Wicked Intentions

Elizabeth Hoyt
Wicked Intentions
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Publisher
Grand Central Publishing
Release Date
August 2010
ISBN
9780446558945
Series
Book 1 of Maiden Lane
Genre
Historical Romance

SUMMARY
From the New York Times bestselling author of To Desire a Devil comes this thrilling tale of danger, desire, and dark passions.

A MAN CONTROLLED BY HIS DESIRES . . .

Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles, London's most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows St. Giles like the back of her hand-she's spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established. Now that home is at risk . . .

A WOMAN HAUNTED BY HER PAST . . .

Caire makes a simple offer-in return for Temperance's help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will introduce her to London's high society so that she can find a benefactor for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems, and what begins as cold calculation soon falls prey to a passion that neither can control-one that may well destroy them both.



Book Review by Zenith (reviewer)
Nov 18, 2010   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
228 people found the following review helpful
Lord Caire doesn't care about anyone or anything, although when Mrs Dews catches his eyes late one night on the dirty, crime-riddled streets of St. Giles, an idea strikes. He could use Mrs Dews to help him get information to solve a crime that happened very close to him, as close as anyone could have ever gotten.

Lord Caire, or Lazarus, petitions Mrs Dews to help him navigate the streets of St. Giles in order to find the brutal murderer of his mistress, Marie. She was the only one that even came close to being someone that Lazarus cared about. Mrs Dews accepts only because Lazarus promises to help her find a patron to contribute to the foundling home that she and her brother, Winter, run. Mrs Dews lives in the foundling home on Maiden Lane in St. Giles and, in order to save some of the children she takes care of, she has learned to find her way around St. Giles.

The only catch is that it will be a perilous mission to find the killer. The streets of St. Giles are very dangerous and there is a rumor floating around of a masked phantom that stalks people in the night and disembowels them. Also, they have to go at night as that's when the bad people come out to play. After visiting a few of the most scandalous places in St. Giles, they come up with very little evidence and only one suspicious person.

It's time for Lazarus to take Mrs Dews to an event in order to help her find a patron for the foundling home. He accompanies her to a musical evening but Mrs Dews feels she doesn't belong amongst this class of people. She meets Lazarus's mother who is not the picture of nice. She is rather rude! However, once the piano starts to play, Mrs Dews is totally absorbed in the music.

This is the first real intimate moment between the two mains as Temperance (Mrs Dews) grips Lazarus's hand, closes her eyes and feels the music. Lazarus hasn't seen anything like this before and is mesmerized by her. As the pages flip by, the reader is taken into the investigation and the danger heats up, as they get closer to the killer. We learn about the main characters' pasts as their love story unfolds. There is an injury which has Temperance taking care of Lazarus and this helps to move their romance forward. There are a few sticky situations and as much action as any action novel, only better, because it is set in a time that most of us can only dream about.

The descriptions of St. Giles in this book had me shivering, hoping that I'd never ever have to step foot in a place like that, though craving the danger, as a rush, alongside a handsome, smart-talking, quick-witted man such as Lord Caire. I was able to picture the small city streets and alleyways with ease because, in my opinion, Elizabeth Hoyt is a master of all facets of writing. The descriptions of the twisted, ugly scoundrels, that walk the streets and sit in the gin bars, really grossed me out but added to the danger of the whole situation that Temperance and Lazarus get themselves involved in.

The romance in this story is sizzling but the tension between the two mains from the beginning is excruciating. It's there, but it is very slow building. Lord Caire speaks to Temperance in ways that no man has ever dared to speak to her before. In some novels the woman would be disgusted, but Temperance feigns the disgusted act, though his words are taunting and, though she didn't want to admit at first, arousing. She hides an embarrassing secret about her past, one that makes her feel the need to atone for the rest of her life. Something that makes her believe she should never again enjoy the company of a man. Lazarus holds his own secret, deep in his past, which makes him believe he is a monster. Through working together, they gradually divulge their secrets to one another and eventually learn what it takes to get past certain things that would make a person feel undeserving of happiness.

This book was such a fun and interesting read. I have always enjoyed Elizabeth Hoyt's writing and will continue to enjoy it in the future. The next book in the series is Notorious Pleasures set to release February 2011 and I cannot wait to read it. The first chapter was included at the end of this novel and it seems like a great read that will have the reader blushing every other paragraph. With Wicked Intentions, Ms Hoyt has set up a whole mystery with the masked phantom. I can't wait to find out who it is, even though I already have my own assumptions as to who is hiding behind that mask. She has also set up a whole new series that will have this reader purchasing the books as they come out, preordering as a matter of fact!
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Book Review by Silver (reviewer)
Dec 22, 2010   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
205 people found the following review helpful
Elizabeth Hoyt's fluid and masterful writing brought the unsavory world of St. Giles to vivid life. From the opening scene, she drew me into the heroine's fascinating and dangerous world of cutthroats and riffraffs, something we don't usually encounter in historical romances.

Temperance Dews made a bargain that she shouldn't have with the notorious Lord Caire, who was known for his...unusual tastes in the bedroom. But what choice did she have? She had to save the home and the close to thirty children they house under their care, and all Lord Caire wanted was a guide into St. Giles as he searched for the murderer of his mistress. Until they asked questions of the wrong person and danger stalked them at every turn.

Ms Hoyt certainly gave Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, a complicated background plus a mysterious skin ailment. I hung on the edge of my seat as I read, wondering if his condition somehow caused his unusual sexual preference. Or, even if not, I wanted to know what caused his skin to be so sensitive that somebody else's touch cause him pain? And though he had lots of women, it was Temperance that drew emotions from him, when he felt nothing for such a long time.

It was in pursuit of feelings that drove him to search for his mistress's killer. Little did he know it would turn out to be his salvation.

Temperance, on the other hand, was a widow who carried a heavy guilt within her. She's a complicated heroine, a perfect match for Caire. We may question her past actions, yet, it was also that that made her human. She was young then, searching and confused. I have to admit that the enormity of her guilt surprised me when the truth was finally revealed.

This book wouldn't have been complete without the wonderful cast of secondary characters. There's the lovely Lady Hero, who sort of befriended Temperance, and then there's Caire's mother, who's another complicated character, for all that she appeared only a few times with brief screen time throughout the entire novel. There's Silence, Temperance's sister, who put her reputation on the line for her beloved husband. I certainly hope we'll see more of her in the future! The most fascinating by far is the Ghost of St. Giles who had me searching for clues as to his real identity.

Ms Hoyt is a new-to-me author, but she is definitely on my auto-buy list! I'm waiting eagerly for her next book in the Maiden Lane series. Thank goodness February 2011 isn't that far off.
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Book Review by CarolAnn
Apr 27, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
195 people found the following review helpful
I adore Elizabeth Hoyt's books and WICKED INTENTIONS, with its slightly darker tone, is no exception. The first book in her 'Maiden Lane' series, it is a masterful blend of romance, passion and suspense, which will keep you enthralled.

Widowed Temperance Dews and her brother, Winter, run a Foundling Home in Maiden Lane, St Giles, a poverty stricken area of London, but things are looking very bleak. Their benefactor has recently died, leaving no provision for the home in his will and now they are behind with the rent and threatened with possible eviction. They need a miracle and it comes in the unlikely form of Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire.

Seeking the sadistic murderer of his mistress, Marie, he needs someone to guide him through the alleys of St Giles. He knows Temperance is familiar with the area, having seen her going about her business during his previously unsuccessful forays into St Giles, and so he approaches her. He is willing to pay her well, but in return, Temperance also wants Lazarus to introduce her to wealthy and titled people in the hope of finding a new benefactor for the Foundling Home.

Lazarus has an infamous reputation including a taste for unusual sexual practices, but despite her family's disapproval and her own doubts, she is determined to fulfill her part of the bargain for the sake of the home. Despite his reputation, Temperance finds herself deeply attracted to Lazarus and he can't seem to get this prim widow, who denies herself any pleasure, out of his mind. Soon an unquenchable passion flares between them but they have deep personal issues to overcome before they can be free to love each other. Danger stalks them at every turn in the shadows of St Giles and they may just be the murder's next victims!

One of the main reasons I love this book is my fascination with Lazarus and Temperance. They are such complex characters and I really had to delve into their psyche to understand them.

Although not fully explained in the book, I see the fact that Lazarus can't tolerate anyone touching him as a psychological problem. I have personal experience of something similar. Until his early twenties, my son had a deep-seated fear of wearing a wristwatch but he could never explain to us why. To me, Lazarus's loveless childhood and the guilt he feels over his sister's death could have been the root cause of his psychological and emotional problems.

Temperance feels that her sexual desires are sinful and I think it reflects 18th century attitude to women's sexuality, which is summed up by her husband:

He made it clear that a woman who sought sex was to be pitied.

Her feelings is only magnified by the fact that her sexual desires led her to make a terrible mistake, one which she has been trying to atone for ever since through her work at the foundling home. She manages to subdue her desires until Lazarus comes into his life. He is totally open about his sexual nature and I think Temperance gradually feels free with him to explore her desires to the full because he accepts her as she is.

I think the pace of the development of their relationship is just right and I like the small indications that reflect the relationship is evolving into something deeper, such as:

For a moment, there seemed to be a twinge in his breast, a strange wish that his life, his person, could in some way be different. That he could somehow deserve a woman such as her.

and

Something in her shifted, crumbling apart and reforming into a new and wonderful shape. She didn't know what that shape was, but she wanted to keep it. To stay in this dim hallway and kiss Caire forever.

I love the way in which Lazarus goads Temperance with whispered salacious comments which should disgust her, but of course, have the opposite effect of arousing her. There is one particular scene where Lazarus forces her to view a couple through a peep-hole in a brothel, all the time whispering provocative words in her ear. The scene is so sexually charged that I thought the page might self-combust! The love scenes are perfectly in harmony with the mood of the story from the raw and sensual scene in the carriage to the beautiful and erotic scene where Temperance wants to show Lazarus just how much she loves him.

Ms Hoyt really excels in creating the unsavoury atmosphere of St Giles. You can almost see the swirling mist and sense the danger lurking in those dark narrow alleys. She has peopled it with larger than life characters such as Mother Heart's–Ease, owner of the gin house, Mistress Pansy, the brothel madam, and Charming Mickey O'Connor, the feared river pirate.

There is a wonderful core of secondary characters too. Temperance's brothers, Winter and Asa; Silence, her younger sister; Lady Hero Batten; and Lazarus's friend, Godric St John, many of whom I am sure will have their own books in due course. In fact, the next book, ‘Notorious Pleasures' is Lady Hero Batten's story. I am especially intrigued by the plot line involving Silence and Charming Mickey O'Connell, and am eagerly looking forward to their story in ‘Scandalous Desires', the third book in the series. I'm curious about the identity of the Zorro-type Ghost of St Giles? I have my suspicions but I'm sure Ms Hoyt will keep us in suspense about his identity a little longer. What better way to make sure we continue to read the series!

If you like your historical romance with a darker tone, complex characters, an intriguing plot, and steamy love scenes, then WICKED INTENTIONS should definitely find a place on your bookshelves.
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