The genuine characters, realistic emotions and true aura of the West propel Jodi Thomas's books out of the ordinary and straight into readers' hearts. She does this beautifully in her latest romance, the first in a new trilogy, about three women who believe they've murdered Big Zeb after he attacked them.

When the local sheriff can't find Zeb's body, he assumes the women are innocent, but still insists they pay a fine. To get the money, they enter a "Wife Lottery." The men who pay their fines will be their husbands.

Carter McKoy has been a loner since childhood, when his parents were killed. Few people in town bother with him, since he rarely speaks. But the note he puts in with his money wins Bailee Moore's hand in marriage. As their relationship develops, it's threatened by many obstacles, including Zeb's return.

No reader will be immune to the emotional power and heart-warming story of THE TEXAN'S WAGER, as a tortured hero learns to give of himself through the love of a unique heroine. You will truly feel for the characters and be eagerly anticipating the next story in this marvelously begun trilogy. SENSUAL (Nov., 400 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin