Wade Sullivan, contractor and confirmed bachelor, couldn't believe he was soon to be a married man. Falling in love with divorced Starr Parnell was the best thing that ever happened to him. Becoming stepfather to her three delightful children was soon to be the second. Wade could hardly wait until he and Starr were wed and made their little family official. When Wade finds Starr dead at his house she was helping to renovate, his happy world came to a screeching halt. How would he ever go on without Starr? Who would care for her beloved orphaned children?
Grieving for his lost love, Wade finds himself caretaker of Starr's three children, along with Starr's sister Sophie. Not one for dealing with kids, Sophie refuses to take the children in and leaves them in Wade's care instead. When Starr's abusive ex-husband Darrin Parnell arrives on Wade's doorstep asking for his children back, Wade finds himself in a custody battle for the children. With a court system bent on keeping families together, does unrelated Wade have any claim to the children? Will Wade's claim that he loves the children as his own have any impact?
Social worker Dee Thackery is touched by a case of three orphaned children added to her caseload. She must determine if the children's needs will be best suited by remaining with their caretaker, Wade Sullivan, or by being returned to their natural father. The decision becomes an even greater problem when Dee begins to fall in love with Wade. With the rule that no social interaction is allowed between them, will they ever acknowledge their feelings for each other? Can Dee remain a neutral party in the heated custody battle? Can Dee heal Wade's broken heart, and his adopted family?
Deborah Raney has written a deeply moving novel of love and loss. The story itself could have come off the front page of any newspaper it is so realistic. I found myself moved to tears several times by the strong emotions this novel presents. The happiness-turned-tragedy is so touching I felt as if I were riding an emotional roller coaster. The characters were so well structured it seemed as if they were actual people suffering this tragedy, as I'm sure there probably have been cases much like this in real life. The strength of God's love comes shining through, as Wade must deal with the loss of the love of his life and a test of his faith. This is one novel I couldn't put down and thoroughly enjoyed reading.