WEST OF HEAVEN
Jayne McKinney is widowed before her honeymoon is officially over. Then she discovers that her beloved was actually an outlaw named Jesse Fowler. The sheriff escorts her to the death scene, but Jayne escapes and returns alone to the ranch of caustic Ethan Trent in order to be at the grave.
Ethan's grief over the sudden death of a beloved wife and three children has shattered him. Ethan forces Jayne to spend a cold night in his barn after her graveside prayers, then takes her in when she falls ill. The long process of nursing her begins to thaw his frozen heart. As she recovers from pneumonia, Jayne suffers a different sort of illnesswhat Ethan recognizes as morning sickness.
Soon Ethan realizes Jayne's husband's killer is also stalking her. He offers a marriage of convenience to protect her. Although he can't acknowledge it yet, she represents the gift of life that can rescue him from the intensity of his grief.
This romance takes place primarily on a realistically created remote western ranch. The hero, definitely alpha male and code-of-the-west cowboy, provides wonderful appeal, as does the heroine and her orientation to family values. This story proves that love is salvation from death and its worst griefs. SENSUAL (Jul., 296 pp., $5.25)