Devil in Winter

Devil in Winter  - Lisa Kleypas First read: March 12-15, 2010

Second read: March 23, 2013

Third read: August 12, 2018

"This review contains spoilers."

.. background

This is the third book in the "Wallflower" series. In the previous two books, we are introduced to Evangeline (Evie) Jenner. She is the daughter of a gaming club owner, has a severe stammer, is extremely shy, has a beautiful heart & character, has brazen red hair, gorgeous blue eyes, and freckles. When she's around her best friends and adoptive sisters Lillian, Daisy, and Annabelle her stutter literally disappears.
She can be herself without criticism and is totally relaxed.

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*** in all honesty, I was reading this story and thinking if this was modern day, this is who the Wallflowers would be ***

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In the previous book [b:It Happened One Autumn|827412|It Happened One Autumn (Wallflowers, #2)|Lisa Kleypas||1823891], we are introduced to Lord Sebastian St. Vincent. He is childhood friend of Lord Marcus Westcliff (Lillian's husband), and also a renowned rake. At the end of the book, St. Vincent kidnaps Lillian, drives to Greta Glen to marry her in a desperate attempt to solve his financial problems, not really taking into account the consequences of his actions. When Marcus finally catches up with them and rescues Lilly, he thoroughly gives St. Vincent the beating he deserves, and thus ending their long friendship because of the betrayal and breaking Marcus' trust.

..present time

This story picks up right where the last one left off. St. Vincent is sitting in his house in London 'licking his wounds' and reflecting how far gone he is and how he crossed a line that should never have been an option in regards to Marcus and their friendship. While he's sitting there wallowing, and trying to make plans for his future, he receives an unexpected guest. St. Vincent is told by his Vale that a woman is here to see him. He thinks it's one of his many women come for a quick toss, and tells his Vale to send her away, that he's already preoccupied with someone else. When they refuse to leave, St. Vincent reluctantly admits her. The last person he expects to see is Ms Evie Jenner because of her shy nature and stutter if anything he thought perhaps it would have been Annabelle Hunt who would have come to gloat or scream at him.
Evie sits down facing St. Vincent and proceeds to tell him she has a proposition for him. Intrigued, St. Vincent encourages her to go on.
Evie's proposition is as follows: She informs St. Vincent that her father is dying of consumption and that he doesn't have very long to live. Her Aunt and Uncle have refused to allow Evie to visit her father because they feel his association is detrimental to her's (and their) reputation. Every time she has sneaked out and tried to see him, they have brought her back and beaten her and locked her in her rooms for weeks with barely enough bread and water to survive. She proposes that St. Vincent marry her and under his protection, her family can't get to her and allow her to care for her father in his dying days. When her father passes, her inheritance will be his, thus solving his financial problems. Evie also proposes that they consummate the marriage, but it is a one time deal. She refuses to be another one of the women that St. Vincent beds 'just for fun'. For Evie it is 'making love' and not just sex... it means something special to her, and won't let be anything else.
While St. Vincent is listening to Evie's proposal, many things are going through his head.
1) He's thinking of all the people she could approach, why him?
2) Evie's extremely courageous and bold to make such a proposition
3) He really looks at her, and 'sees' her for the first time, and it shocks him to realize that she's beautiful and that he's attracted to her.
But oh, St. Vincent is arrogant when he realizes he's going to accept the proposition.. coming across like it means nothing, when in reality it's a win-win for him.
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After trying to shock Evie with his abrasive behavior, and realizing she won't back down, he agrees to the proposal. They then prepare to leave that evening for the long journey to Greta Glen, Scotland to marry.

I have to admit the first time I read this book I really 'didn't feel the love' for Sebastian, however, this time...drool!! I LOVE his character so much this time around.
I really enjoyed reading how their relationship developed with just how each small acts of kindness gradually brought them closer. To how, no matter how much Sebastian tempted Evie, she stuck to her guns and made him work for it; to prove that he thought of someone other than himself, by making a sacrifice for her (to which he agreed to the challenge). I enjoy how they gradually fell in love with one another but were too scared to admit it for fear of being rejected or hurt.

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Until in the end Sebastian finally let his guard down and admitted what his heart already knew, but his mind was slow to catch up on.

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.. and then it was the first time Sebastian had 'made love'...W0W!!!
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.. Again a 5 star rating!
READ IT OR RE-READ IT, you won't be disappointed!