In this Code of the West-style romance, Loreen Matland and Jake Winslow, the man who answers her advertisement for a temporary husband, excel in hiding the truth.

A skilled gunman, Jake needs a place to hide. Millers Passing, Texas, a small town without a sheriff of its own, looks perfect to Jake. Hes vowed never to use his gun again. In the deal, hell farm for Loreen until she has enough money to move back east.

Loreen doesnt reveal her young brother and sister until Jakes arrived with the preacher. If the children arent surprise enough, Jake is also faced with the anger of the cattleman who wanted Loreen enough to murder her older brother for objecting, a man powerful enough to make a whole town live in constant fear.

Loreen has another, deeper secret and the immediate mutual attraction between her and Jake promises to make her shameful past the primary problem.

Jake believes hes nothing but trouble, and that he should leave because his past may catch up to him. He resists his growing attachment to the family, and his desire for Loreen, but with less and less success. And the town bully makes it increasingly difficult for Jake to keep his vow of non-violence.

In this satisfyingly traditional Western romance, Ronda Thompson affirms family ties and the fact that learning to love requires learning to trust. SENSUAL (May, 371 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger