Tori Calvert had survived the most horrific event that can ever happen to a woman. She was raped nearly seven years ago, and although she survived the attack, she hadn't figured out how to live with it much less move beyond it. She did have a full life counseling at the center, but had never really had a personal life. Seeing her brother Tick so happy with Cait, and the baby they were expecting, highlighted what was missing in her life. Tori thought if she ever could figure a way to move on, she would like to do it with Mark Cook. He was her brother's best friend, and partner, so she knew him well, but couldn't drive away the extremely lustful thoughts she had begun having about him recently.
Mark Cook coasted through life. He hadn't truly lived since the disappearance of his wife and unborn child. He didn't even try to move on because he was to blame for their presumed deaths, and would carry that guilt forever. If it was possible he hated himself even more because of the feelings he was developing for Tori. He knew they could never be together forever, but couldn't keep fighting the losing battle. He knew what she had gone through, and what Tick would do if he found out he was harboring these feelings for his baby sister. In spite of all the reasons they shouldn't be together, he still wanted her with a fierceness that scared him.
As these two tortured souls try to put the pieces of their lives back together, they cautiously move toward a future together. Just as they start to have hope, they are dealt one devastating blow after the other. After three miscarriages, Cait is heartbroken when she goes into early labor, and the future of her unborn child is uncertain. Then Tick is the recipient of news that puts his life at risk. The most devastating news of all comes when Mark is notified that his missing wife may have been found - alive!!
This Hearts of the South series is so compelling, and well written. Since this is a continuing series, you get to know all these incredible characters. I didn't think any other story in the series could equal Book 4, but this one came very close. While this is supposed to be Tori and Mark's story, Cait and Tick's tale is expanded and continued in this very emotionally charged offering. Make sure you have a tissue handy because I was close to tears more than once.