After a disastrous London season, Patience Harrington is banished to Blackfield Castle to catalog a bequest to the British Museum. The gloomy edifice isn't the only disconcerting thing about Blackfield -- its owner, Thomas Asche, is definitely hiding something.

Obsessed with his secret government project, Thomas wants no one intruding in his life. He suspects Patience was sent to spy on him and tries to stay clear of her. But she's always underfoot, and for the oddest reason he finds himself attracted to her.

Patience doesn't know what to make of the rumors about a "monster" being created at the castle. Is Thomas another Frankenstein? What is he hiding, and why is he so suspicious of her? The only way to find out is to let him seduce her.

Mallory's novel approach to the far more serious Gothic will have readers grinning more than shivering with suspense. She breathes fresh air into the tried-and-true, and her talents seem to grow with each charming tale. SENSUAL (Apr., 384 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin