BLUE-EYED DEVIL – Lisa Kleypas
St. Martin's Press (Hardcover)
Houston & Dallas, Texas – Present Day
Haven Travis is the only daughter of wealthy oilman, Churchill Travis. You would think she'd be the apple of her daddy's eye, right? Unfortunately, Haven has always walked to the beat of a different drummer and is more often than not at odds with her domineering father and over-protective older brothers, Gage, Jack and Joe.
At Gage Travis's wedding, Haven has a chance encounter of a sensuous nature with Hardy Cates, a rival and enemy of her family. While the encounter leaves Haven breathless, she's not so foolish as to throw away her future with her boyfriend Nick. Despite her father's threat to cut Haven off without a penny, Haven elopes with Nick and they move to Dallas . Everything seems perfect in her marriage at first, but slowly, and insidiously, Nick begins to take over Haven's life until there is little left of who she really is. Nick is a control freak, and when his control moves from subtle insults to violence, Haven realizes she must get away from him. Battered and bruised, Haven returns to her family and begins to heal. But when she sees Hardy Cates again, all the old feelings of passion flare, but along with the desire is a bone-chilling fear of allowing any man too close.
Hardy Cates is a man born on the wrong side of the tracks who has pulled himself up by sheer will and determination. Now his sights are set on Haven, and he won't let anything or anyone get in his way, not even Haven's fear. But is it Haven he truly wants, or is she just one more rung on his ladder to the top?
BLUE-EYED DEVIL is a superbly crafted novel. The book is in first person, told from Haven's point of view so the reader is privy to all her thoughts, dreams and fears. A woman from a privileged upbringing, Haven is not at all pretentious. She is a likable woman with a core of steel beneath her vulnerable shell. She grows dramatically from a woman who feels compelled to please others to someone who is strong enough to stand up for herself and fight for what she wants. Hardy is not as easy to know as Haven, mostly because the reader's impressions of Hardy are through the eyes of Haven and her family's perceptions of him. But even though we aren't privy to his thoughts, by the end of the novel, I was half in love with that blue-eyed devil myself. BLUE-EYED DEVIL is an emotionally intense and completely satisfying novel.
Crisp narrative, realistic dialogue, and fully developed characters will draw the reader in from the first page. The pace is good and the actions and reactions of the characters are realistic. The relationships among the Travis siblings and their interactions with each other and those outside the family firmly set each character in the reader's imagination. BLUE-EYED DEVIL follows Ms. Kleypas's popular novel, SUGAR DADDY, that tells the story of Gage Travis and Liberty Jones. I haven't read SUGAR DADDY yet; however, that did not detract from my enjoyment of BLUE-EYED DEVIL, and I'm certainly going to pull it out and read SUGAR DADDY now. I look forward to future books about the Travis family and can't wait to see what kind of women tame Jack and Joe. I've been a long time fan of Ms. Kleypas's work, but this is my first foray into reading a contemporary novel by her. I'm happy to report that readers will find the same passion, excitement and enjoyment, along with a well-crafted story, they have come to expect from this talented author. With BLUE-EYED DEVIL, the author has created a completely riveting story filled with all the emotion and passion her readers have come to expect. I highly recommend BLUE–EYED DEVIL and look forward to more books in the series.