Morgan Ashton, the Duke of Gillingham, has vowed never to love again after his disastrous first marriage.

Lady Alyssa Carrington, the only child of a neglectful and widowed father, runs the family estate and pays her father's gambling debts while he lives the high life in London-until he is discovered dead with Morgan holding the deed to the estate.

Morgan's attraction to Alyssa and his concern over her lack of funds prompts him to offer her a position as his mistress. Alyssa mistakenly believes he is proposing to be her husband, not her "protector."

Refusing the duke's martyred offer of marriage after she is made aware of her error, Alyssa tries to manage on her own until she discovers she is pregnant. Once the duke learns of her condition, he insists on marriage.

Unbeknownst to Alyssa, Morgan has been working for the War Department, setting traps to apprehend a spy selling secrets to the French. First Morgan and then his brother are implicated as spies.

Set during the Napoleonic Wars, INTIMATE BETRAYAL weaves a tale of multi-betrayal of family, country and lovers. In this debut novel, Ms. Basso has done a superb job of creating eminently believable characters and plausible motives for their behavior. Morgan battles the memories of his past and Alyssa learns to make the difficult compromises necessary to a marriage without losing her personal integrity. SENSUAL (Dec., 400 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Michell Phifer