When Queen Victoria announces the Great Circle Race—a sailing competition from London to Sydney—Nicole Lassiter is ready to set sail. Raised on a Yankee clipper ship, she's as capable as any man and determined to win. So when her father is jailed after a brawl with Captain Derek Sutherland, she takes command of their vessel.

Sutherland needs to win this race to save his floundering shipping business. Nicole and her father believe he's responsible for sabotaging her family's ships.

The rivalry between Nicole and Derek takes on another dimension because of their mutual distrust. However, when her ship is damaged in a storm, she must rely on Derek for help—first as his hostage and later as his lover. They embark on a wild journey that culminates in their working together to find and destroy a common enemy.

The fast-paced action, heady sexual tension, steamy passion and snappy dialogue certainly make up for a bit of over-plotting. Exhilarating energy emanates from the pages of this very smart and sassy debut. SENSUAL (Jul., 350 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin