The Ravenels, Book 7
From the publisher:
New York Times bestseller Lisa Kleypas returns with an enthralling and steaming romance between a Scot with a mysterious past and strong-willed lady looking for adventure—and love.
“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”
Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.
From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.
So far, neither of those is going well.
Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals the secret of his mysterious past. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.
Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves . . . even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.
Kleypas is one of my favorite writers, and I really love this series. I especially love how she tied together her Wallflowers series with the Ravenels, from one generation to the next. This book elucidates that beautifully, but no spoilers here so I’ll not say much more on the subject.
Instead, I’ll tell you about the main characters of this romance. Merritt is a young widow who has taken over running her husband’s shipping business, and doing quite well with it. When one of her clients, Keir MacRae, loses a cask of whiskey due to an accident, he comes storming into her office, soaked in the Scottish whiskey he distilled. She placates him and that is our meet-cute. Even in Victorian England, we have to have the meet-cute!
Merritt thinks he is the best looking man she has ever seen, and that’s with half his face covered by a beard. Not to mention that brogue! Keir thinks she is a beauty, but as they talk there is even more of a connection. Then someone tries to kill Keir as he is on his way to Merritt’s house for dinner. He arrives late, and bleeding, and she gets a doctor to stitch him up. Then she invites him to spend the night.
Merritt hasn’t been with a man since her husband five years earlier. This is not the time period where widows can do as they please, they still must follow the strict guidelines of polite society and Keir knows that. She seduces him anyway and their chemistry just leaps off the page.
A second attempt on his life forces them together for a longer period, but he has short term amnesia, having lost the previous week of his life and his time spent with Merritt. But he is still strongly attracted to her, and as he recuperates he finds out a lot about his background that he never knew.
This was a steamy romance with terrific characters who come to life for the reader. It was a pleasure seeing some of the characters from the Wallflowers and Ravenel series, but if you haven’t read the previous books, I think this book stands alone nicely. Another excellent read and a wonderful addition to the series.
7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
DEVIL IN DISGUISE by Lisa Kleypas. Avon (July 27, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063082168. 288 pages.