No woman should have to face what Tess has had the courage to survive. Her father and husband murdered, her home burned and herself captured and raped by a ruthless Comanchero, Tess survives because of Texas Ranger John Hawkins-a man who fears nothing, not even death.

John is the only one willing to follow the Comancheros to find Tess and return her to El Paso. Their journey brings the half-Native American Ranger and the strong-willed widow together in a special way and when Tess realizes that she needs a husband, it is John she chooses for the "job."

Fearful that people will know her unborn child is a product of rape, Tess decides to marry John, whose heritage matches that of the baby's father, and who she already respects and likes. John has already fallen in love with Tess, but he wants her for the sake of love, not honor or duty.

Tess and John are perfect for one another and though their marriage does not begin with love, passion blossoms. When John is wounded, Tess realizes how deep her love goes.

Though John loves Tess, he is still a Texas Ranger first and his assignment places them in danger. As John seeks to prove that the most powerful rancher in El Paso is a cattle rustler, he places them both in danger's path where only love and courage can save the day.

Realism, strong emotions and graphic, historical details are hallmarks of Ms. Bittner's novels. TEXAS EMBRACE has them all. SENSUAL (March, 390 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin