Christian Stanfield, recently arrived in the Colonies, has good cause to avoid Velvet Storm. She has four over-protective brothers and a reputation for being arrogant and much too independent.
Velvet is determined to study art in Italy and has decided a sham engagement to Christian will prevent her parents from marrying her off before she can set sail.
When meeting him alone to present her proposition proves difficult, Velvet decides to entice him with a scandalous mermaid costume at a ball.
Christian wears a racy pirate costume to discourage his sister-in-law from inviting him to any more social functions. The combination results in a heated encounter.
Velvet tries to save Christian from her brothers by revealing their betrothal, but they attack Christian for his treatment of their sister. The couple, still pretending to be engaged, plot revenge on each of the four brothers.
Readers of Jade and Amber will enjoy this fast-paced yet festive romance. Sue Rich at her suspenseful best makes one hope for future tales, perhaps about Velvets rakehell brothers. SENSUAL (Aug., 344 pp., $5.99)