Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Hero: Christian Richard Benedict de Crecy Montcalm
Heroine: Honorable Miss Annelise Kempton
Date of Publication: February 1, 2006
Started On: February 5, 2014
Finished On: February 7, 2014
The Devil’s Waltz by Anne Stuart is a romance that offers a bit of a toned down version of the usual variety of heroes that Anne Stuart creates. For someone who pretty much adores the version of anti-heroes as some might label the heroes in Stuart’s books, the toned down version wasn’t any less appealing to me, perhaps because the story still carries the essential elements necessary to draw all sorts of emotions from the reader.
Honorable Miss Annelise Kempton is almost 30 years old and unmarried. Rendered penniless with the death of her father, Annelise moves from one household to another, offering her services for bed and board because to work for a living for someone of her standing was practically frowned upon. Her latest mission so to say lands her in the household of that of Josiah Chippah, a self-made man who wants the marriage of his beautiful daughter to achieve his goal of belonging to elite of the society.
Annelise’s charge is hellbent on marrying Christian Montcalm, the worst of rakes one could come across. Penniless to the point of being destitute, Christian has his sights set on the woman who would bring all the wealth that he requires to put his life back in order, not that he cares much about the sort of thing. The only obstacle in his path seems to be the infuriating woman that is Annelise, a woman who stirs his interest in a way it hasn’t been stirred in a long time, or ever.
Annelise takes her responsibility towards her charge seriously, but the things Christian makes her think of and want to do should not be the thoughts that should run through a woman who has accepted the fact that she would forever be a spinster and that no man, especially a man as beautiful as Christian would want her. With each drugging kiss that Christian lays on her, Annelise’s resolve to stay away from his charming self dissolves at her feet until she is practically laid bare with her naked longing for a man who would never be suitable for a woman like her.
Interwoven into the tale of heat, passion and love between Annelise and Christian lies the story of a nefarious villain who is willing to do everything in his power to get what he wants, even if it is by committing murder in cold blood. The Devil’s Waltz has one of the most beautiful epilogues that I have come across in an Anne Stuart novel. Like it always happens to me in epilogues in Stuart’s books, I had to read and re-read the epilogue until I was satisfied enough to close my eyes and go to sleep, even though it was the wee hours of the morning by then.
The Devil’s Waltz reaffirms my belief that reformed rakes make the best of husbands. And just like the heroes of the caliber that only Stuart can create, Christian had all those essential bits that makes a hero swoon worthy minus the dark edge that seems to be off putting to certain readers of romance. If you have never read an Anne Stuart and would love to read one, I suggest you go with this one. It definitely has the sort of hero that you can get down with, and a heroine you would equally adore. Not to mention the witty banter that is an integral part of the story which made me laugh at several places throughout the read. Recommended!
Final Verdict: Decadent and delicious!
He was sound asleep, his long legs stretched out in front of him, the blessed fire blazing, an empty bottle of wine by his side. He hadn’t been shaved recently, and he looked rumpled, dissolute and beautiful. Like a fallen angel. She moved to stand in front of him and pointed the pistol directly at his heart.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he murmured, and then he opened his extraordinary eyes. “It’s always unwise to shoot the man you’re in love with.”
She reached behind his head, caught his long hair in her hand, and offered her cheek to him, closing her eyes.
He laughed. “I don’t think so, my love.” And he swept her into his arms, pulling her tight against his strong body, and put his hungry mouth on hers.
He tasted like wine and hot sweet sin.
She wasn’t expecting it, wasn’t prepared for it. This was no lazy seduction, no charming flirtation. This was carnal, deep and shattering, and before she realized it he’d pushed her up against the wall, holding her there as he kissed her, and the feeling was so powerful she felt as if she might explode. His hand covered her breast, barely restrained by the antique chemise, and she could feel her nipples tighten against him, feel a wash of something totally foreign and good sweep over her body, until she was both hot and cold, trembling, wanting to weep, wanting to slap him, wanting to rip the white lace from her body and place his mouth where his hand was.
He put his mouth close to hers, just a moment away from kissing her, and her impossibly fast heartbeat raced ever stronger against his fingers.
“Shall I ruin you, dragon?” he whispered, aching for her. “Or shall I send you on your way?”
He tugged at his loosely tied cravat, sending it sailing. He ripped at his own buttons, opening his shirt and reaching for his breeches, when he stopped. “One last warning, love. This is no fairy-tale business, no pretty dream. It’s real. It’s dark and messy and for you, painful. In the beginning, at least. You’ll end up hating me.”
“Don’t worry about it, Christian,” she said. “I already hate you.”
“Chérie, I am going to die if I don’t finish,” he whispered in a hoarse groan. And the words, as if by instinct, were in French.
“Then finish me,” she whispered in the same language.
Her body convulsed and she tried to cry out, but nothing came from her throat but a strangled cry. She was out of control, lost, gone somewhere that she hadn’t known existed, and the only thing with her was Christian, his arms around her, shaking as hard as she was as he spilled himself deep inside her.
He was dressed, or at least halfway there. He had his breeches on, and his shirt was half-buttoned. He must have finally run out of things to do with her, she thought dazedly. So why, when she looked at him, did her body still shiver in longing?