Practical Annabel is one of the Essex sisters, known throughout the ton for their unusual dowries: racehorses. Tired of being poor and putting up with men who only care about horses, Annabel decides she needs a rich, good-natured Englishman. So why is she entranced with impoverished Scottish Lord Ewan Ardmore?

Ewan can't take his eyes off Annabel, and after learning of her dowry, he can't keep his mind off his breeding stables. When a harmless incident is exploited in a broadsheet, Annabel finds herself in a coach on her way to Scotland -- pretending to be married to Ewan.

The worst of it is that Annabel likes Ewan. She enjoys playing his games of words and wits and, oh, the kisses that are her forfeits take her breath away.

James is a marvel. The tone of her prose, the nuances of the era, her wit and her empowered women remind you of Austen or Heyer. Here's a story with underlying messages about the power of friendship between wonderful women and the strong, sensual, compassionate men they love. It's a story with heart, soul and joy. SENSUAL (Dec., 400 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin