This light Cinderella-style tale pairs infamous rogue Nicholas Hawken, the Marquis of Kirkham, with Ria, who learns she is really Maria Elizabeth Burton, the long-lost heir to the Duke and Duchess of Sterlyng.

Raised as a servant, Ria vows to make her way to Rockbury after learning that she is the missing heir. But fate intervenes when she crosses paths with Nicholas and he must rethink his role of ferreting out traitors, for Ria has awakened his buried heart.

After a night of passion, Ria flees to her long-lost father. She's warmly accepted but life isn't worth living without Nicholas.

Torn between his duty to the King and his love for Ria, Nicholas must prove the elderly Duke is not the traitor he's been hunting. When damning evidence is found, Ria must uncover the truth before the real traitor kills either her or Nicholas.

Although set in late Medieval England, the story reads like a daring Elizabethian escapade when the author crosses armor, swords, and tournaments with duels, spies and carriages. As Nicholas pursues Ria with his bad-boy charm, readers will find that fast-paced action and the expected sensuality makes for an enjoyable evening's read. SENSUAL (Feb., 296 pp., $.4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Anne Black