Devil Takes a Bride (Knight Miscellany, #5) - Gaelen Foley This is Lizzie Carlisle's book... Lizzie has been the ward of Robert Knight (from The Duke) since she was 4 years old; Lizzie's father was the steward for the Knight family, and his father before him, and his father before him, and so on. Lizzie's mother died soon after she was born, so when her father died, Robert Knight took in little Lizzie as his ward and a companion for his young sister, Jacinda.Lizzie and Jacinda are best of friends. They've gone to Mrs. Hill's School for Girls together. They've gone to parties and balls together. But Lizzie has always been aware that she's not truly part of the aristocracy; she's in-between below stairs and above stairs. It's never bothered her really, because she's been in love with the youngest Knight brother, Alec, since she was 9. But in book #4, Alec broke Lizzie's heart irrevocably, when he refused to use her dowry/inheritance to pay his gambling debts and instead got a loan from a wealthy Baroness widow, who took her payment in the form of "services" from Alec.Since Jacinda married Billy, Lizzie takes a position as a Paid Companion to an elderly widow, Lady Augusta Strathmore, whose only close living relative is Devlin "Devil" Strathmore, a London rake... or is he? Devlin's parents and sister were killed in a horrible inn fire 12 years ago; they were on their way to pick up Devlin, who'd been suspended from school for a prank - getting drunk - but then Dev took a swing at the headmaster while he was in his cups. Augusta saw that Devlin was shattered, and she allowed him a time of drinking and debauchery, but then she decided to pick him up and set him out on adventure. So for many years, Devlin sailed the seas on his Katie Rose (named for his mother) - to India, America, the West Indies, and wherever his heart took him. His valet is Bennet Freeman, a free black man that Dev met in America; actually, Dev saved Ben and his family, and Ben's mother told him to go with Devlin to seek his freedom and his future.But two years ago, Devlin decided he'd had enough adventure. He started looking into the tragedy that killed his family and 40+ other people. And things aren't adding up. The Cook who supposedly set the fire while drunk was known to be a sober, church-going man... but the Cook hanged himself a few months after the fire, supposedly from guilt. Both the fire inspector's report and the coroner's reports that were filed weren't the original reports - they'd been altered to say "accidental fire". But Devlin's traced the fire back to the Horse and Chariot Club - a club of debauched men who use their "club" to hide their proclivities. Membership in the club demands three things: 1. Being a rake of the worst sort, 2. Providing an expensive gift to the club members, and 3. Taking the maidenhead of an innocent young girl (15 or so) against her will. Devlin has accomplished the first task and is on his way to providing the 2nd, when he gets a letter from Lizzie saying that his aunt's health is failing. So Dev abandons his plans and rushes to see Aunt Augusta.But he finds that Lizzie's letter is carefully worded and only says that her health is less than excellent and that he should come visit. You see, Lizzie is tired of seeing all the expensive bills that Lady Strathmore is paying on Devlin's behalf. It reminds her too much of Alec, and she thinks it's time that Devlin visit. Little does she know of their history or family... that Dev loves Augusta fiercely, but that being around her too much is a reminder that she'll die and he'll lose her, too.Neither Lizzie nor Devlin is quite what the other expected or first thought. And they find themselves quite in harmony very quickly. Devlin admires Lizzie's fine mind and the way she can argue, as well as her shapely figure and pleasing face. Lizzie can't keep her eyes off Devlin, and she has to admit that he's not the debauched rake he appears to be; he's loyal and loving and gentle with is aunt. The two fall quickly in lust and a bit of love. While Lizzie has seemed prim and proper and nothing but a bluestocking in the previous books, it seems that she's quite good looking. And she's not immune to men. She craves Dev's kisses and touch, and before long, the two of them have gone about as far as a couple can go without her losing her maidenhead.But Devlin has to return to finish his plan... except the men he's tracking are getting suspicious. And then Aunt Augusta dies, and her will stipulates that Dev and Lizzie must marry within 3 months to split the bulk of her estate OR the money goes to charity. This puts a kink in Dev's plans, because if these men find out his attraction to Lizzie, they'll use her to prevent his revenge and Dev can't take the chance that she'll be harmed.Then Alec Knight steps back in... and tries to court Lizzie, himself. Alec has seen Dev and Lizzie together, and he knows that Dev is trying to gain entrance into the Horse and Chariot Club. Alec has been pursued by Carstairs, the brains of the group, and a man with a penchant for men. Carstairs lusts for both Alec and Dev, which is why they've both been asked to join. But Alec won't have any of it, and he thinks that Dev is beyond reproach for being a member. Alec uses all in his arsenal against Dev with Lizzie, but he only makes things worse; and it only makes both Dev and Lizzie realize they're really in love with one another.But who's the mysterious Mary Harris? And her daughter, Sorcha? And will Quinn, Carstairs, and Staines discover that Dev is on to them?----------------I suppose I liked this book mostly because Lizzie has always been a background character... someone we saw and thought we knew. But until this book, did we really know how pretty she was? How she was anything but "untouchable"? And while Dev is a tortured hero seeking revenge against the men who killed his family in a horrible way, he's not completely lost to his guilt of thinking that if he hadn't misbehaved, his family wouldn't have been killed. Oh, the guilt is there, as is the thirst for revenge. But away from London, Devlin doesn't put on the disguise - he allows himself to be himself with Lizzie. And that's refreshing. In previous books, Robert, Lucien, and Damien all still tried to put on an act with the women they loved; Devlin is simply himself. And there aren't any big misunderstandings - just a few accusations and a funny kidnapping in the middle of the night.I didn't like Alec's behavior, but the author makes it clear that Alec really believed that Lizzie would always be there for him, waiting. And I suppose that's what really gets my goat. I've had that happen to me with a few men... they want to sow their wild oats before coming back to the girl they want to settle down with. And just as they did with me, Alec finds that Lizzie waits for no man! (Go Lizzie!)Alec's book is next...