In St. Louis preparing to make a wagon trip west, Finley Carson falls in love at first sight with one of the other passengers. He later discovers that the woman, Jessica Beaumont, is married to the man Fin is tracking for the death of his brother and for stealing a mining claim.

When her husband is shot later in the journey, Jessica becomes an available—and very pregnant—widow. The rules are that she must remarry in order to remain on the wagon train. Do the men on the train, including Fin, want her because she needs help—or is it because her husband openly bragged about the gold claim that now belongs to her? She's courted by and marries Fin because he seems to care for her, but her growing love for him is complicated when she learns the claim belonged to his brother.

Davidson deftly mixes courtship and a marriage of convenience with the intrigue of gold hunting, robbery and murder, adding a touching, extra-fine love story to the adventures of the historic westward wagon train. SENSUAL (Feb., 304 pp., $5.25)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger