cover image Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

Jude Deveraux. Atria Books, $18.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-68975-9

The last thing opera singer Maddie Worth, known worldwide as LaReina, needs on her desperate trip to the gold fields of Colorado is arrogant Captain Montgomery dogging her every step. She is used to freedom, a freedom she desires more than ever now that she's been blackmailed into carrying letters between abolitionist spies who hold her 12-year-old sister Laurel captive and are threatening to kill her. But then again, the rigidly authoritarian Ring Montgomery is annoyed to have to shepherd this woman, who seemingly fears nothing and makes a nasty habit of drugging him, running off on her own and even getting herself kidnapped. Actually, the two are very much alike in their single-mindedness; each is exactly what the other needs to open up his/her life. Deveraux ( A Knight in Shining Armor ) fans may find the plot a little thin, but will welcome yet another pair of feisty, independent souls whose conversation crackles with electricity. Less expected is a male character perhaps unique in the romance genre: one for whom love is a prerequisite for sex! (July)