When Lady Meriden's eldest stepson and husband die within days of each other, the estate passes to the second stepson. No one has seen him in years, yet he inherits everything, including his father's gambling debts and guardianship of his seven siblings. Jane Ash rushes to her aunt's aid. Months go by before the new baron comes, and Jane is left to cope with her ailing, self-dramatizing aunt and bewildered cousins, all of whom have problems. Lady Meriden alternately spoils and neglects them. Julian, the heir, has his own problems and wants nothing less than to play the heavy parent to his unknown siblings. When he does come, he and Jane form an unexpected alliance that might lead, by twists and turns, to romance.