Behind her lies a charge of murder, ahead of her nothing but the inhospitable West, yet Zoe Smith must escape Philadelphia for Gila City, a place only gold seekers and whores share.

She opens a laundry which thrives despite her lack of know-how. She also draws all sorts of interest, especially from Sheriff Daniel Whittaker, the last man she wants asking questions.

Courted by the sheriff, hunted by her past, Zoe is trapped between Daniel's love and her husband's evil intent. With business booming and the promise that she may have out-witted her husband, Zoe allows Daniel into her heart.

Despite her secret, their love grows and under their leadership, the town becomes tamer. Zoe has all she desires, until the past returns with a vengeance.

Ms. Caldwell's talent yields up a divine feast of rich characters that demand your attention. The true-to-life setting is complemented by a plot that thrums with suspense. Put this one on the top of your must-read pile! SENSUAL (July, 350 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Anne Black