Following the sudden death of her mother, society brat Theodosia "Daisy" Devereaux went on a grief-inspired shopping spree that has her in danger of being arrested. Her father, Max Petroff, agrees to bail his illegitimate daughter out, only if she agrees to marry a former protege of his, Alexander Markov.

Alex always pays his debts and during the next six months he will be paying off two big ones, first by marrying the seemingly inept and ditzy Daisy, and second by touring with the Quest Brothers Circus as Alexi the Cossack. Poor Daisy is in for a very rude shock as Alex deposits her into the rough-and-ready world of a small-time circus. Daisy has never been able to prove herself worthy-either to her parents or herself-and is determined to make her marriage work; but as usual things don't go according to plan.

Unjustly accused of stealing, Daisy is ostracized by her husband and the circus folk. Alex figures that forcing her to clean out the animal cages as punishment is an easy way to break Daisy's spirit, but something inside her hardens and Daisy refuses to quit. Instead, she finds an unusual soul mate in the cantankerous tiger Sinjun.

If only it were so easy to communicate with surly Alex. Passion between him and Daisy is easy. True love and commitment, however, is much tougher, especially with a man who refuses to acknowledge the existence of either.

The always remarkable Susan Elizabeth Phillips produces a novel that is filled with passion, pain, humor and poignancy. KISS AN ANGEL is another winner. (Feb., 384 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith