Despite her efforts to keep him at an arm’s length, he manages to gain her trust and a tender relationship starts to form.
A future with Tom looks certain when a misunderstanding leads Tori to wrongly accuse him of breaching her trust. She eventually recognises her mistake, but it is too late to win him back.
Tori suffers greatly from losing him, but even worse, she loses her love of teaching. She lacks the energy to be the inspiring teacher she once was, sending her on 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 - to give up teaching, to sell her house, and to find greener pastures overseas.
The decision comes as a relief, but a sudden weather change gives Tori little time to dwell on it.
Will Tori ever make it home safely to put it into action? And will Tom ever find out what happened to her?