Modern artist Roman Velasco is haunted by the events of his past — growing up in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco. After his mother, a prostitute, disappeared, Roman (then known as Billy Ray) was shuttled between foster homes. Although loath to commit violent crimes or deal drugs, Billy Ray managed to find a family within one of the gangs in his neighborhood. He did this by “tagging,” spray-painting gang graffiti on buildings throughout the city. Roman still finds release by breaking the law and creating art on public buildings and bridges.
Grace Moore is a young divorcee with a baby. She had supported her husband while he obtained his college degree, with the understanding that he would then work while she finished school. However, not long after he graduated, he took their savings and left to set up house with another woman.
Devastated, Grace sought solace in her faith except for one night when a friend convinced her to join her at a bar. After drinking, Grace found herself dancing with a handsome man. Intoxicated and lonely, she accepted his invitation to go to his condominium. That one night of rebellion ended in pregnancy.
Originally, she planned to give the baby up for adoption. However, once she held Samuel, she could not let him go. She has lived with the people who were chosen to adopt him since Samuel’s birth, but longs to find a place of her own with her son. Selah, the woman who wanted to adopt Samuel, is growing more attached to him every day.
Grace accepts a temporary position as Roman’s personal assistant. She is immediately on guard, as Roman reminds her of her ex-husband, a good-looking player who breaks hearts. Roman tries to assure Grace that she is not his type, but he does appreciate her organizational skills and her coffee. With her in charge of his affairs, he is free to finish the paintings for his next gallery show.
Over the next few weeks, Roman finds himself attracted to Grace, as much for her good looks as for the peaceful quality she exudes, even when he exasperates her. When she finishes the work she was assigned to do, he convinces her become his permanent assistant. To sweeten the deal, she can move into the guest cottage in the back of his property. Grace arranges for her church friends to vet both Roman and the situation.
In the end, she agrees as Selah is becoming more possessive of Samuel. Selah will keep Samuel during the week, but Grace will pick him up every Friday for the weekend, until she can find reputable childcare near the cottage.
Grace moves into the cottage. While Roman is away finishing a mural for a San Diego hotel, he calls her several times, trying to get her to come visit him. She refuses. She can tell he is drunk and lonely. She tries to talk to him about her faith, but Roman has not forgiven God for allowing his mother to die. Years after Roman thought she had abandoned him, he discovered she died of a drug overdose.
While Roman is away, Grace’s friends set her up on a blind date with a widowed youth pastor named Brian. Although initially against the idea, Grace finds Brian easy to talk to and interesting. She also knows that although he is handsome, she is not physically attracted to him. She does not have to keep up her guard with him as she does with Roman. Brian invites her and Samuel to go on a beach excursion with the kids from his church, and they all have a great time.
Roman is surprised by a visit from an old friend, Jasper, who has come to attend Roman’s new gallery show. Jasper had been his teacher at a court-appointed group home. Roman is preoccupied at the show's opening by Grace’s appearance. She is beautiful in her black cocktail dress and long hair.
Grace brings Brian to the gallery, which makes Roman jealous. At home, he watches Grace and Brian kiss goodnight. In the morning, Jasper confronts him about Grace. He encourages Roman to get to know her as a person, not just an employee. The gallery owner calls to tell him that a police officer had been at the art show and asked a lot of questions about one of the paintings.
The painting in question was of blackbirds, reminiscent of the graffiti he used to do. Nervous, he decides to take a road trip on the pretense of checking out a new mural. He insists that Grace come along and promises to get her home in time to pick up Samuel for the weekend.
Over the next few days, Roman introduces Grace to the beautiful scenery in Northern California. In a rare moment of authenticity, he brings Grace to the group home he had lived at as a teenager. The owners, Chet and Susan, are thrilled to see him after so many years.
Jasper is also there. While at the ranch, Grace gains insight into Roman’s troubled past. She also finds herself liking his foster family and their obvious love for him.
Roman insists Grace take him to meet Aunt Elizabeth, the woman who raised her after her parents died. Grace knew her aunt resented her because she looked like her father. Her aunt hated her father, especially after he killed Grace’s mother. Elizabeth’s friendly demeanor surprises Grace. Roman is uncomfortable with the way they talk about God, but he appreciates Elizabeth’s warning that he better not hurt Grace.
After they leave, Roman suffers a heart attack and dies on the sidewalk. He is attacked by demons that drag him down toward hell. Roman calls out for Jesus. He is pulled out of hell by a bright light that he knows is Jesus and is brought back to life. Grace stays by his side at the hospital. Once home, Roman struggles to accept what happened to him.
Grace and Brian mutually break off their relationship, as they feel only friendship. Roman uses the opportunity to ask Grace to move in with him, not understanding that the invitation violates her faith. She quits her job and moves up north with Samuel. She begins to rebuild her life, going back to school and enjoying a loving relationship with Elizabeth.
Roman seeks out Brian, and the two men talk about Grace and faith. A deep friendship develops, and Brian mentors Roman. Over the next months, Roman sells his house and moves into an apartment by Brian’s church, a converted warehouse in the city. Brian commissions him to paint a mural, and Roman enlists the help of several ex-gang members for the project.
The mural becomes an internet sensation. After feeling God leading him, Roman reaches out to Grace. Grace learns that he is now a man following God. They get married, and Roman creates art that expresses his newfound faith.