Anice MacNab wants a "happily ever after," but her fantasy is destroyed on her wedding night when she discovers she wed a brutal monster. Her father-in-law, the laird, chases his son off, taking her under his care in the MacKendimen stronghold.

The laird's illegitimate son, Robert Mathieson, left his home and family years ago; he couldn't stay with a father who wouldn't recognize him as his son. But when the estate's steward is injured, he's called home to take over.

Anice is reserved whenever she and Robert meet, yet he glimpses a dark fear in her eyes. Knowing she is forbidden to him as the pregnant wife of his half-brother, he does his best to keep a respectful distance, but their slowly growing friendship has the potential to become much more.

The slow pace and heavily accented Scottish dialogue may detract from the very carefully thought out story of a woman healing from an abusive relationship and a man coming to grips with his own painful past. Ms. Brisbin explores the deep emotions between her characters and tackles issues, such as abuse and estrangement, with sensitivity. SENSUAL (Mar., 320 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin