Desperate to save her sister Claire from their lecherous stepfather, Victoria Temple Whiting bashes him over the head with a bed warmer, steals a priceless necklace, escapes to London and takes a job in the Earl of Brant's home as a housekeeper.

Cordell Devlin, the Earl of Brant, is fascinated with the lovely, ethereal Claire and her sister Tory, whose intelligence, wit and sensuality intrigue him. Then their stepfather arrives and Cord discovers their secret, realizing the only way he can save the sisters is to marry Tory.

Already in love with Cord, Tory agrees. Though she knows Cord will keep them safe, she wants to repay him by helping to find his cousin, who has been captured at sea, and uncover the identity of her parents' murderer.

Martin energizes her action-packed story with sexual tension and a number of plot points that all swirl together around an appealing couple. Though Cord's jealousy is wearing at times, it adds to the conflict and allows the suspense to build—just what Martin's fans expect. SENSUAL (Jan., 416 pp., $7.50)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin