As a member of the Merry Widows who vow not to wed again but to indulge in taking lovers instead, Beatrice, Lady Sommerfield, is concerned with chaperoning her niece and daughters and not finding a man until the night of a masquerade ball when she surrenders to her desire for a masked stranger.

Gabriel, the Marquess of Thanye, just returned from India, is the season's catch and marriage-minded mamas are throwing their daughters at him. But he's determined to find the fascinating masked woman whose passion matches his own.

As he searches for her among the debutantes, including Beatrice's niece, he finds himself drawn to the older, seemingly aloof Lady Sommerfield. Once he discovers she is his mystery lover, will the scandal that erupts from their relationship destroy their chance for happiness?

It might be just one of those flings, but it's a grand reading experience in Hern's capable hands. She brings the Regency to life with her endearing characters whose steamy passion (and May-December romance) only serve to heighten the powerful emotions and leave you begging for more. SENSUAL (Aug., 306 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin