How do you handle a Susan Johnson book? Carefully and with very thick fireproof gloves. Just when I thought Susan Johnson couldn't get any hotter, she comes up with one of her most erotic romances to date.

His father was a rake and rogue and Beau St. Jules is simply following in his footsteps when he finds Serena Blythe stowed away on his yacht.

Running away from her hateful position as a governess, Serena finds the ship she booked passage on gone. With no money she boards Beau's vessel.

With the sensual movement of the sea and the illusion they are alone in the world, Beau and Serena give in to their impulses and become lovers. Even in her innocence, Serena captures Beau's jaded heart and their sensual love play reaches new heights.

The idyll lasts through a stay in Lisbon and then on to Naples where they part; each to mourn the loss of the other. But, Beau has a diplomatic mission to fulfill and Serena has her painting.

However, when Napoleon marches to Italy, Beau knows he cannot simply stay away. He finds that Serena has been captured by the French. Their stormy, highly-charged relationship takes a new turn as the winds of war whip around them.

Susan Johnson manages to write a romance where lust turns to love; where an independent-minded man and woman indulge their senses, find adventure and come to understand the need for true devotion in their lives. Though not for gentle readers, WICKED is a wickedly-wonderful, superb work of erotic romance that titillates and pleases. SPICY (Jan., 368 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin