Within the bawdy court of King Charles II, known for high-spirited, sensual games of cat and mouse, chaste Lady Anne Gascoigne is an anomaly. She's eager to wed her betrothed, Edward, Lord Waverby, until she overhears his scheme to give her to Charles as the king's new mistress. Anne must flee with the only man who can offer her protection, the highwayman Lord John Gilbert.

The illegitimate son of an aristocrat, John rides the high roads with his band of merry men. He's condemned to hang, but he escapes the noose by agreeing to lead Anne to safety.

The road to freedom is paved with exhilarating adventures as Anne accompanies John to his forest hideaway, nurses him through the plague, sails to Holland to fight in a sea battle and evades Waverby's schemes with help from Charles' famous mistress, Barbara Castlemaine. Yet the real danger to Anne is her growing love for the roguish John.

Westin's debut is a sparkling gem complete with wild adventures, actual historical personages, events and colorful tidbits and authentic dialogue. The era, the people and the story are brilliantly brought to life by a shining new star on the romance horizon. SENSUAL (Jan., 380 pp., $6.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin