Its 1889 and 18-year-old Jillian Montgomery is starving and homeless on the San Francisco coast. One dawn she walks out into the sea to end it all, but changes her mind and struggles back to shore. Gideon Bolt, rowing from his island to the mainland, thinks shes just wading. Later, he rescues a street woman being mistreated by her boss, the same man who brings a starving Jillian to Marys boardinghouse.

After Jillian recovers, Mary demands she perform favors for a gentleman to pay for her keep. As she reaches his house with her friend Molly, Jillian runs into Gideon, who is there to gather the baby of the woman he rescued. He warns them to forget they saw him and disappears.

Jillian and Molly run off, but someone pursues them, murdering Molly and throwing Jillian into the sea. Gideon finds Jillian washed up on the shore of his island home. Hes the prime suspect in Mollys death and must convince Jillian hes not the killer.

Linda Lea Castles full circle plot and well-described setting make for reading pleasure, but while the characters in this action-packed romance appeal, the frequent, sometimes chaotic coincidences attenuate close involvement with the plot. Sensual (Sep., 252 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger