of being organized and having some tender loving care put into it.
Along with the house comes Aunt Gertrude, a woman who has her won way of doing things and sometimes she is a bit on the crazy side too. Gertrude raised Tess and her sister Emily from young children, so she is like a mother to Tess. There is also Alex, who is the son left behind when his parents were killed in the accident. Alex has his own problems, as he is a bit on the hyper side.
Arriving in Apple Valley from Annapolis, Maryland, Tess realized she was not going to be able to just dump the house on the market and take Gertrude and Alex back to her own home and be able to resume her job.
Cade Cunningham is sheriff of Apple Valley and a former special person in Tess's life. Cade wants to help Tess with the mess she has found herself in, but with her headstrong ways, she wants to do things herself.
Zimmerman Beck is a neighbor to Tess's recently inherited house and was not happy to see so much trash around the area. He started bugging the local sheriff to arrest Tess, or do something to get the eyesore out of there.
Adding some humor to this story is the tifts Zim and Aunt Gertrude have between themselves. The attempts to meet half way goes against Gertrude's wishes and shows how frisky she can get.
Cade and Tess find they are together more than they planned, the past seems to still be a link between them. As Tess works on fixing up the old Victorian house and deciding to try and make a go of the antique business, she also finds she likes the life of the small town and realizes its value.
Many changes take place, and not just for Tess, but also for Alex and Gertrude that are good and wholesome. Cade is sure the future will be much better than the past, but Tess is not so quick to agree .