Jesse Travers returns to Jackson Springs a changed man, altered by the Civil War and his years in a Yankee prison camp. All he is interested in is the trail drive that will keep his ranch solvent for years.
Laura Carmon has a dream. In the midst of a large and loving family, Laura feels unremarkable, but she has fantasized about being a famous singer. In her imagination she wears a daring red dress and calls herself Honeysuckle DeVine.
Then Laura inherits her aunt's estate, but in order to claim it she must arrive in Wichita a married woman. Laura persuades Jesse to stage a temporary marriage and take her along on his trail ride.
Laura has no more idea how to avoid causing trouble than she has that her voice would peel paint, but she does have the fire of life and enthusiasm that draws Jesse like a moth to the flame. Surrounded by danger and dreams, love blazes hot enough to melt the ice around Jesse's heart.
Touching and warm, HONEYSUCKLE DEVINE has a charm as fresh as its heroine. This is a perfect heart-warmer for a cold evening. SENSUAL (Feb., 371 pp., $4.99)