Devil in Winter

Devil in Winter  - Lisa Kleypas
"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."

My Thoughts:

(May Contain slight spoilers.)

"Despite his size and broad-shouldered build, there was a feline quality about him…he was like a lazy but potentially deadly tiger."

Not surprisingly I loved this book. How could I not when it's written by the incredibly talented Lisa Kleypas? She writes the kind of characters and love stories that I admire. As much as I do enjoy Historical Romances with notorious rakes, they're done to death and it's rare that I feel they offer something new and interesting. Here, Lisa Kleypas completely swept me away with her writing of Viscount Sebastian St. Vincent.
“Really, someone should tell St. Vincent that he’s a living cliché. He has become the embodiment of everything they say about reformed rakes.” 

It's to Lisa Kleypas' credit that the love story between Sebastian and Evie felt so fresh and interesting. The characters are all their own; Individual and fascinating to read about. Evie and Sebastian are so believably perfect for each other. I remember in the previous book it was noted that,
"Although no one ever seemed to look long enough at Evie to really notice her, she was actually quite beautiful—perhaps even more so than Annabelle—but in a completely unconventional way. She was freckled and red-haired, with large, round blue eyes and a mobile, full-lipped mouth that was utterly out of fashion. Her well-endowed figure was breathtaking, though the excessively modest gowns she was compelled to wear were distinctly unflattering. Moreover, her slump-shouldered posture did little to advertise her attractions."

So, needless to say, I wasn't surprised that Sebastian would indeed take a long good look at her when she arrived at his doorstep and took notice of her.
"You might loosen your corset strings,” he advised. “It will make your journey more pleasant.” 

“I’m not wearing a c-corset,” she said without looking at him. 

“You aren’t? My God.” His gaze slid over her with expert assessment.” 

There's so much more to both Evie and Sebastian than meets the eye that, in many ways, it felt so organic for these two to be right for each other, if that makes sense? Again it's a testament to Lisa Kleypas' expert writing that she makes her characters feel so real... and you forget that you're reading characters in a book.
“What happened to your stammer?" 

"I suppose I must feel comfortable with you. I tend to stammer less with certain people."

"No one's ever told me that I'm a comfortable sort. I'm sure I don't like it. I'll have to do something diabolical soon to correct your impression.”

I want to talk a little about some of my favorite moments in the book, and not surprisingly, there were many... I loved the whole trip to Scotland that they went on to get married. Sebastian was so considering of Evie and we saw the first signs of the kind of kindness he possesses that we hadn't really seen before. This quote is from that trip:
"I-I’m not making advances,” she told him as she flattened herself against his chest. “You’re just an available s-source of heat.”

“So you say,” St. Vincent replied lazily, tucking the quilt more tightly around them both."

Obviously I loved when they consummated the first time and Sebastian's surprise to his reaction to her... I loved the bargain they made and Sebastian's agitation and eventual willingness to do it. It was also rather funny. I won't spoil completely what happened in connection to the bargain, but I will say that it's about Sebastian going celibate and being faithful to Evie. It was lovely.
“It’s impossible,” he snapped. 

“Why?” 

“Because I’m Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent. I can’t be celibate. Everyone knows that.” 

The rest of my favorite moments I loved would spoil too much, so I won't talk about it, but I will say that this book is truly filled with quotable writing and lovely moments. It takes a while, into the book, before we're reunited with the other wallflowers and, in particular, Sebastian's former friend Marcus Westcliff. The moments with Marcus and Sebastian in this book were among some of my favorite moments, actually, and we really get to see that friendship more. I missed Simon Hunt in this, but his wife Annabella is here though. I need to mention Daisy because she has a kiss with another man in this book. I'm really curious about her book!

It was simply a wonderful read! My favorite book in the series, for sure, and with two of my favorite characters in Sebastian and Evie! I may end up re-reading this from time to time... I loved it that much!