A tangled web of emotional angst drives Thomas' carefully paced tale of people coming to grips with past pain and a newfound love. She slowly develops the story, dropping clues gradually, drawing readers into the romance and holding them there to the end.

Rory Jameson, the son of a nobleman and a Gypsy, has spent his life serving the government. When his estranged grandfather is dying, he realizes he must see him to find personal peace. On the way Rory is attacked and wounded. Winter Ashburn takes him to a nearby cottage.

Once the belle of the county but now penniless, Winter cares for her mother and brother under the thumb of her ruthless uncle. Helping Rory places her in a precarious situation: Her uncle wants him gone and wouldn't take kindly to Winter sleeping with the enemy. But she does, and when Rory takes his place as the new lord, they are in grave danger from her uncle and risk everything to expose his cruelty. (Avon, Sep., 370 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin