Though entangled with the rest of the Compass Club Quartet, Beyond a Wicked Kiss stands completely on its own as a wonderful romance and exciting mystery.

As the new Duke of Westphal, Evan Marchman is more concerned with his secret missions for the foreign office than his title. He longs for intrigue and a purpose. He gets them both when his new ward, Miss Ria Ashby, asks for his help in finding a student missing from her girls' academy.

Their search leads to Evan's family estate, where they become involved in family problems that push them into masquerading as lovers, a charade that becomes very real. Their newfound passion thrusts them into the very thick of a secret society, led by men who were enemies of the Compass Club years before and who now are directors of Ria's school, threatening not only their lives but the security of the country.

Goodman keeps the pace of both the romance and the mystery moving at breakneck speed as Evan and Ria embark on one dangerous escapade after another. This whirlwind read is just what you need for a summer's afternoon. SENSUAL (Aug., 400 pp., $6.50)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin