Grace-by-the-Sea: Where romance and adventure come home.
Polished Jesslyn Chance has one of the most enviable positions in the little Regency coastal village of Grace-by-the-Sea. She is the hostess of the spa, arranging introductions and entertainments and playing matchmaker to the ladies and gentlemen who come to take the waters, promenade through the shops, and dance at the assembly. But when a rogue returns from her past, Jess finds herself suddenly at sea.
Always an adventurer, Larkin Denby left Grace-by-the-Sea to right the wrongful death of his father. Now he’s back on a mission: to identify the mysterious Lord of the Smugglers who allegedly sails from Grace Cove and takes England’s secrets to France. But Grace-by-the-Sea is the perfect little spa town, run by the still oh-so-perfect Jesslyn Chance. When the village’s future is threatened, Jess must work with Lark to solve the mystery and protect the town’s own. In doing so, the matchmaker of Grace-by-the-Sea may just find that the best match for her is the rogue who stole her heart years ago.
Here’s a little taste:
Lark had watched Jesslyn yesterday, flitting from group to group, individual to individual, and always leaving them looking happier than when she’d arrived. She tended the spa like a lady might tend her roses. Surely if there was the least hint of a weed in her garden, she would be the first to root it out.
Or had she only suspected? Did she too wonder about someone in the village? What secrets might lurk behind the blue expanse of her eyes?
He leaned closer. “Tell me, Miss Chance. Is there anyone in the area you find particularly intriguing?”
She pursed her lips, and he had to force his eyes away from the soft pink mouth. “At the moment,” she said with her disarming sweetness, “I am most intrigued by you.”
“Me?” Lark made himself smile. “I’m nothing remarkable.”
“Yet everyone seems determined to remark on you.” She took a step closer, and he straightened to retreat.
“You arrive with no notice after years away,” she said, ticking off her reasoning on her fingers. “You have family just over the hill, yet you are staying at an inn. You are obviously well. You haven’t taken a sip of the waters or asked to bathe. From your conversation, your mind is sound. You don’t seem to be searching for friendship. Why have you come to my spa?”
There was nothing but air surrounding him, but he had the distinct impression he had been trapped. “I simply decided to take a holiday.”
His answer, unfortunately, did not appear to satisfy. “I’m delighted to hear that you wished to return to Grace-by-the-Sea for your holiday,” she said. “I cannot help but feel compelled to make that holiday enjoyable.”
All at once, he remembered another time, when being with her was all he had wanted. She had made his stay at the spa enjoyable at a time when he’d feared for his mother’s health and wasn’t sure about his own future. But now was no time to renew those feelings. If she knew the truth, she would only be in danger.