When her father's death leaves the family penniless, Victoria Shelby makes the drastic decision to propose marriage to the "boy next door" -- her childhood correspondent. Only the boy is now a grown man and not the cook's son "Tom." He's David, Lord Thurlow.

Since the family scandal became fodder for gossip, David shuns society. It seems perfectly logical that he accept Victoria's offer. Her family would be protected, and he would have a wife who could help him in both his railway business and politics.

They're perfect for one another, but they don't know it. Somewhere between childhood innocence and adult sensibilities and sexuality lies the path to love.

The lovely manner in which Callen brings these two onetime best friends together through trust, forgiveness, desire and love is tender, heart tugging and full of warmth. SENSUAL (Dec., 384 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin