Lady Meredith Barrington is an enigma to the ton. She rejected every suitor in her first season and then became a recluse after her best friend's tragic demise. Since her eccentric parents always travel, Merry is left as sole guardian of her younger twin brothers, and it is their roguish folly that places her squarely amidst scandal.

After the sudden death of his young wife eight years earlier, Trevor Morley, Marquess of Dardington, became London's most notorious rake. But his rapscallion behavior ends when Meredith defies custom in order to win a wager by kissing him, and he finds himself offering a marriage of convenience to save her reputation. Yet despite their acceptance of their new circumstances, both Trevor and Meredith will face far worse than nasty rumors when they discover that Merry is the target of a serial killer.

Even though the necessity of the "marriage-to-save-her-reputation" seems questionable (these two defy the ton's rigid rules every day), Ms. Basso crafts a suspenseful and sensual read. Fans will be happy at the mention of some familiar characters. But this new tale offers the expected details of the period, and even adds some zing with a few steamy scenes. SENSUAL (Jul., 368 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Anne Black