Blurb (courtesy of lisakleypas.com): "Blue-Eyed Devil" is the story of the charming, volatile and ambitious Hardy Cates, who is determined to carry out his private revenge against the Travis family. Haven is the rebellious Travis daughter who struggles against her overpowering attraction to the most dangerous man in town. But when Hardy crashes a Travis family wedding, the heiress and the bad boy uncover an explosive chemistry that neither of them can deny. Hardy Cates is an unscrupulous rascal, but now he's trying to clean up his act. He is looking for the perfect society wife, the kind of woman Haven Travis could never be. Having once been burned by a love affair gone wrong, Haven vows to stay far away from the sexy heartbreaker. However, Haven discovers that the temptation of a blue-eyed devil is hard to resist. And then when a menace from Haven's past appears, Hardy may be the only one to save her...
In this sequel to Sugar Daddy, we get Hardy Cates and Haven Travis' story. This has been reviewed all over blogland, so I'll just give a quick synopsis of the plot here. Haven and Hardy meet at Liberty and Gage's wedding. Hit it off, huge attraction. But Haven is going to marry Nick and have her HEA.
When they meet again, Haven is recovering (very slowly) from an abusive marriage, divorce, and learning to stand on her own two feet again. Hardy is up against the entire Travis clan after sabotaging one of Gage's business deals. Still, instant attraction yet again, although Haven has a very difficult time with it.
While this was definitely difficult to read in many aspects because of the violence toward Haven, which was, IMO, very realistically written, I felt that the first person narrative delivered by Haven was often written in a very matter-of-fact, clinical manner. It drew me in less than I otherwise might have been.
What was not clinical, though, were the interactions between the characters; the dialogue, the scenes where the characters actually come together to communicate. These were beautifully done, and I felt every minute of Haven's anguish as she tried to complete sexual intercourse with Hardy. I felt his frustration at not understanding what her problem was. I felt Gage's anger at not being able to handle Haven's problems for her. I felt Nick's irrational anger at Haven.
I also really loved seeing Haven’s family close ranks around her, yet at the same time allow her the room to grow and heal; trying to suppress their own alpha urges and let her spread her wings. It endeared them all to me. I loved knowing that Hardy was a goner from day one. I could see this, even if Haven and the rest of the Travises couldn’t. He handled her so gently, so beautifully. Yet at the same time, willing to kill for her. "Where I come from, 'He needed killing is an acceptable defense'." (Apologies again if I got this line wrong – working from memory, but this one stuck out in my mind). You gotta love a guy who is willing to do anything for you.
So, all in all, I did like this book an awful lot, even if at times, I felt like I was plowing through the DSM-III for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and/or Domestic Violence. Definitely will keep on reading the series. That's saying a lot for me, if you know my serious aversion to 1st person! But who can turn away a Kleypas in any form? Not me!
You can buy Blue-Eyed Devil here.
Next up is Haven's brother Jack Travis in Smooth Talking Stranger. Up for pre-order already! (at the time of this posting, it's 34% off the cover price at Amazon.com)