Nicholas Garvey grew up poor, illegitimate and pretty much alone in New York City. Now he's a wealthy banker in a small Texas town, learning about the possibilities of real love by watching his friend Sheriff Cleary and Cleary's growing family. Suddenly Nicholas discovers he's lost a sister he never knew and is the guardian of her orphaned child, his niece. Although he's been thinking about marriage, this immediate family is, at first, more shocking than appealing.

There's soon no doubt in his mind that he wants the child's attractive nanny in his bed, and he offers her overtime hours as his mistress. Carlinda Donnelly refuses, but she knows leaving quickly represents her only real defense from temptation.

There's a villain, a foiled kidnaping and an almost-gentle danger. No gun-blazing intensity, but a pleasant bubble-bath read with Carolyn Davidson's usual fine writing to recommend. SENSUAL (Mar., 304 pp., $5.25)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger