Callie promises her father to marry the genteel man he has "ordered" from back East in hopes of easing her father's last days. Sweet and insecure because of her lame hip, Callie's love for her father compels her to do what is right for them, if not what's best for her.

When the stage is held up and Horace Perkins, Callie's mail-order groom is killed, Jace Greer, a con man and bank robber on the run, seizes the opportunity to become Horace and begin a new life.

Much to his surprise Jace finds himself at home with Callie's family. He adapts to helping run the family's store and begins to fall in love with his reluctant fiance. His only problem is keeping up the facade of the foppish Horace.

Callie catches glimpses of the real Jace and begins to wonder about the man she is to marry. She is repelled by his effete ways and yet drawn to his hidden strengths and when they marry she uncovers a rare passion in his arms.

But when Jace's bank-robbing "friends" appear, her father dies and the world seems to crumble around her due to Jace's betrayal and lies, Callie is left alone. Only near tragedy drives her to locate Jace and pulls them together for one more chance at happiness.

This is a sweet, compassionate and quite lovely romance and though a bit predictable, readers will enjoy immersing themselves within the pages and coming to know a delightful cast of characters and be a part of their lives. Sylvia Halliday's well-crafted tale will both inspire and pull at your heartstrings. SENSUAL (Oct., 379 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin