Hell hath no fury like a jilted woman. After Wade Cordell marries another woman, Lilla Traften decides to go west and teach at a friends charm school. Her problems begin when her stage breaks down and she is mistaken for the new saloon girl, ending up in bed with ranch foreman Grady Finch.

Grady doesnt know what to make of the screaming woman he rescues, but he does know shes the guest he is to bring to the Cordells ranch. But whats a rough-and-tumble cowboy supposed to do with a St. Louis lady?

Though she would never admit it, Lilla is spoiled. She has no idea how rugged the Texas Panhandle can be or what she is facing. But shes ready to meet any challenge and gets plenty of them.

First, there are the students Grady finds for her school: theyre all saloon girls and cowpokes. Then theres Grady himselfin which Lilla denies her attraction to him. When he does begin to court her, she slowly succumbs, gradually becoming a woman who could be a true Texas brideif it werent for the complications that arise and threaten to push Lilla and Grady apart.

Cute, sweet and funny, DESERT BLOOM is just the tale to wile away an evening and relax during the holiday season. This comfort read holds to the tried and true with no surprises. SENSUAL (Dec., 350 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin