Monday, December 26, 2011

Blue-Eyed Devil (Travises, #2) by Lisa Kleypas

Title:  Blue-Eyed Devil (Travises, #2)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format:  Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition edition (March 3, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0312351658
ISBN-13: 978-0312351656
Author's Website:

Every little girl deserves to believe in fairy tales. They should be able to dream of the day they walk down the isle with their very own Prince Charming., but have you ever noticed fairy tales hardly ever touch upon what happens after the "I dos" have been said?  Well, sometimes fairy tales don't have happy endings and little girls have a habit of growing up.

Haven Travis once had visions of marrying the man of her dreams and living happily ever after, only her happily ever after didn't come to fruition. Shortly after her wedding to her husband, Nick, started showing his true colors and they weren't the glowing white of a hero. It started out slowly, getting progressively worse until that fateful night when he threw her out of their apartment bruised, battered and barefoot expecting her to wait until morning like a dog outside the door.

Hardy Cates wasn't the type to believe in fairy tales. His childhood was anything but ideal and he'd fought for everything he had. Now a successful business man with just about everything he wanted, he knew something was missing.

     “Bad divorce?" Hardy asked, his gaze falling to my hands. I realized I was clutching my purse in a death grip.
     “No, the divorce was great,” I said. “It was the marriage that sucked.” 

While Haven's first marriage ended badly she'd find, “I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.” and give love a second chance. Sometimes you have to wait for the right one to come along.

Ms. Kleypas did something fairly rare in romance novels--she began this book with the heroine in another relationship. I thought it was a brilliant move, because I felt it lessened the blow of the heavy material Kleypas throws at us with the abusive relationship Haven endures. She gives us something to look forward to, a ray of hope within the stormy clouds. For we've been introduced to Hardy with the first sentence--'I first saw him at my brother's wedding, at the back of the reception tent." She thereby puts the two of them together at the very beginning, as Jill noted in a buddy read we did.

In 'Sugar Daddy', the first of the Travises series, we were introduced to Hardy. He'd managed to get on Haven's family's bad side when he'd  deliberately ruined a huge biofuel deal for her brother Gage. The first impression we get is there is no way under the sun these two would ever be right for each other, and perhaps at the beginning of the book that's true. The two have seemingly nothing in common, but from the beginning there is a spark. Upon first sight, Haven describes him as,"a compelling figure. He was good-looking, handsome if you overlooked the crook in a nose that had once been broken. His dark brown hair, as thick and lustrous as mink fur, was cut in short layers. But it was the eyes that seized my attention, blue even at a distances, a volatile color you could never forget once you'd seen it."  She later stated he was, "big and sexy and as cocky as a junkyard dog."

The first meeting in a wine cellar was both funny and memorable. It's our first glimpse that there is definitely some chemistry going on between the two, and it's anything but ordinary. Later, when the two meet again, Haven is quite different from the woman Hardy first encountered, and he notices it almost immediately. Hardy's known women who've been in abusive relationships, his mother being the primary. He slowly works his way into her heart slowly, but deliberately. The book hits on some of the problems someone who's been in an abusive relationship must face--such as fear of intimacy.

I also like Haven's best friend, Todd, was another enjoyable addition to the story. He had some of the funnest lines which sometimes offset some of the tension created by the seriousness of the situations encountered. When Haven asks him if he's bisexual he states, “I guess I'm bipossible,” seemingly not willing to label himself as anything. One of my favorite Todd conversations:
 “Todd? Are you still there?"

 "Yeah. I'm just trying to think of a good reason to continue our friendship."
 I grinned. "Jealousy is so unattractive Todd." 
" It would help if you could tell me one thing that's wrong. One flaw. Bad breath? Warts? Some condition that requires anti fungal spray?"
"Would chest hair be a flaw?" 
 "Oh, yeah." Todd sounded relieved.
"I can't stand a chest rug. You can't see the chest cut.”

On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a 
STEAM rating - too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed. Overall, I gave this a 5 out of 5 roses. I feel it was a nice mix of drama and romance. It reminds me a bit of the Julia Roberts movie, 'Sleeping with the Enemy'. The first time I read it I gave it 4 out of 5. At the time, I was heavily into historical romances and this being a contemporary romance was a big change for me. The style of the two types of romances are very different. This one was a bit heavier of a read than what I was used to at the time.  

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