Unwilling to enter into an arranged marriage, Lily Trehearne runs away, fearing that has she killed her guardian. She assumes the name of Lily Troublefield and finds a position as maid at Darkstone Manor in Cornwall. She is resigned to hard work and listening to the fanatical housekeeper's heartless harping and brutal beatings until she meets the brooding, sensual master, Lord Devon Darkwell.
Lily is both repelled and drawn by Devon's dark nature. When he is wounded trying to save a smuggler's vessel from the revenue men, Lily nurses him back to health. A strange and very strong friendship blossoms between servant and master. Devon is enchanted with Lily, suspecting that she is not what she seems. He uses every skill to seduce her. Though she knows there is no hope of a relationship based on true love, Lily surrenders.
Their unusual relationship plunges Lily into the middle of an old and long forgotten hatred. When a tragedy occurs, Lily flees from Devon's hatred and mistrust. She finds shelter with an old woman in the moors, and there Lily learns how to open her heart and accept Devon's love.
Patricia Gaffney's superb characterization and the depth of Devon and Lily's love will move you to tears and yet warm your heart. Ms. Gaffney continually demonstrates that she is one of the finest writers to emerge in the past few years. SENSUAL (Apr., 440 pp., $5.99)