Nicholas Barrington, oldest son of the Earl of Ulcombe, acquires Melissa Seacourt in an auction in a gambling hall where her father is attempting to pay for his debts by selling her. To protect Melissa from her abusive father, Nicholas marries her.
However, he has no intention of allowing his newly married state to interfere with his greatest love, gaming, until he learns to care for Melissa.
Villains abound as Melissa becomes a pawn between her disreputable father, the gamester who wants to possess her and Nicholas' mistress.
Amanda Scott skillfully weaves the metaphor of games to life throughout the novel. Chance, hazard, a throw of the dice, as well as the intricate plotting of chess, are all used creatively to tell the story. In addition, excellent secondary characters (who even threaten to steal the story), clever plotting and sweet sensuality turn DANGEROUS GAMES into a great read. SENSUAL (June, 400 pp., $4.99)