After her boyfriend dumps her for a teenage pop starlet, Caroline Curran moves to a rental house so far outside of downtown Atlanta that even her closest friends cannot reach her. Short, stacked, and soft-hearted to a fault, Caroline allows her failed relationship to drag down her songwriting career.
An influential friend in the music business sends a gift to inspire her to write some new songs: a talented young singer named Trent Buckney whose beautiful voice is overshadowed by his stony demeanor and poor White trash accent.
Running from a violent past, feeling overworked and underpaid, and dealing with the overwhelming responsibility of his mother and sister, Trent is desperate to work with Caroline both for money and for a break from his dismal life. The songwriter and the singer form an uneasy relationship cemented by their mutual willingness not to ask questions that neither wants to answer.
However, just a few days together in Caroline's house stir up artistic admiration and arousal while they collaborate on a song, "The Way That You Play It." They try to sublimate their attraction into forming a band and recording a single, but late nights full of torrid blues music only feed their festering sexual tension. They engage a raw romance that is put to the test when Trent's past catches up to them both. Facing the consequences of his actions leaves Trent with one chance, at one pivotal performance, to turn his feelings for Caroline into more than a one-hit wonder.
On opposite sides of the same guitar, they both learn that love isn't limited to the hand that you're dealt if you gamble on The Way That You Play It.