Humorous repartee and a high degree of sensuality mix well in Hill's tale of a wise-cracking poor boy and the aristocratic woman he loves. Time-travel readers will find this charming, funny and sexy. A good night's read!

Lawyer Rafe Santiago worked his way through college in the ROTC and is serving out his final requirements in the National Guard when he discovers that Major Helen Prescott is his commanding officer. When they were in school, Helen was Rafe's dream girl, but a poor boy from the barrio could never win the heart of someone like prissy Miss Prescott-or could he?

On their first skydive, something goes wrong and both of them tumble out of the plane. Swept through the air, they are not only brought to the ground, but to a new time. They touch down in 1850s California during the Gold Rush, where they find themselves surrounded by three inept banditos who believe Rafe is the notorious "Angel Bandit" and Helen, his mistress, Elena. Hoping for a reward, their captors take them to Sacramento, where Rafe is cleared.

As Rafe and Helen plan to find their parachute (taken by one of the banditos) and return to the present, Rafe decides to get rich panning for gold.

Stuck together in a small mining town while facing constant danger, Helen and Rafe are forced to reevaluate their feelings.

One night Helen tempts Rafe as payback for all the times he has teased her and their game ends in a passionate embrace, though both are aware that such a relationship would be fraught with difficulties, including the 150 lbs. of gold they have unearthed and their need to return to the 20th century!

The journey home is strewn with many pitfalls, as a series of new adventures, misunderstandings, prejudices and an abduction nearly keep the lovers apart forever.

(Mar., 400 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill Brager