THE MACKENZIES: DAVID
Cynthia Mackenzie is going home to ask the forgiveness of her dying father, Matthew MacKenzie, for having run away earlier with Count Roberto.
Arriving home in disgrace doesn't bother Cynthia. The only one who seems to scorn her, however, is David Kincaid, an engineer that Matthew hired to build his dream of a railroad from Colorado to Texas. David's loyalty to Matthew causes him to dislike Cynthia.
When Matthew dies, he leaves his holdings and some special gifts to his three daughters; Cynthia's is a thimble.
For her part, Cynthia wants to sell the railroad, putting her at odds with David. To him, Cynthia (or "Miss Sin," as he calls her) is nothing but trouble, arriving at the railroad camp with a host of new-fangled ideas (like setting up a school for girls, among others). Eventually, their mutual anger begins to stir up other emotions-and soon David is having a hard time keeping his hands off "Miss Sin."
When one crisis after another plagues the railroad, Cynthia confronts them bravely, earning everyone's respect and causing David's love for her to blossom. When an accident occurs and David is believed dead, Cynthia will learn the meaning of her father's gift.
Ms. Leigh continues the MacKenzie saga with a different branch of the family, connecting them "by rail." This tale of misconception becomes one of growing trust, self-revelation and sharing-everything readers expect from Ana Leigh-with the added bonus of knowing there are future books to enjoy. Thanks, Ms. Leigh. SENSUAL (Mar., 400 pp., $5.99)