Much to her dismay, Ailis MacFarlane is betrothed by her treacherous uncle to lecherous Donald MacCordy, the man who was to have wed her sister, until she shamed him by getting pregnant by a secret lover.
When Alexander MacDubh, chief of the MacDubh clan, finds out about his brother's dead lover and the children she bore him, he calls together a raiding party and sets out for Ailis' home, where he captures his kin and their aunt Ailis as well.
Alex has no love of women and no qualms about using Ailis as a means to strike out at his enemy, Donald MacCordy. Taking Ailis to his bed brings Alex a satisfaction he had not anticipated, and one he fervently denies—to no avail.
Ailis is smitten with Alex from the moment they meet, and she sets out to make him love her, despite his hatred of her clan and his distrust of women. Only when Ailis is taken from him, and her life and that of their child's is threatened, does Alex realize the depth of his feelings for her.
Some may remember Alexander MacDubh from Howell's earlier books, Amber Flame and Promised Passion, as a dashing and under- standing ladies' man.
Now hardened from disastrous events, Alex is a man who must learn to forget the past, and he manages to accomplish this with the help of a very loving and courageous woman.
Although a more original plot would have enhanced this story, readers seeking a tale of feuding clans and the sometimes painful growth of the human spirit will be satisfied. SENSUAL (Reissue, Sep., 352 pp., $6.50)
(Editor's note: This review originally appeared in the March '93 issue of Romantic Times.)