Alisa Langdon is delighted to learn that her uncle, a successful merchant with the East India Company, has finally returned to England. He invites Alisa and her stepfamily to Castleray, his recently acquired estate in Hampshire, for the Christmas celebrations.
Chase Beaumont, Joseph Langdon’s right-hand man, is also invited but realises that Christmas will be far from the peaceful celebration he’d hoped for when his carriage is shot at during the journey down from London. When he rescues Langdon’s family members stranded at the side of the road and learns that they too have been the victims of unexplained ‘accidents’, he fears that Langdon’s enemies are closing in on him.
Alisa has her work cut out, keeping her avaricious stepmother from attempting to inveigle her way into her rich uncle’s good graces. When her uncle explains why he felt compelled to leave England so abruptly ten years previously without a word of goodbye, she struggles to come to terms with the shocking truth.
Why are Langdon’s servants being ostracised in the local village? Can Chase and Alisa discover who attacked them on the road? Has the same person orchestrated the campaign to drive Langdon from Hampshire? And vitally, can Chase ignore his growing attraction to Alisa, who appears intent upon honouring her father’s dying wish by marrying her indolent stepbrother…