REVIEW: In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine HeathFriday, August 8, 2008 1:00
Sandy M’s review of In Bed with the Devil (Scoundrels of St. James, Book 1) by Lorraine Heath
Historical Romance released by Avon 24 Jun 08
If you want a beautifully written book with strong characters who push all your emotional buttons and an intriguing storyline every time, you have to read Lorraine Heath. It doesn’t matter what era she chooses as the backdrop for her books, you will lose yourself just in the writing alone and you will fall farther still when her characters entrance you and give you their all.
Lucian Langdon is one of those heroes who wants everything he’s never really had. A home, a wife, love, a family, the respect of the aristocracy. He is an earl, at the top of the social hierarchy, but his past and his reclusiveness has painted him as black as the devil. Even the way in which he became the Earl of Claybourne is under suspicion and no one dares socialize with him and thus put their reputation at risk. Luke himself is guilt ridden after so many years of usurping an old man’s kindness and gullibility, but now that he’s had the luxury his lifestyle gives him, it’s hard to give it up, even if it’s the right thing to do. He’s determined to have what he’s never had the guts to reach for before and has finally decided to ask his long-time friend to marry him, to give him the peace and stability he longs for.
I absolutely adore Lucian. He had a horrendous childhood, orphaned and on the streets, taught how to pick pockets and otherwise steal to stay alive. When the previous Earl gives him the opportunity to stay out of prison for a crime of protection, he grabs on and doesn’t let go. Although he is confident in his abilities and station in life, it’s fascinating to watch him hesitate and let his vulnerability show when he finally does propose marriage.
And then the one woman who has been the only person to have the courage to look him in the eye when everyone else shunned him comes back into his life. He subtly begins to change when he begins to know her better, but he never sees the changes coming until it’s nearly too late. Lady Catherine Mabry is a woman who is quite independent, running her father’s household since his incapacitation sometime ago and with her brother off traisping around America. She’s beautiful, witty, and intelligent – just the kind of woman Luke truly needs. The fact she’s been fascinated with the man for a number of years, ever since the ball where she was the only one in the room with a backbone to acknowledge his presence, helps her go to him with a request that will change them both in a way that could break their spirits if he accepts her bargain.
Lucian, of course, accepts that bargain in exchange for Catherine’s help in teaching his almost-fiance the finer points of aristocrtic life, something the girl doesn’t want, along with not wanting to marry Lucian. The more time they spend together, you see them fall for one another, but whereas Catherine confronts her feelings for Luke to herself, he keeps his denial right up front in the guise of still wanting to marry his lifelong friend and start a family. He holds out so long that I started to get that feeling in the pit of my stomach, that feeling when you know something is wrong and will there be a way to make it right before irreparable harm is done.
The secondary characters are very well written, with most of them being friends of Luke’s from his days on the street, including the woman he intends to marry. The mystery surrounding his past and the way he came into the earldom is intriguing and does keep you guessing for a while. I really enjoyed Luke and Catherine together. She never kowtowed to him, always held her own in every situation, even when she knew it would break her heart. I kept telling Luke to stop looking at Catherine as a means to an end, to see her as the woman she is, the woman for him, but he wouldn’t listen to me for the longest time! Men! Despite all that, he’s now one of my favorite heroes that I’ve read in quite some time.
Ms. Heath strikes with a pretty wicked and emotional pen. This is only my fourth book of hers that I’ve read, the first three being her Texas trilogy, one of which brought forth tears a few times, something very few authors can do when I read. I became an instant fan then. In Bed with the Devil only solidifies my conclusion she’s one of the best out there.
“I’ve always been of the opinion that a woman would be far more satisfied lying in bed with the devil than with a saint.” —Lady Catherine Mabry
They call him the Devil Earl—a scoundrel and accused murderer who grew up on the violent London streets. A proper young lady risks more than her reputation when consorting with the roguishly handsome Lucian Langdon, but Lady Catherine Mabry believes she has no choice. To protect those she loves, she would do anything—even strike a bargain with the devil himself.
Lucian desires respectability and a wife above all else, but the woman of his choosing lacks the social graces to be accepted by the aristocracy. Catherine can help Lucian gain everything he wants. But what she asks for in exchange will put their very lives in jeopardy. When danger closes in, Catherine discovers a man of immense passion and he discovers a woman of immeasurable courage. As secrets from his dark past are revealed, Lucian begins to question everything he knows to be true, including the yearnings of his own heart.
Read an excerpt.