Following his grandmother's directive to reclaim the Mallory Heart, a jeweled brooch that was stolen from his family, Richard, Viscount Mallory, heads for London, where he encounters Lady Isabel Weymouth wearing the heart-shaped ruby.

Isabel isn't sure if the handsome viscount is staring at her bosom or her grandmother's brooch. But since she must find a wealthy husband before the truth about her penniless state gets out and ruins her family, she doesn't mind his interest.

Determined to reclaim the brooch, Richard steals into Isabel's room and takes the pin. But the wily Isabel steals it back the next day.

This charming tale moves at lightn-ing speed as Richard and Isabel steal the jewel back and forth in a game of robbery that heats up into one of romance. But when the true story of the brooch is revealed, it's clear that much more is at stake than a ruby.

Hern steals readers' hearts with her delightful gambit and her charming amateur thieves. The touching climax and slowly igniting sensuality keep you turning the pages and sighing along with Richard and Isabel.

Her Scandalous Affair is a little lighter than some of Hern's previous novels, but it has enough poignancy and emotion to satisfy her ardent fans. SENSUAL (Dec., 384 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin