A Venezuelan oil port and its rough life is the setting for Margo's steadfast determination to leave the Hotel Internacional and open a ""house of her own"". As top girl for Bonita, Margo pleases all the patrons, takes a partner for her future, Isabel, a new girl who learns fast, and they refuse to see failure for their joint plans. A vacation to Curacao, where they are not to betray their profession, produces Shane O'Brien, an independent, self sufficient deep water sailor, and Margo's will melts before her love for him, as does her money when, to keep him with her, she takes on his support. And bringing him back to the Internacional creates bitter problems, with Isabel, with her madam, Bonita, and with her customers, and as Margo goes on the skids, Shane solves one aspect by walking out. It is Richard, a wandering boomer, who offers Margo another chance, to get away from the Internacional and once again try for a house of her own. Prostitution, not as a vice but as a means of life, and with ambition keyed to the terms of the profession, is a subject that is not for every reader but here its hard facts are cushioned with humanity rather than sensationalism.