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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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
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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Let’s Get Ready to Ruuuumbllle….

Posted October 19, 2007 by Holly in Discussions | 6 Comments

The lines have been drawn, y’all. The players selected and the teams are manning the battle lines.

That’s right, it’s a full on blog war….

What prompted this, you wonder? Well, I’ll tell you….

Sebastian St. Vincent and Derek Craven. Two swoonworthy heroes, but one man is better than the other…what side are you on?

Me, I’m a St. Vincent girl all the way. I’ve got three words for you:

Derek Craven Who?

Yeah, that’s right, I said it.

GO SEBASTIAN!!!!!


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