Kleypas brings her special touches of tenderness and poignancy to a sexually charged version of Romeo and Juliet. Lady Aline Marsden and stablehand John McKenna play as children, and as adolescents they fall in love. Though Aline knows she must marry well, their love is so strong they defy society and become lovers.

When their affair is discovered, they are brutally torn apart. Aline is forced to denounce her love for John so he will stay away from her. In exchange, Aline's father promises to find him a new position, instead of casting him out on the street—or doing worse, given her father's anger.

Years later, John returns from America a wealthy businessman who visits the old estate to do business with Aline's brother. He intends to avenge Aline for her cruelty and the way she cast him aside. Yet he finds it difficult to despise the beautiful woman she has become.

Beautiful, tender, powerful and emotionally intense, this story has all the Kleypas hallmarks. There is also a wonderful secondary romance to play on your heartstrings. SENSUAL (Jan., 400 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin