Though their minister father has forbidden them to speak to the cowboys, frivolous Charity finds cowboys irresistible and even her sensible older sister Mercy finds one particular cowboy immensely attractive.
Sam Houston Devlin's herd of longhorns has given him a good start on the money needed to rebuild his family's ranch. With one brother missing and another embittered by the injuries he received in the war, it's up to Sam to save their home.
A card game with Wyatt Earp relieves Sam of his profits but he hopes to regain his money with a wager: he will woo the town's most famous prostitute into providing her services free, just by treating her like a lady.
When Sam sees the red-headed Mercy, he mistakes her for the soiled dove. Innocent Mercy is overwhelmed by his charm and Sam's life is changed completely, but Mercy's father and a dangerous enemy make happiness impossible.
Although the logic for the characters' behavior and motivation is sometimes a little vague, the lively pace of DEVIL'S DARE will carry you along. This romance is a taste of the spirited Old West. SENSUAL (Jan., 296 pp., $4.50)