It was Sean Gallivan's dream to join a wagon train and own land in California, but Sean's sudden death leaves his daughter Kerry and son Patrick to carry on his dream (though Kerry will have to disguise herself as a boy to escape the wagon train's rules against single females). With Kerry's hair sacrificed, Captain Jeb Hunter is fooled and allows the Gallivans to join the train.

Kerry and Patrick find welcome and friendship among their fellow emigrants. Only Jeb Hunter maintains his distance, sober and careful in his responsibility for the travelers, carrying the weight of his guilt for his wife's death in the gold fields. Jeb has vowed to avoid all emotional entanglements because he feels unworthy, but Kerry cannot control her feelings.

When a near drowning unmasks Kerry, Jeb is furious and ready to force Kerry and her young brother off the train, driven as much by the desire to avoid temptation as fear for their safety. Kerry and the women of the train have other ideas.

Warm and romantic, JEB HUNTER'S BRIDE matches the rigors of the trail with indomitable human spirit. SENSUAL (May, 234 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Cindy Royce