Yankee spinster schoolmarm Ashley Webster is on her way to Fort Bridger to try and help her twin brother who has been unjustly accused of murder. Ashley discovers that she must be married before she can join the wagon train. The only single man who would suit her purposes is in jail.
Tanner MacTavish is a southerner with no use for Yankees, but he accepts her offer of $1,000 to pose as her husband and escort her to the fort.
There is no doubt that this will be a rocky marriage since Ashley and Tanner are a highly combustible pair. Tanner has a hair trigger temper and Ashley has one to match.
The train's scout, Pratt Slater, is the man Tanner has been looking for; the one who burned his home. When someone tries to kill Slater, Tanner is the prime suspect. Determined to prove his innocence, Tanner leaves the train to search for the attacker.
When Tanner returns, he discovers that Ashley has been taken captive by Indians who believe she is the flame-haired woman of their chief's vision. Tanner goes on to the fort, escapes with Ashley's brother, Cole, and together they go to rescue Ashley.
Their adventures have just begun as: Cole must marry the chief's sister; they find the man who framed Cole for murder; and Ashley must use her power on the chief to set them free. But even back in civilization, they find their newfound love threatened by the past.
Connie Mason is an expert at western romance. Her characters are fully developed and engaging. FLAME is a page turner for those who like plenty of action and adventure out west. SENSUAL (Jan., 390 pp., $4.99)