John Frances Carleton arrives in England from the colonies on a mission. Stopping in a tavern, he watches the lovely barmaid go about her work. John needs a woman, but Mistress Lizzie Tynesdale isn't interested in a "slap and a tickle".

Orphaned young and raised by her grandfather, Lizzie runs a good, clean tavern. Practical and respectable, she has no interest in men or marriage, but the traveler piques her interest, especially after rescuing her from Lieutenant Lamberre's unwanted attention.

Following his father's last wishes, John confronts the Lord of Malloran with the news that as the present lord's nephew, he is to inherit the estate and the title. His lordship wants nothing to do with the bastard colonial and plots with the lieutenant to get rid of John.

Neither of them count on Lizzie coming to his aid. She hides John when he escapes, and though she endangers herself, she cannot deny her attraction to him. With a bit of help from her unearthly parents and the town folk, Lizzie and John find themselves in a tangle of unusual circumstances and love.

Anne Avery provides a spirited romance with her delightful sense of humor, three-dimensional characters and lively plot. It is a perfectly delightful way to spend an evening, dreaming of a dashing stranger and love. SENSUAL (May, 395 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin