With superb skill, Gayle Wilson's newest Regency captures the whole era rather than just the at-home antics of the ton. Captain Sebastian Sinclair, youngest brother of Dare and Ian of previous novels, travels on the Continent with Wellington after Napoleon's defeat. He encounters a Spanish noblewoman, Maria del Pilar Mendoza y Aranjuez. Pilar is dressed in her maid's clothes, trying to steal Sin's uniform to escape her cruel guardian. Sin gallantly fights for her, and the guardian brutally scars his face, but in answer to Pilar's pleading, spares his life.

When they meet again, Pilar and Sin are even more attracted, a fact that Pilar's evil guardian plots to end with Sin's murder. The plot snares Sin's best friend and that death makes it impossible to trust Pilar, but it's still more impossible for Sin to leave her behind. He kidnaps Pilar, marries her to transport her to England, and places her under the protection of his family there.

The love story is Regency style, with a touch more intensity and action. Sin makes the mistake of overrating the safety of England and underestimating the insanity of Pilar's obsessive guardian, so another kidnaping is in the plot, but the ending is pure romance. SENSUAL (May, 298 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger