Tori has put up with Gerard’s bullying for so long, she is surprised when Tom, a visiting adviser to her school, turns into an ally she doesn’t really want. Fiercely independent and wary of people (except for children, of course), she is perfectly capable of dealing with Gerard by herself.
Despite her efforts to keep Tom at an arm’s length, he manages to gain her trust, and a tender relationship starts to form. A future with Tom looks certain until a misunderstanding leads Tori to pull away from him. When she recognises her mistake, it is too late to win him back.
The breakup affects her greatly, down to the one constant she could always fall back on in times of crisis: her love of teaching. Tori fails to meet her own high expectations of an inspiring teacher which leads her onto a downward spiral of feelings of inadequacy and guilt.
After weeks of misery, Tori takes to the hills of Central Otago to clear her head. High up in the tussock country she loves so much, she realises that it is time to move on and let go of the past.
The decision comes as a relief, but a sudden weather change gives Tori little time to dwell on it.
Will Tori make it home safely to put her decisions into action? And will Tom ever find out what happened to her?