The Countess of Denbigh decides to matchmake and her scheme's objects are Miss Elizabeth (Eliza) Sherringham and Capt. Lord Marcus Wharton.

Raised with the taint of scandal, Eliza has no use for society's rules. Rake, rogue and handsome as sin, Marcus avoids marriage like the plague. With a shove from fate the two meet accidentally and Marcus, along with his two mischievous twin nieces and a litter of kittens, offer to escort Eliza to Major Julian Sherringham in London.

Though she is a beguiling creature, Marcus resists his lustful feelings, since Julian is his best friend. Fate steps in again when the two are found in a compromising situation. But Marcus does not offer marriage. It is Julian who proposes and Eliza accepts.

Before marriage plans can be made, Marcus and Julian return to their regiment. Julian is killed in battle and Marcus, wounded and disfigured, comes home to live his life in the shadows of the night. But fate steps in for a final time and the twins' machinations bring the lovers together.

Eliza brings Marcus out of the darkness and show him the joys of living and the blinding light of love.

In this spin off of Captive, Ms. Johnston creates a charmingly written historical Regency romp. SENSUAL (March, 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Joan Hammond