Her only clue a letter signed "The Griffin," Agatha Cunningham arrives in London searching for her missing brother, James. She invents a husband to enter society, but "Mrs. Applequist" soon needs flesh-and-blood proof of her marriage.

Simon Montague Raine owns the Liar's Club, a gaming hall that is the cover for a group of rogues, rakes, thieves and spies in service to the Crown. When members of the club are murdered, he suspects The Griffin is involved, and after Mrs. Applequist starts using The Griffin's bank accounts, Simon must find a way into her home.

Agatha has no idea she is in any danger when she hires the soot-covered chimney sweep to pose as her husband. But with her natural talents as a con artist, liar and actress (she even poses as a dealer in the club), she's a perfect partner for Simon.

Bursting with adventure and sizzling passion to satisfy the most daring reader, THE PRETENDER will have readers hooked on this strong new voice in the genre. Bradley certainly knows how to combine engaging characters with excitement, sensuality and a strong plot. SENSUAL (Jun., 384 pp., $6.50)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin