Rachel Terhune married to save the Circle T Ranch for her ailing father. Now that she's a widow, she's running the ranch alone and trying to save it from two neighbors who want her land.

Nick Dusaq comes to the Circle T looking for work. Rachel hires him because the ranch needs good cowboys, but he makes her uncomfortable.

Nick decides to work for the widow woman until he has enough money to buy his own land and provide a home for his sister. Rachel, young and appealing, doesn't fit Nick's idea of a widow, but he stays, partly because he's attracted to her.

During the winter, disaster brings Nick and Rachel together in an isolated cabin for a heated encounter.

Nick returns to Texas for his sister, unaware that Rachel is pregnant. Because Nick is gone and she's not sure he'll return, Rachel marries Gordon Wood to ensure support for her child.

With her proficient recreation of the Western milieu, Patricia McLinn evokes the childhood suffering of Nick and his sister, and her heroine's experience in marriage as a means of sacrifice. Via an insightful secondary love story, Patricia McLinn makes her romance a moving confirmation of the healing power of love. SENSUAL (June, 322 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger