Archive for Romancing the Read
By: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Pub. Date: August 2010
Paperback & Electronic, 382
Genre: Historical Romance
Sensuality Rating: Sultry
As a teen, I used to read romance novels like they were going out of style. Historical, Regency and Gothic romances were among my favorites, and still are. Actually, I haven’t read a romance novel — from the romance section — in quite some time. Although, most of the novels I enjoy have a romantic subplot.
A couple of years ago, I spotted Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt on one of my fave blogs, In the Hammock. But alas, I never got around to reading it — until now. Boy, I’m glad I did! I don’t know what renewed my interest in historical romances. It’s fun to read something fresh and different for a change.
Dark, dangerous and utterly passionate, Wicked Intentions exceeded my expectations. The first book in the Maiden Lane Series features two terrific characters — Temperance Dews and Lazarus Huntington also known as Lord Caire. Set in mid-18th century England, Wicked Intentions is told from both Temperance and Caire’s viewpoints letting us in on their feelings, thoughts, intentions, and why their story is integral to the plot.
As for Temperance, she’s a widow who’s hiding a scandalous secret — when she was married she committed adultery. Throughout the novel, she is constantly plagued by her past indiscretion and attempts to rectify her sins by sleeping with Lazarus, the ultimate bad boy. He’s handsome, aristocratic, wealthy, and totally out of her league. But when they meet, by chance, the two of them instantly connect on an emotional and physical level.
Temperance desires him as much as he wants her. But there’s more to the story than just the sexual tension between these very different people. Temperance, along with her brother, Winter, is one of the owner’s of the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children in one of the seediest sections of London — St. Giles. The streets roam with beggars, thieves, and street walkers. And now, there’s a murderer on the loose gutting prostitutes.
Prior to the novel’s opening, Lord Caire’s long time mistress, Marie, is brutally killed. So, he goes in search of her killer. Yet St. Giles is not his world, unless you consider the popular brothel run by Mrs. Whiteside. Among being charming, Caire is a cad and quite the ladies man. His reputation precedes him wherever he goes and he reveals in it. But Caire needs help navigating the streets of St. Giles, so he asks sweet and saintly Temperance to be his guide.
But Temperance has troubles of her own. The home is financially in dire straits. So in exchange for helping Lord Caire, he must introduce Temperance to wealthy men of society in hopes they might be a new patron to the home. She wants to do anything to help the young children she’s taken in. She’s strong-willed, intelligent and a likable heroine.
Of course, Winter and her other brothers don’t like Temperance hanging out with the notorious Caire. He has a hearty sexual appetite which leaves little to the imagination. Her siblings also don’t like Temperance being out late at night. Nell, the home’s maid, is especially worried. Not only is a murder haunting the cobblestone streets, so is the Ghost of St. Giles. But Lord Caire promises to protect her, and he sticks to his word. As the two of them help each other, they fall in love. Caire awakens her wanton hunger she long thought dead. The bedroom scenes are suggestive and spicy, but don’t overshadow the story.
Lord Caire is sexy with his silver hair and hypnotic sapphire eyes, but he has also has his demons. He is respectful toward Temperance, her family and the residents of the home. Because of his wily ways, I wasn’t sure if I liked him at first but I quickly warmed to him. The romantic scenes between Caire and Temperance are palpable.
Wicked Intentions also features a subplot involving Temperance’s sister, Silence who is married to a sea captain. I enjoyed the side story and meeting other family members who appear later in their own novels, but I didn’t see the point for the side story….except it does leave the novel with a cliffhanger.
As for the ending before the cliffhanger, I felt it was a little implausible, but the main stories wrap up nicely. Wicked Intentions is a fast read and un-put-downable. I’m looking extremely forward to reading more books in the Maiden Lane series. The cover is pretty and so is the step-back. Unfortunately, the Lazarus pictured with Temperance in a seductive embrace on chaise lounge looks nothing like the book’s description. But it’s still a lovely image.
I’m giving Wicked Intentions 4.5 “Romancing the Read” kiss hearts for being suspenseful and titillating!
Sensuous – Flirtations and/or kissing. No lovemaking.
Steamy – Conventional lovemaking. Not explicit.
Sultry – Conventional lovemaking to explicit.
Sizzling – Very graphic. X-rated.