Spinning off from Nothing but Velvet, SILK AND Steel presents Lucien Raphael Montaine, the fifth Marquis of Linchfield who is drawn into danger and deception when he helps a frightened young woman.

In desperation, Lady Kathryn Grayson escapes from the asylum where her greedy uncle has had her confined, because of her unnatural interest in medicine. She finds sanctuary with the Marquis, who believes the story she tells him of an escape from white slavers.

It isnt long before Lucien discovers the truth, but hes taken with the brave, intelligent and warmhearted young woman. Then Kathryn concocts a scheme to place them in a compromising position so he will have to marry her.

Lucien balks at first, but realizes he loves Kathryn and the prospect of her in his bed is something he will relish. Kathryn strives to continue her studies, much to Luciens hostility. This is the only thorn in their otherwise wonderful marriage, but in the end it is the wedge that drives Kathryn away and forces Lucien to reevaluate his life and come to her rescue.

With its several subplots and deep character introspection SILK AND STEEL is far less adventurous than several of Ms. Martins other novels. Readers who relish character-driven stories with arrogant heroes and strong-minded heroines will find this a tale to cherish. SENSUAL (Feb., 354 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin