The tragedies of war sometime catapult people out of their worlds of shallow perceptions to an honorable way of life and the Napoleonic Wars of the Regency era are no exception.

Lord Anthony Nelthorpe imitates his profligate father until he's forced to enter the army to avoid debtor's prison. Then he attempts the seduction of an officer's daughter so he can blackmail her into marriage and gain her fortune.

Jenna Montague travels with her army father, nursing the troops and helping their families. At first, she's tempted by Tony's charm, but then she defends herself from his improper advances with a knife to his throat.

When the two meet again, Jenna's a pregnant war widow and Tony is a wounded, reformed rogue who longs to repair his sordid pre-war reputation. Out of love for her, he bets the seriously depressed Jenna that she can't reform his character to honor all those men, especially her father and her husband, who didn't survive. "'Tis a wicked wager," she says, but she's drawn from her grief, and toward new passion, to accomplish the task.

This expanded Regency with its unusual situation, unique true-to-period characters, intrigue and up-to-snuff action makes for very enjoyable reading. SENSUAL (Nov., 292 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger