Regency afficionadoes will find this a real gem, as witty and clever as any traditional Regency in which two intriguing characters square off in a mutual marriage of convenience.

When rakehell Jack Ashcroft inherits the title of Marquis of Foxhaven, he also inherits his deceased grandfathers deepest wish that he bring respect to the name. Jack knows of only one way to insure this: marry a virtuous woman.

Widowed Nessa Houghton longs for a reprieve from her restricted life. With her mourning period nearly over, she risks her reputation by sneaking off to a masked ball. The friar is intrigued by her sweet kiss.

Jack is determined to win the ladys hand, but Nessa is just as determined to remain unwed. Realizing she is jeopardizing her sisters place in society, she agrees to marry Jack but remain independent.

Their courtship, passion-filled honeymoon and marriage are everything they could both desire. But the idyll is over when Jacks mission for Wellington leads them into dangerand for Nessa, the adventure of a lifetime.

Brenda Hiatt beautifully captures the era as we watch Jack and Nessa play by the rules of society while making a few of their own. She fills the pages with historical details, from the ambiance of the ton, to masquerades, to missions in France. SENSUAL (June, 390 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin