While on her way to Texas, Marissa Williams's stagecoach is attacked by the Comanche. Marissa is taken captive and devastated by the death of her traveling companion, Louise. Chief Ten Crow has seen the golden one in a vision. Believing she will bring peace to the tribe, he gives her to his adopted son, Wind Ryder. Ten Crow's other son, Bear Claw, is furious, as he wants the white captive for himself.
When Marissa sees Wind Ryder up close, she realizes that this fearful warrior has blue eyes. He is white but has pushed his old life behind him. When Marissa seizes the opportunity to escape, Bear Claw follows her. Luckily, Ryder notices she is missing and rescues her. Marissa tries to convince Ryder to take her back home, but he will not.
As Ryder's reluctant attraction to Marissa grows, he begins, for the first time in a long while, to feel out of place among the Comanche. After the chief's death, he decides to leave and bring Marissa to her family. Marissa is thrilled to be going home with Wind Ryder, but as he tries to find a place with her in the white man's world, new obstacles develop.
Though fast-paced, swift moving and filled with strong, well-crafted characters, the conflict was weak and I wasn't sure why Marissa fell in love with Wind Ryder so quicklyit was hard to suspend my disbelief over this. Still, Ms. Smith's longtime fans will be charmed by a secondary love story involving Marissa's uncle and see this as trademark Bobbi Smith. SENSUAL (Jul., 380 pp., $5.99)