More than a decade ago, the Beckets, an insular family of accumulated orphans and their patriarch, Ainsley, established themselves in an enormous, nearly fortress-like mansion they constructed on the wild and beautiful coast of Romney Marsh. Nobody bothered them, and they invited no one into their orbit.
A Man With A Mission
The oldest orphan is Chance Becket, once a pickpocket and wharf rat on an island near Jamaica, now transported to the wilds of Romney Marsh. Determined to forget who he was in favor of the man he is determined to become, he departs Romney Marsh for the society of London and a convenient position in the War Office. Now widowed, with a young daughter, he’s ordered to return to his home to ferret out the smugglers who may be aiding Napoleon Bonaparte.
The Curious Miss Carruthers
Newly hired governess Julia Carruthers is eager to escape the confines of London. Yet the excitement of the journey to Chance’s strange home is nothing compared to her attraction to this complicated man. But when Julia sees something she should not, she wonders if Chance's romantic intentions are prompted by ungentlemanly desire or his need to protect his family's secrets...
Kicking off a new series in fine form, seasoned romance novelist Michaels introduces the Beckets of Romney Marsh, a sprawling British family headed by the eccentric Ainsley Becket and filled out, mostly, with children he "adopted, purchased, scooped up" during his time as a businessman in the Caribbean. In 1811, Ainsley's son Chance, at 30 the eldest of the eight children, is returning to the family estate in Kent with his five-year-old daughter, Alice, and an assignment from the War Office to investigate smugglers. Recently widowed, Chance employs smart, sure Julia Carruthers as a nanny. Attraction between Julia and Chance heats up as she becomes involved in his patchwork family and starts piecing together the family's role in the smuggling enterprise a role that may be at odds with Chance's official business. Michaels keeps the couple's relationship fresh with their cat-and-mouse mind games throughout as Julia's curiosity and intellect keep vigilant pace with Chance's manipulative efforts to protect the family secrets. Romance is only part of the well-executed plot, and the dynamic among the various Becket siblings is vital, humorous and authentic, making this an engaging beginning to the Beckets' saga.