Though her mother is well known as London's high class madame, Isabel Darling has been reared as a lady. But she must throw caution to the wind if she is to unmask her mother's killer. With Aurora Darling's explicit memoirs in hand, Isabel hopes to expose (by blackmail) the murderer as well as discover her father's identity.

But when Isabel sends out a sample of the provocative journal, Justin Culver, the Earl of Kern, appears to stop her from pursuing her plan.

Though Justin has never loved his father, the Duke of Lynwood, he is now engaged to Lady Helen Jefferies and can't let anyone sully the family name. However, when Justin confronts Isabel he is stunned by his reaction to her. Not only is she beautiful, but intelligent and charming. He discovers that he cannot stop her and his best course of action is to allow her to continue with her outrageous plot.

As Isabel makes her way into society, she steals into Justin's heart. How can he fall in love with a woman whose past can ruin his future?

Barbara Dawson Smith cleverly merges old-fashioned Gothic suspense with a seductive romance all packed into an alluring setting, as readers follow Isabel and Justin's quest for a cunning killer and her birthright. This one will keep you up all night, and you'll see why Ms. Smith is so respected for her ability to create a new and different story each and every time. SENSUAL (May, 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin