Anny Butler is a caretaker, first for her own brothers and sisters, and then as a director of an agency devoted to the welfare of children. What she has never had is a real family. That changed when she met and married Lewis Aiken, an exuberant surgeon fifteen years older than Anny. When they marry, she finds her family -- a group of Charleston childhood friends who are inseparable, who are one another's surrogate family. They are called the Scrubs, andthey all, in some way, have the common cord of family.Upon meeting them at the old beach house on Sullivans Island, which they co-own, Anny knows that she has found a home. They vow, when the time comes, to find a place where they can live together by the sea.
When bad things begin to happen -- a hurricane, a fire -- the remaining Scrubs cling together. They are watched over and bolstered by Camilla Curry, the heart and core of their group. Annyherself allows Camilla to enfold and to care for her. It is the first time she has felt this kind of love and support. They move to a newisland retreat, the beginning of their long-awaited life together, andAnny must learn that some loves carry a secret and terrible price.