A series by Nora Roberts
that follows the trials of three adopted brothers on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, as they struggle with raising their father's final "stray". Cam, Ethan, and Philip Quinn are called home after their father, Ray Quinn, is injured in a car accident. After extracting a promise from them to take care of Seth, a young boy he'd recently adopted, their father dies.
Titles in the series:
- Sea Swept
- Rising Tide
- Inner Harbor
- Chesapeake Blue
This series provides examples of:
- Bad Ass Family: The Quinn family.
- Big Brother Instinct: The Quinns in general, and Cam in particular, especially towards Seth in the early days.
- Defiled Forever: Ethan sees himself this way. Grace disagrees, and Anna brings him around by pointing out that by Ethan's logic so is she, and that Seth wasn't much better off than Ethan himself.
- Disappeared Dad: Several examples.
- Ethan's biological father is never mentioned.
- Philip's dad went to jail and never bothered coming back once he made parole.
- Seth's father ran off, though probably with good reason considering who he married. He's still an ass for letting Gloria hold onto Seth though.
- Cam averts the trope by being a disappeared son, having run away from his abusive father.
- Hates Being Touched: Early on, Cam grabs Seth by the shoulders during an argument and Seth freaks out because of incidents in his past . Luckily Cam dealt with Ethan's issues before and lets Seth know that he's safe with him without letting Seth get away with being a brat.
- Long-Lost Relative: Seth is this for Ray, and so is Gloria.
- Sybil is also this for Seth, having met him only briefly when he was a child and then her caring for him is manipulated by her addict half-sister, Gloria.
- Mama Bear: Seth has three, none of which is his actual mother.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Cam, Ethan and Phillip are visited by their Ray Quinn after his death and get advice in their love lives from him.
- Seth is visited nearly twenty years later by Stella Quinn who died before he could met her, and she tells him things that his brothers almost forgot about their childhood.
- Meaningful Name: Grace wanted to be a dancer.
- Missing Mom: Anna's mom was murdered by drunken hicks... Not making that up.
- Papa Bear: Cam from the start, even when he didn't like Seth. Ethan and Philip came into it later.
- Promotion to Parent: Cam is this with Seth, despite not meeting Seth until after Ray's death. Made somewhat ironic considering Seth's connection to Ray Quinn.
- Rape as Backstory: Let's see.
- Ethan's mom pimped him out against his will, making him so messed up that he decided to go for a swim off the Quinn's pier without actually knowing how to swim. Luckily his dog distracted him with a game of fetch. And it's also the reason he refused to pursue Grace despite having liked/loved her for years before the series started.
- Anna was raped when she was ten by the same guys who killed her mom. This might be the reason she keeps her dates at arms length until Cam. It does help her empathize with Ethan in Rising Tide and convince him to stop being an idiot about Grace.
- Seth barely managed to avoid it, though a big emphasis is put on the fact that the near misses were deeply scarring and it would have happened eventually if he'd stayed with his mom. In Chesapeake Blue, Gloria tries to claim she protected him from this, though Seth doesn't believe her. She immediately agrees that she would have started pimping him out eventually.
- Social Services Does Not Exist: Averted in the form of Anna, who honestly is just looking out for Seth. Also played straight in Chesapeake Blue, when Seth acknowledges that he rarely spent time in areas the the police or Social Services took interest in.
- Son of a Whore: And not the Hooker with a Heart of Gold type either. Ethan's mom pimped him out, Philip's denied any responsibility for him after he was shot, and Seth's mom spends most of the series blackmailing anyone who cares about him and generally trying to use him to make a quick buck. It's not surprising that Ethan and Philip considered Stella Quinn to be their mother rather than the women that gave birth to them.
- Tangled Family Tree: Seth is Ray's biological grandson and adopted son. This makes him legally Cam, Ethan and Phillip's brother/nephew. They were father figures to Seth and Seth, Cam, Ethan and Phillip consider each other brothers, but the age gap means they're more like father/uncles.
- Time Skip: Between Inner Harbor where Seth is eleven and Chesapeake Blue where Seth is fully grown close to twenty years has past.
- Trilogy Creep: The first three books are a trilogy released together, Chesapeake Blue released after the rest embodies this trope, especially as it is released and set after the first three.