Twenty-two single women bury the man who was to guide their wagon train. Miss Agatha Pennington, tall and robust, had decided no man would marry her and gathers together this group of women desperate for the possibilities of new lives in the unsettled Oregon Territory.
The Pacific Fur Company discourages settlers. Cooper J. Delaney is the only available guide and he refuses to escort a wagon train of women. Undaunted, Agatha plots to trap him into going on the journey. She steals his money belt.
Cooper, fascinated by the unusual woman, contracts to guide the train, but vows to stay only until he finds where Miss Agatha hid his money.
The droll humor of the story, the sexual tension and the comedic interaction of the heroine and hero are relentless. Ms. Barrett achieves a consistently entertaining story with several secondary characters who howl to be featured in future novels. SENSUAL (March, 350 pp., $4.99)