Devil in Winter was easily my favorite book in the Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas, and the reason I chose to re-read it. The story of the unlikely pairing between shy Evie and the unscrupulous rake Sebastian St. Vincent.A devil's bargain
Easily the shyest Wallflower, Evangeline Jenner stands to become the wealthiest, once her inheritance comes due. Because she must first escape the clutches of her unscrupulous relatives, Evie has approached the rake Viscount St. Vincent with a most outrageous proposition: marriage!
Sebastian's reputation is so dangerous that thirty seconds alone with him will ruin any maiden's good name. Still, this bewitching chit appeared, unchaperoned, on his doorstep to offer her hand. Certainly an aristocrat with a fine eye for beauty could do far worse.
But Evie's proposal comes with a condition: no lovemaking after their wedding night. She will never become just another of the dashing libertine's callously discarded broken hearts -- which means Sebastian will simply have to work harder at his seductions...or perhaps surrender his own heart for the very first time in the name of true love.
While re-reading this book, I slowly began to remember why I loved it so much the first time and no, it's not because St. Vincent is one of the best reformed rakes around -- and one of the hottest. Evie has a lot to do with it.
Evie is a desperate woman who takes desperate measures, but although her actions seem impulsive, they are calculated for maximum results. Evie has the upper hand with St. Vincent from the moment she enters his home, and the arrogant, heartless fool doesn't stand a chance.
I was curious to read again how she does it -- how she tames this heartless rake. And, Sebastian is heartless and definitely a rake who has already proven he cares little for friendship and for others. In Evie, Kleypas gives us a heroine who does it all with kindness, love, passion and determination. There is nothing loud or overly self-confident about her. Yet, she is relentless once she makes up her mind and achieves the seemingly unachievable.
Sebastian's change from heartless rake to passionate hero is a bit of a roller coaster. His physical passion for Evie takes him on an emotional journey he's never experienced and one he's not prepared to handle. In St. Vincent, Kleypas gives us a hero who in the end not only finds love and redemption, in the process he also finds who and what he was meant to be all along.
One of the reasons Devil in Winter is such a big draw for me is the chemistry between Sebastian and Evie. Kleypas uses both sexual tension and intense, sizzling scenes to weave their story and it works. From beginning to end,even through the heaviest scenes in the book that chemistry is present.
Evie's past is explored in detail in this book. On the other hand, Sebastian's past is touched on lightly in what I feel is a superficial and a rather off-hand manner. Interestingly enough, I was so taken by Sebastian St. Vincent's sexiness the first time I read this book, I didn't notice. During this re-read, I found myself wishing for a few more details about this man."...You're my wife." A smile chased across his lips. "My better half, to be certain." Leaning over her, he nuzzled into the fine trendrils that strayed over her forehead. His breath was hot and soft on her skin. "My prize... my pleasure and pain...my endless desire. I've never known anyone like you, Evie." His lips touched gently at the bridge of her nose and slid down to the top. "You dare to make demands of me that no other woman would think of asking. And for now I'll pay your price, love. But later you'll pay mine...over and over..." He caught her trembling lips with his, his hands cupping the back of her head.
When it comes to secondary characters, Cam Rohan is the most prominent. He is introduced in Devil in Winter, as the bulk of the story takes place at Jenner's, the gambling club originally owned by Evie's father and now owned and managed by St. Vincent. Lillian, Annabel and Daisy, the other wallflowers, make appearances although they don't overwhelm the storyline.
Devil in Winter is one of my favorite Lisa Keyplas books and on my keeper shelf.
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Wallflowers Series, Book 3
Released: February 28, 2006Grade: A-
Visit Lisa Kleypas here.
KMont's Year of the Historical 2010 Challenge - February Review
Nath's 2010 Re-Read Challenge- February Review