Tag: Devil in Winter

Author Spotlight Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas

Posted October 15, 2009 by Holly in Features, Reviews | 3 Comments

Author Spotlight Review: Devil in Winter by Lisa KleypasReviewer: Holly
The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Wallflowers #3
Also in this series: Again The Magic, Scandal in Spring (The Wallflowers #4), A Wallflower Christmas
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 13th 2009
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 384
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five-stars

"I'm Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can't be celibate. Everyone knows that."
Desperate to escape her scheming relatives, Evangeline Jenner has sought the help of the most infamous scoundrel in London.
A marriage of convenience is the only solution.
No one would have ever paired the shy, stammering wallflower with the sinfully handsome viscount. It quickly becomes clear, however, that Evie is a woman of hidden strength—and Sebastian desires her more than any woman he's ever known.
Determined to win her husband's elusive heart, Evie dares to strike a bargain with the devil: If Sebastian can stay celibate for three months, she will allow him into her bed.
When Evie is threatened by a vengeful enemy from the past, Sebastian vows to do whatever it takes to protect his wife . . . even at the expense of his own life.
Together they will defy their perilous fate, for the sake of all-consuming love.

It’s no secret that I adore this book, everything from Sebastian to Evie. I know many will claim Derek Craven, the hero from Dreaming of You, is better, but I completely disagree. Not only do I find Sebastian to be the better hero, but I like the heroine and overall story better in this book as well.

We meet Sebastian in the previous book, It Happened On Autumn, where he’s cast as a villain (by his own actions). The thing I love best about him in this book is that he’s no different than he was in the previous book. He is un-apologetically a bastard. He doesn’t just act like an ass to cover a true heart of gold, he really just is an ass. But events in the book and Evie start to change him. I love watching his transformation.

Evie undergoes her own transformation in this story. Though she’ll always be a shy wallflower, she really blossoms and matures in this book. She’s shown to be a strong woman who’s willing to fight for what she believes in. I wasn’t sure about her in the beginning but she really captured me as the story went on.

The chemistry between Evie and Seb practically leaps off the pages, but that isn’t enough for Evie. She wants more from Sebastian than what he’s given every other woman in London – she wants his heart. And she fights for it. Though she knows she shouldn’t want the love of a rake – one who has shown himself to be a complete bastard – she longs for it anyway. I think her practicality is something that really saves this book from becoming like so many others. Evie knows what she wants is silly to wish for, but she can’t help but wish for it anyway.

As the story progresses, we actually see the changes in Sebastian and know he’s coming to care for Evie. When Sebastian falls ill and Evie nurses him back to health..well, his vulnerability and Evie’s strength really touches me. I think the role-reversal really shows us how far each character has come.

Sebastian really is the perfect anti-hero, and Evie the perfect woman to change him.

5 out of 5

The series:

Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

five-stars


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Author Spotlight: Sebastian vs Derek: Sebastian.

Posted October 15, 2009 by Holly in Discussions, Features | 14 Comments

Book CoverBook Cover

Anyone who has spent any time in Blogland knows that Kristie(j) adores Derek Craven, the hero from Dreaming of You. She loves that he’s an unconventional hero, she loves..well, I don’t know what else she loves. Because I don’t understand his appeal. I never have. Not only did I not find him appealing in the least, but I also didn’t like his heroine, or their story. DoY is one of the few Lisa Kleypas books I’ve never re-read, never had the desire to re-read. I remember finishing that book for the first time and being furious that Derek cheated on Sara with a prostitute who looked like her, and that Sara acted so TSTL throughout the book.

The thing about Derek is this: We knew he wasn’t the bastard be pretended to be. Despite his gruff exterior, we knew he’d eventually do right by Sara. We saw flashes of good in him – the way he protected Sara and followed her around, the way he took care of Lily and did his best to make sure she was taken care of. He was like a lost little boy waiting for someone to come along and love him. And that’s fine for some people, but it didn’t work for me. Especially because he was shown to be such a callous ass. He wasn’t one. Ever. He was just a man who didn’t think he was good enough.

Naturally others, like Kristie, didn’t see it that way. But I did.

Sebastian St. Vincent, the hero of Devil in Winter, totally captured me. Right from the beginning I was taken with him. Mostly because he was so much more…real. He didn’t change an ounce from the way he was in IHOA. He was an ass of massive proportions, and happy to be that way.

Sebastian stared at her with patent mockery. “If I say no, Miss Jenner, how would you know if I were lying or not? No. I would not have raped her. Is that the answer you want? Believe it, then, if it makes you feel safer. Now as for my question…”

“I will sl-sleep with you once,” she said, “to make the marriage legal. Never again after that.”

“Lovely,” he murmured. “I rarely like to bed a woman more than once. A crashing bore, after the novelty is gone. Besides, I would never be so bourgeois as to lust after my own wife. It implies that one hasn’t the means to keep a mistress. Of course, there is the issue of providing me with an heir – but as long as you’re discreet, I don’t expect I’ll give a damn whose child it is.”

The bottom line for Sebastian was always himself – everything he did he did for himself. I never once thought, “oh, he’s just pretending to be a rake and a bastard, he’s really just a big marshmallow inside”, because he wasn’t pretending, and he wasn’t a marshmallow. He lived by his own code of morals – very thin ones, but his nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Evie had been conditioned by too many encounters with Uncle Peregrine to discern between angry gestures and the beginnings of a physical attack. She flinched instinctively, her own arms flying up to shield her head. When the expected pain of a blow did not come, she let out a breath and tentatively lowered her arms to find Sebastian staring at her with blank astonishment.

Then his face went dark.

“Evie,” he said, his voice containing a bladelike ferocity that frightened her. “Did you think I was about to…Christ. Someone hit you. Someone hit you in the past—who the hell was it?” He reached for her suddenly—too suddenly—and she stumbled backward, coming up hard against the wall. Sebastian went very still. “Goddamn,” he whispered. Appearing to struggle with some powerful emotion, he stared at her intently. After a long moment, he spoke softly. “I would never strike a woman. I would never harm you. You know that, don’t you?”

We didn’t know with Sebastian if he could be everything Evie needed. We didn’t know if he’d ever be able to change for her, to become something he, at his core, just wasn’t. That, my friends, is the mark of a good anti-hero. And what an anti-hero he was.

I’ll take a good anti-hero, one who truly is bad but is redeemed, over a marshmallow pretending to be an ass any day.

And that’s the thing with Sebastian, he was redeemed. By Evie and her love. She was able to show him that there was more to life than idle pursuits and skirt-chasing. He was able to give and receive love and caring, because Evie showed him how. He wasn’t a scared little boy inside, he was a man who didn’t know love – until Evie.

Evie sent him a disbelieving glance. “F-furthermore, I will not be part of a stable of women whom you visit at random.”

Suddenly Sebastian was quiet, looking away from her. Evie waited, nearly choking on her impatience as she waited for him to admit that she was right. She waited until his gaze slowly lifted, and his winter-blue eyes stared into hers.

“All right,” Sebastian said huskily. “I agree to your terms. I’ll be…monogamous.” He seemed to have a bit of difficulty with the last word, as if he were trying to speak a foreign language.

“I don’t believe you.”

“Good God, Evie! Do you know how many women have tried to obtain such a promise from me? And now, the first time I’m willing to take a stab at fidelity, you throw it back in my face. I admit that I’ve had a prolific history with women—”

“Promiscuous,” Evie corrected.

He gave an impatient snort. “Promiscuous, debauched—whatever you want to call it. I’ve had a hell of a good time, and I’ll be damned if I say I’m sorry for it. I’ve never bedded an unwilling woman. Nor, to my knowledge, did I leave anyone unsatisfied.”

“That’s not the point.” A frown creased her forehead. “I don’t blame you for your past…or, at least…I’m not trying to punish you for it.” Ignoring his skeptical snort, she continued, “But it doesn’t make you an especially good candidate for fidelity, does it?”

His tone was surly as he replied. “What do you want of me? An apology for being a man? A vow of celibacy until you’ve decided that I’m worthy of your favors?”

They say reformed rakes make the best husbands; I have no idea if that’s true, but I know this reformed rake was way better to read about than a sad little boy.

You Craven lovers can say what you want about Sebastian, but I find him to be utterly irresistible.


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Tempt the Devil

Posted October 21, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 13 Comments


..and the devil will tempt you, too.

_________________________________

Relieved to see that he had regained at least a modicum of sanity, Evie wriggled out from between his body and the wall. “I object to the fact that you want me only because I’m unavailable, and therefore a novelty—”

“That’s not the reason,” he interrupted swiftly.

Evie sent him a disbelieving glance. “F-furthermore, I will not be part of a stable of women whom you visit at random.”

Suddenly Sebastian was quiet, looking away from her. Evie waited, nearly choking on her impatience as she waited for him to admit that she was right. She waited until his gaze slowly lifted, and his winter-blue eyes stared into hers.

“All right,” Sebastian said huskily. “I agree to your terms. I’ll be…monogamous.” He seemed to have a bit of difficulty with the last word, as if he were trying to speak a foreign language.

“I don’t believe you.”

“Good God, Evie! Do you know how many women have tried to obtain such a promise from me? And now, the first time I’m willing to take a stab at fidelity, you throw it back in my face. I admit that I’ve had a prolific history with women—”

“Promiscuous,” Evie corrected.

He gave an impatient snort. “Promiscuous, debauched—whatever you want to call it. I’ve had a hell of a good time, and I’ll be damned if I say I’m sorry for it. I’ve never bedded an unwilling woman. Nor, to my knowledge, did I leave anyone unsatisfied.”

“That’s not the point.” A frown creased her forehead. “I don’t blame you for your past…or, at least…I’m not trying to punish you for it.” Ignoring his skeptical snort, she continued, “But it doesn’t make you an especially good candidate for fidelity, does it?”

His tone was surly as he replied. “What do you want of me? An apology for being a man? A vow of celibacy until you’ve decided that I’m worthy of your favors?”

Struck by the question, Evie stared at him.

Women had always come far too easily to Sebastian. If she made him wait for her, would he lose interest? Or was it just possible that they might come to know each other, understand each other, in an entirely new way? She longed to find out if he could come to value her in ways beyond the physical. She wanted the chance to be something more than a mere bed partner to him.

“Sebastian…” she asked carefully, “have you ever made a sacrifice for a woman?”

He looked like a sullen angel as he turned to face her, leaning his broad shoulders against the wall, one knee slightly bent. “What kind of sacrifice?”

That drew a wry glance from her. “Any kind at all.”

“No.”

“What is the longest period of time you’ve ever gone without…without…” She floundered for an acceptable phrase. “…making love?”

“I never call it that,” he said. “Love has nothing to do with it.”

“How long?” she persisted.

“A month, perhaps.”

She thought for a moment. “Then…if you would forswear intercourse with all women for six months…I would sleep with you afterward.”

“Six months?” Sebastian’s eyes widened, and then he threw her a scornful glance.

“Sweetheart, what gives you the idea that you’re worth a half-year of celibacy?”

“I may not be,” Evie said. “You’re the only one who can answer that.”

It was obvious that Sebastian would have loved to have informed her that she wasn’t worth waiting for. However, as his gaze traveled over her from head to toe, Evie saw the unmistakable glow of lust in his eyes. He wanted her badly.

“It’s impossible,” he snapped.

“Why?”

“Because I’m Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can’t be celibate. Everyone knows that.”
He was so arrogant, and so indignant, that Evie suddenly had to gnaw on the insides of her lips to keep from laughing. She struggled to master her amusement, and finally managed to say calmly, “Surely it wouldn’t harm you to try.”

“Oh, yes it would!” His jaw hardened as he labored to explain. “You’re too inexperienced to understand, but…some men are possessed of a far greater sexual drive than others. I happen to be one of them. I can’t go for long periods of time without—” He broke off impatiently as he saw her expression. “Damn it, Evie, it’s unhealthy for a man not to release his seed regularly.”

“Three months,” she said, “and that’s my final offer.”

“No!”

“Then go find another woman,” she said flatly.

“I want you. Only you. The devil knows why.” Sebastian glared at her, his eyes narrowing into hot, brilliant slits. “I should force you. You have no legal right to refuse me your bed.”

Suddenly Evie’s heart stopped, and she felt herself blanch. But she would not shrink from him. Something inside demanded that she stand up to him as an equal. “Go on, then,” she challenged coolly. “Force me.” She saw the flicker of surprise in his eyes. His throat worked, but he remained silent. And then…she understood. “You can’t,” she said in wonder. “You would never have raped Lillian. You were only bluffing. You could never force a woman.” A faint smile rose to her lips. “She was never in a moment’s danger, was she? You’re not nearly the villain you pretend to be.”

“Yes, I am!” Sebastian seized her and kissed her angrily, stabbing his tongue inside her, assaulting her mouth with his own. Evie didn’t resist him. She closed her eyes and let him do as he wished, and soon he was groaning and kissing her with a tender passion that wrung pleasure from every nerve. By the time he lifted his head, they were both shaking.

“Evie…” His voice was hoarse. “Don’t ask this of me.”

“Three months of celibacy,” she said. “And if you succeed, I-I will go to bed with you willingly, as often as you wish.”

“For how long?”

“For as long as we both shall live. But if you fail…” Evie paused to think of the direst consequences possible…something that would revolt him to the very core. “If you fail, then you will have to go to your former friend Lord Westcliff, and apologize for abducting Lillian Bowman.”

“Holy hell!”

“That is my price.”

“Your price is too damn high. I never apologize.”

“Then you had better not accept my challenge. Or if you do accept it…you had better not fail.”

“You’ll have no way of knowing if I cheat.”

“I’ll know.”
© Lisa Kleypas. All rights reserved


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Sympathy for the Devil

Posted October 20, 2007 by Holly in Reviews | 14 Comments


Sybil and I have been researching ways to make you love St. Vincent as much as we do. I think for me, the reason he tops Craven is he was so much more…real. He didn’t change an ounce from the way he was in IHOY. He as an ass of massive proportions, and happy to be that way. But he was also tender when it suited him, and sexy and sensual always.

The thing with Derek is, we saw flashes of good in him. We saw the way he was with Lily, and how he did what was best for her, and in the end, we knew he’d do Sara right. We knew he’d love her and take care of her and do whatever he needed to keep her.

But we didn’t know with Sebastian if he could be everything Evie needed. We didn’t know if he’d ever be able to change for her, to become something he just wasn’t..at his core. That, my friends, is the mark of a good anti-hero. And oh, what an anti-hero he was.

Of course, despite himself he couldn’t help but be gentle with Evie, and want to keep her safe…even happy.

Perfect, I tell you…But then, I don’t have to. He speaks for himself in Devil in Winter.

_____________________________________

“I can’t let you take the chance. Bloody hell, do you want to find yourself in that bed six months from now with your lungs rotting away?”

“If th-th-that happens, it’s no concern of yours.”

As they confronted each other in the anger-snarled silence that followed, Evie had a fleeting sense that her bitter words had pierced deeper than she would have expected.

“You’re right,” Sebastian said savagely. “If you want to turn yourself into a consumptive, go right ahead. But don’t be surprised when I decline to sit wringing my hands at your bedside. I won’t do a thing to help you. And as you lie there coughing your lungs out, I’ll take the devil’s own delight in reminding you that it was your own damned fault for being such a stubborn idiot!” He concluded the speech with an irritated motion of his hands.

Unfortunately, Evie had been conditioned by too many encounters with Uncle Peregrine to discern between angry gestures and the beginnings of a physical attack. She flinched instinctively, her own arms flying up to shield her head. When the expected pain of a blow did not come, she let out a breath and tentatively lowered her arms to find Sebastian staring at her with blank astonishment.

Then his face went dark.

“Evie,” he said, his voice containing a bladelike ferocity that frightened her. “Did you think I was about to…Christ. Someone hit you. Someone hit you in the past—who the hell was it?” He reached for her suddenly—too suddenly—and she stumbled backward, coming up hard against the wall. Sebastian went very still. “Goddamn,” he whispered. Appearing to struggle with some powerful emotion, he stared at her intently. After a long moment, he spoke softly. “I would never strike a woman. I would never harm you. You know that, don’t you?”

Transfixed by the light, glittering eyes that held hers with such intensity, Evie couldn’t move or make a sound. She started as he approached her slowly. “It’s all right,” he murmured. “Let me come to you. It’s all right. Easy.” One of his arms slid around her, while he used his free hand to smooth her hair, and then she was breathing, sighing, as relief flowed through her. Sebastian brought her closer against him, his mouth brushing her temple. “Who was it?” he asked.

“M-my uncle,” she managed to say. The motion of his hand on her back paused as he heard her stammer.

“Maybrick?” he asked patiently.

“No, th-the other one.”

“Stubbins.”

“Yes.” Evie closed her eyes in pleasure as his other arm slid around her. Clasped against Sebastian’s hard chest, with her cheek tucked against his shoulder, she inhaled the scent of clean male skin, and the subtle touch of sandalwood cologne.
“How often?” she heard him ask. “More than once?”

“I…i-it’s not important now.”

“How often, Evie?”

Realizing that he was going to persist until she answered, Evie muttered, “Not t-terribly often, but…sometimes when I displeased him, or Aunt Fl-Florence, he would lose his temper. The l-last time I tr-tried to run away, he blackened my eye and spl-split my lip.”

“Did he?” Sebastian was silent for a long moment, and then he spoke with chilling softness. “I’m going to tear him limb from limb.”

“I don’t want that,” Evie said earnestly. “I-I just want to be safe from him. From all of them.”

Sebastian drew his head back to look down into her flushed face. “You are safe,” he said in a low voice. He lifted one of his hands to her face, caressing the plane of her cheekbone, letting his fingertip follow the trail of pale golden freckles across the bridge of her nose. As her lashes fluttered downward, he stroked the slender arcs of her brows, and cradled the side of her face in his palm. “Evie,” he murmured. “I swear on my life, you will never feel pain from my hands. I may prove a devil of a husband in every other regard…but I wouldn’t hurt you that way. You must believe that.”

The delicate nerves of her skin drank in sensations thirstily…his touch, the erotic waft of his breath against her lips. Evie was afraid to open her eyes, or to do anything that might interrupt the moment. “Yes,” she managed to whisper. “Yes…I—”
There was the sweet shock of a probing kiss against her lips…another…She opened to him with a slight gasp. His mouth was hot silk and tender fire, invading her with gently questing pressure. His fingertips traced over her face, tenderly adjusting the angle between them.

As Sebastian felt her sway, her equilibrium unraveling, he took one of her hands and drew it gently up to the back of his neck. She brought the other up as well, clinging to his hard nape as she responded to the sweetly nuzzling kisses. He was breathing fast, the movements of his chest a beguiling friction against her breasts. Suddenly his kisses were deeper, more forceful, bringing the passion to a burning urgency that made her twist against him, desperate for more closeness with his hard masculine form.

A sound of pained desire came from low in Sebastian’s throat, and he lifted his mouth from hers. “No,” he whispered raggedly. “No, wait…love…I didn’t mean to start this. I just…hell.”

Evie’s fingers curled tightly into the fabric of his coat, and she buried her face against the slick gray silk of his necktie. Sebastian’s hand cupped the back of her head, his body supporting her unsteady weight. “I still mean what I said before,” he said into her hair. “If you want to care for your father, you’ll have to follow my rules. Keep the room ventilated—I want the door and window open at all times. And don’t sit too close to him. Furthermore, whenever you’re with him, I want you to tie a handkerchief over your mouth and nose.”

“What?” Evie squirmed away from him and gave him an incredulous glance. “So that the tiny invisible creatures won’t fly into my lungs?” she asked sarcastically.

His eyes narrowed. “Don’t try me, Evie. I’m close to forbidding you visit him at all.”

“I’ll feel ridiculous, wearing a handkerchief on my face,” she protested. “And it will hurt my father’s feelings.”

“I don’t give a damn. Bear in mind that if you disobey me, you won’t see him.”

Evie jerked away from him as a surge of new anger filled her. “You’re no better than the Maybricks,” she said bitterly. “I married you to gain my freedom. And instead I’ve exchanged one set of jailers for another.”

“None of us have complete freedom, child. Not even me.”

Closing her hands into fists, she glared at him. “At least you have the right to make choices for yourself.”

“And for you,” he mocked, seeming to enjoy the flare of temper he had provoked in her. “Good Lord, what a display. All that tempestuous defiance…it makes me want to bed you.”

“Don’t touch me again,” she snapped. “Ever!”

Maddeningly, he began to laugh as he went to the door.

© Lisa Kleypas. All rights reserved


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