Shunned by the ton because of her mixed English and Persian heritage, Kira Melbourne longs for respectable life as the wife of a country clergyman.

When Gavin, the Duke of Cropthorne, learns that his cousin is betrothed to the "notorious" Miss Melbourne, he is determined to break the engagement by proving she is a strumpet. If necessary, Gavin will compromise Kira and further destroy her reputation. After all, everyone knows the men in his family are driven by lust.

Neither Gavin nor Kira are prepared for the sparks they ignite, and seduction takes a strange turn as Gavin becomes utterly enchanted by Kira, but she still yearns for respectability and marriage that the hard-hearted Gavin might not offer.

Though Ms. Bradley is very clear about her characters' motivations, I found Gavin too ruthless and cruel and Kira too meek for them to be stand-out characters. As always, Ms. Bradley displays a sharp wit and careful plotting as she moves her story forward, but I could not become emotionally involved as I have in the past with Ms. Bradley's novels. SENSUAL (Sep., 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin