Wade McCord tried to win the mortgage payment for the ranch he ownswith his widowed sister-in-law Lilyby gambling with a professional, Cal Preston.

A gambler since childhood, Cal has no interest in settling down, but when his other winnings are stolen, he's forced to collect on half of the ranch he won from Wade. Soon Cal and Lily are fighting their mutual attraction, but can Cal give up his wandering ways to make a life with Lily on the ranch?

With the inclusion of Cal's sidekick, an African-American man named Toby Thacker, Pat Pritchard develops a high-concept combination of the film "Skingame" and Louis L'Amour's Crossfire Trail. This entertaining romance has all the best elements of traditional dime-novel Westerns: a virtuous widow, the borderline bad gambler reformed by loving her, and a villainous banker. The secondary love story of Toby and Thea adds a special touch, as the characters pool their resources to win all that life can offer. SENSUAL (Mar., 320 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger