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. 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. He had gone through the small wrought-iron gate and left it ajar.
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No amount of Armani tailoring could soften that build — big framed and rugged — like a roughneck or a bull rider. His long fingers, clasped gently around a champagne flute, could have snapped the crystal stem with ease. Not my type. I was interested in something more. Even so, he was 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.
It gave me a little shock when his head turned and he stared right at me. I turned away immediately, embarrassed to have been caught staring. But awareness continued to spread over my skin, a heat so insistent that I knew he was still looking. I drank my champagne in fast swallows, letting the arid fizz soothe my nerves. Only then did I risk another glance. Those blue eyes glinted with an uncivilized suggestion. A faint smile was tucked in one corner of his wide mouth.
His gaze moved downward in a lazy inspection, returned to my face, and he gave me one of those respectful nods that Texan men had raised to an art form. I deliberately turned away, giving full attention to my boyfriend, Nick.
We watched the newlyweds dance, their faces close. But my boyfriend was being stubborn. Given our family history, of me rarely doing anything that warranted parental approval, it was a distinct possibility.
I thought it was a miracle that someone could love me the way he did. No other man, no matter how good-looking, could ever interest me. Smiling, I looked to the side one more time, wondering if the blue-eyed guy was still there. My brother gage had insisted on a small wedding ceremony. Only a handful of people had been allowed inside the tiny Houston chapel, which had once been used by Spanish settlers in the seventeen hundreds.
The service had been short and beautiful, the air suffused with a hushed tenderness you could feel down to the soles of your feet.
The reception, by contrast, was a circus. It was held at the Travis family mansion in River Oaks, an exclusive Houston community where people told a lot more to their accountants than their ministers. Since Gage was the first of the Travis offspring to get married, my father was going to use the occasion to impress the world.
So in light of the family reputation and the fact that the eyes of Texas would be upon us, Dad had hired a renowned wedding planner and given her a four-word instruction: "The checkbook is open. My father, Churchill Travis, was a famous "market wizard," having created an international energy index fund that had nearly doubled in its first decade. The index included oil and gas producers, pipelines, alternative energy sources, and coal, represented by fifteen countries.
Often he went to D. Having breakfast with my father had meant turning on CNN and watching him analyze the market while we ate our toaster waffles. With his full-bodied voice and outsized personality, Dad had always seemed big to me.
It was only in my teens that I came to realize he was a physically small man, a bantam who ruled the yard. He had contempt for softness, and he worried that his four children — Gage, Jack, Joe, and me — were being spoiled. So when he was around, he took it upon himself to give us doses of reality, like spoonfuls of bitter medicine.
When my mother, Ava, was still alive, she was an annual cochair of the Texas Book Festival and went for smoke breaks with Kinky Friedman. She was glamorous and had the best legs of any woman in River Oaks, and gave the best dinner parties.
As they said in those days, she was as fine as Dr Pepper on tap. After meeting her, men would tell Dad what a lucky bastard he was, and that pleased him to no end. She was more than he deserved, he announced on more than one occasion.
And then he would give a sneaky laugh, because he always thought he deserved more than he deserved. Seven hundred guests had been invited to the reception, but at least a thousand had shown up. People milled inside the mansion and out to the enormous white tent, which was webbed with millions of tiny white fairy lights and blanketed with white and pink orchids.
The humid warmth of the spring evening brought out the pillowy-sweet fragrance of the flowers. Inside the air-conditioned house, a main buffet room was divided by a thirty-two-foot-long ice bar laden with all kinds of shellfish.
There were twelve ice sculptures, one of them formed around a champagne fountain, another featuring a vodka fountain studded with pockets of caviar. White-gloved waiters filled frosted crystal cylinders with biting-cold vodka, and ladled caviar onto tiny sour cream blinis and pickled quail eggs. Reporters from the Houston Chronicle and Texas Monthly were there to cover the reception, which included guests like the former governor and mayor, a famous TV chef, Hollywood people, and oil people.
Everyone was waiting for Gage and Liberty, who had stayed behind at the chapel with the photographer. Nick was a little dazed. Coming from a respectable middle-class background, this was a shock to his system.
I and my fledgling social conscience were embarrassed by the excess. Not to be served, but to serve. I thought it was a good motto for someone like me to learn.
My family had gently mocked that I was going through a phase. I dragged my attention back to the long tables of food. I had made arrangements for the leftovers to be taken to a number of Houston shelters, which my family had thought was a fine idea. I still felt guilty. A faux liberal, waiting in line for caviar. I know who you are. I had gone to Wellesley and Nick went to Tufts. Each room was designated a different country, featuring a national drink.
Vodka in Russia, whiskey in Scotland, and so forth. To my delight, he spoke with a Texas accent. His smile had widened as he heard my accent.
No amount of Armani tailoring could soften that build — big framed and rugged — like a roughneck or a bull rider. His long fingers, clasped gently around a champagne flute, could have snapped the crystal stem with ease. Not my type. I was interested in something more.
Blue-Eyed Devil Quotes
How to write this review without the whole thing turning into a Hardy Cates droolfest. Big time! Hard as a young Liberty Jones did. I could see that beneath that mind-numbingly sexy bad boy veneer was a sensitive, loving, good-hearted person. My feelings never changed for him. Am I putting him on a pedestal? Not because of the dirty trick he pulled.
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