On her wedding day to the son of her deceased father's good friend, Illiana is claimed by the fearsome warrior, Alaex. Told she has been betrothed to him since she was five years old, and shown the proof, she has no choice but to go with him. Alaex strikes fear in the heart of Illiana's would-be bridegroom, Cam, and the entire household. Rumors abound that perhaps Alaex had something to do with her father's untimely death, since he raised the orphaned Alaex as his own.
Living in the time she is, Illiana must obey the decrees, knowing women are but property of men. Although not cruel, Alaex is reticent. Used to commanding warriors, practically raised on the battlefield, he leaves his bride unable to pierce his protective shell.
When she returns to her childhood home, she is haunted by memory/nightmares of her father's death and the roles others played in them.
Ms. Wrighton has exquisite prose, drawing the reader into medieval portrayals of long ago. The tension between Alaex and Illiana and the way she reveals their mental anguish leaves the reader unable to put the book down. Alaex's loyalty to his promise and the way he learns to love is heart stirring. SENSUAL (July, 496 pp., $5.99)