Drawing on a lushly depicted, exotic backdrop, Lin creates an intriguing romance between well-drawn characters whose secrets lure readers deep into the story. Lin has found a marvelous niche to delve into fascinating cultural elements and sensuality.

Once the emperor’s prized courtesan, Suyin longs to live quietly, far from the capital. But with feuding warlords after power she becomes an assassin’s target and is forced under the protection of General Li Tao, a man renowned for self-restraint. Suyin tries using her beauty and wiles to convince Li Tao to give her freedom, to no avail. Li Tao has many secrets, one of which is his powerful attraction to Suyin, but he resists temptation until he negotiates one night in her bed for her freedom. That night becomes a month of exquisite sensual pleasure. But politics and the rumblings of war come closer. Suyin’s years at court taught her a great deal and she uses her knowledge to guide Li Tao to freedom, peace and passion. (HARLEQUIN, Oct., 280 pp., $6.25)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin