With her father ill and her family depending upon her, boys school teacher Ariel Halliday cannot refuse the offer to teach the recently-found Lord Sage proper manners and English.

Though he appears to be a savage-sleeping on the floor, speaking only in grunts and refusing all attempts to clothe him as a gentleman-Leon Duvanne knows exactly what he is doing. Since his English father's desertion of his half-French, half-Hawaiian mother when he was a child, he has dreamed of taking out his revenge on the Duvanne family and this is his chance.

His only challenge is getting by the intriguing Miss Halliday, who is determined to make a lord out of a barbarian. Ariel has always been a sensitive woman, which is why she has been a successful teacher, but at 25 she has little prospects of love or marriage.

Yet, working with "Lord Savage" she discovers her own passionate nature and when Leon drops his charade Ariel's anger at his betrayal of trust knows no bounds.

However, Leon has his own agenda for Miss Halliday that includes teaching her to flirt to win a husband. So the student becomes the teacher and the sexual tension escalates.

Add a search for the legendary Sword of Sage, hostile relatives, Leon's obsession with revenge, his fight with demons from the past, a matchmaking dowager and Ariel's love and faith in Leon and you have an utterly engrossing, fast-paced debut historical romance by a skilled storyteller. SENSUAL (Dec., 424 pp., $5.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin