To avoid his new step-mother's seduction, Gabriel (Gabe) Hart leaves home, drifting until he ends up a horse handler at Michael Burke's ranch.

A gelding, wounded by a wild cat, becomes the family's obsession as they decide whether to put down the horse or allow the new handler to try and calm the fearful animal. The rancher's daughter, Caitlin, has just returned from an Eastern school with an engagement announcement. But the sight of Gabe tending and taming her horse gives her mixed feelings about the choices she has made. Add to that the proverbial range war between the sheep ranchers and the cattlemen, her father's Irish temper that compels him to fight or die, and you have enough tension to satisfy any reader.

Most interesting and redeeming is the secondary romance between Juan Chavez and Gabe's sister, Sadie. Ms. Farrell writes about strong characters who must find their place in a turbulent world. SENSUAL (May, 380 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Cyndie Dennis-Greer