In Bed with the Devil

In Bed With the Devil (Avon Romantic Treasure) - Lorraine Heath Despite the racy title, this book is my idea of a nearly perfect romance: nuanced characters, interesting plot, chemistry that's not *just* lust/desire, a few twists and turns along the way, and the right amount of "steam". IMO, it's a very well balanced story.I initially expected a trite, cliched romance-formula story with several quick romps through the "steam" room. But there were enough reviews that made me think perhaps this book was worth the reading... and I wasn't disappointed.I really enjoyed the nod to Oliver Twist, with the notorious child gang of pickpockets and cons led by Feagan. Little details like that provided a good bit of amusement and interest.Lucian and Catherine held my interest, too -- they could easily have become the expected H/H romance cliches. But once again, they were not -- or didn't seem so to me. Lucian was "dark" and somewhat tortured, but he didn't wallow in it. As Catherine discovers, there is more odd honesty and nobility about Lucian than even he will admit. And Lady Catherine could easily be a twittering, dewy-eyed virgin who simply wants to get close to a dangerous "bad-boy". But she's not. She has a real reason for why she seeks him out. Sure, there's major chemistry going on, and the girl knows she wants to get closer, but I didn't find her behavior appalling. Even though they kiss early on, I didn't feel that Catherine acted out-of-character for both a society girl and a budding woman. She actually surprised and pleased me by reacting much like I'd suppose I might have reacted in that time and place and in similar circumstances.Speaking of... while I'm sure some reader bemoan the lack of "steam", I thought the amount was just right. I don't need a blow-by-blow or a vaguely worded bunch of nonsense. IMO, the love scenes were satisfying, because they left the details to the reader's imagination but helped the reader to picture the important parts. (Does that make sense?)Off to find the next book in this series and more books by Lorraine Heath!