A new governess, Juliana Townsend is optimistic about her position until her employer tries to murder his step-daughter. Desperate to find safety for the girl, Juliana sneaks Cassandra into a wagon on its way out of Kansas City.
Rill Banks, a tough, guilt-ridden trail boss, is headed for his new Wyoming ranch when he senses danger. When he smells lilacs, he realizes the threat is stowaways. With his partner's determination to keep the two free from harm, and after witnessing the girl's step-father's posse's cruelty, Rill becomes a reluctant hero.
Rill and Juliana work together to save Cassandra from her step-father and soon Rill realizes he won't settle for less than the ultimate prize: Juliana.
Although spun from a familiar plot, Ms. Skinner gives her characters fine depth and believable motives in the rugged setting of the Old West. Fast-paced and warmhearted, this story carries readers into a world of justice and love. SENSUAL (May, 309 pp., $5.99)