When Will Tilliver fishes a beautiful young woman out of the water, he has no idea that she is a fugitive; he only sees her vulnerability. When the sheriff arrives looking for a mystery woman, Luke lies, telling the lawman Cassie Chandler is his wife.
Will is making his way to his family's Missouri homestead. Though he's never thought much about a wife, finding Cassie forces him to think about love, a family and his future. It doesn't hurt that she is a beautiful girl and one who needs his help.
Cassie finds it easy to fall in love with the gentle, kind cowhand who has risked his life to save her; she has no way of repaying his kindness. Their journey becomes one of awakening passion and eventually love.
With a secret hanging over her head, Cassie wonders what will happen once they arrive at Will's home. Uncomfortable with pretending to be man and wife, Cassie insists they formally marry before she will give herself completely to Luke. He has no problem with making her his bride.
The complications of family life intrude a bit on Luke and Cassie's first days of marriage, but Will's practical mother, his prodigal sister's return and their growing devotion seems to make everything perfect. That's until Cassie's past returns with a vengeance.
RUNAWAY is a sweet, touching and sensitive book that centers on relationships, not adventure or fast pacing. Well drawn characters liven up a predictable plot. It is these characters that compel the reader to continue to the very end. Ms. Davidson brings the true feeling of family and the depth of love to this moving tale. SENSUAL (June, 300 pp., $4.99)