In 1876, beautiful Jenna Winslow faces the scandal of her sister's unwed motherhood by insisting on keeping the baby after her sister's death in childbirth. Her profligate parents flee town, and Jenna is deserted by her fiancé, who admits he might be the child's father. As a solution to her problems, Jenna decides to answer the advertisement for a bride placed by lonely rancher Rowe Mercer in far away Saddler Creek, Colorado.

Rowe, a scarred ex-bounty hunter, frightens most women and that's his reason for seeking a mail-order bride. He can't believe his good fortune when he sees Jenna and rushes the wedding in fear she'll change her mind. But he doesn't want a frightened wife, so Rowe agrees to her request that they spend time getting to know one another before consummating the marriage.

This reluctant bride's secret adds suspense to this well-written, pleasurable love story. Mary Burton presents an intricate theme that questions if security rather than attraction defines the basis for love. Her tale concludes to prove that love, above all else, depends on trust. SENSUAL (Jun., 266 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger