Tessa, short for Contessa, along with her best friends, conjure the magic of Merlin on an old oak tree in hopes that it will bring her true love. Four years of grieving has taken its toll though and she isn’t sure she can believe in her Happily Ever After anymore.
Shortly thereafter, she treats herself to a Caribbean cruise as a reward for surviving breast cancer. Early one morning she chances to see a harbor pilot jump onto her ship, climb up a ladder, and disappear. Minutes later, her ship is guided into port and she is standing on her balcony, fresh from her shower, wrapped only in a towel. She looks down and sees the incredibly handsome harbor pilot talking to the captain of her ship. He looks up and their eyes meet. Nothing is ever going to be the same for either of them when later that day, they encounter each other on the island of St. Thomas.
As shipboard romances go, hers is a dilly, but when it’s time to go home to Sea Trail Plantation and settle back into her idyllic life, things are anything but routine. Her neighbor and friend, Amy, has been acting strange and has now disappeared. Tessa suspects Amy’s goldbricking husband is up to no good but no one will believe her. Then Roman, her sexy harbor pilot, coaxes her into meeting him in Charleston where legends of slaves and their masters provide fodder for a romance unlike any other.