Maiden Lane Series -- Book 1
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: July 27, 2010
Elizabeth Hoyt is one of those rare authors that became an autobuy for me with her very first book. And even rarer still, every book she has had published since has joined her debut on my keeper shelf. Wicked Intentions, the first in her new Maiden Lane series, is no exception. She proves once again why her star will be shining bright for a very long time.
On her way home from rescuing an orphaned baby from the streets of St. Giles, Temperance Dews and her maidservant stumble upon a mysterious man with silver hair leaning over a presumably dead body. Little does Temperance know that the gentleman is none other than the notorious Lord Caire. Later, she is surprised to find him in her sitting room at the foundling home where she lives. Even more unexpected is his offer of a proposition—he has need of her familiarity with the bowels of St. Giles to find the person responsible for killing his former mistress while she needs help to find a new patron for the Home of Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children that was established by her father and is now run by her and her youngest brother. The selfless Temperance agrees to Lord Caire’s suggestion for the sake of the children. Though she may get more than she bargained for.
Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is widely known as a cold, isolated man with unusual sexual perversions, though lesser known is his acute aversion to anyone’s touch upon his body. He feels no regrets in using Temperance’s self-sacrificing mind-set to further his agenda. He’s looked for the murderer for two months and hasn’t gotten anywhere. With Temperance’s help he finally starts getting some answers, though they aren’t without a heavy price. During their search, Caire and Temperance must tackle not only the sordid inhabitants in the seediest part of London, but also their own personal demons if they’ll ever have a chance at love.
I love this book and Elizabeth Hoyt’s writing for several reasons. First, she creates some of the most complex and fascinating characters I’ve had the pleasure to read. Caire and Temperance are unique and enigmatic individuals, filled with dark secrets, and Hoyt takes her time peeling back their many layers. She feeds you information a little at a time to make you crave more—and I didn’t want to put the book down until all their secrets were revealed. Secondly, I love that she doesn’t sugar coat the setting or descriptions. They are so detailed and realistic that I could swear I could see the dirt and grime and smell the fetid streets of St. Giles. And third, she writes really beautiful lines. Here is an example of Caire’s thoughts and feelings with regards to Temperance:
He felt her tremble against him, a hare within the hawk’s grasp. She was so proper on the surface, but he knew, in a part of him beyond mind and spirit, that she had carnal depths that she struggled to hide. He wanted to explore those depths. Bring them to the light of day and revel in them. They were as much a part of her as the gold flecks in her eyes, and he longed to feast upon her cravings.
And this exchange between Caire and Temperance:
“Because,” he murmured, “you draw me. Because you are kind but not soft. Because when you touch me, the pain is bittersweet. Because you cradle a desperate secret to your bosom, like a viper in your arms, and don’t let go of it even as it gnaws at your very flesh. I want to pry that viper from your arms. To suckle upon your torn and bloody flesh. To take your pain within myself and make it mine.”
There are several other story threads that are told but not concluded in this book and I can only assume that Ms. Hoyt will eventually tie up those loose ends later in the series, much like she did in her previous series. If you’re looking for a spicy, intelligent historical romance, look no further that Wicked Intentions. For me, all it takes is having Elizabeth Hoyt’s name on the book and I’ll buy it. The next book in the series, Notorious Pleasures, releases in February 2011 and can’t come soon enough for me!
To spread my love of Elizabeth's books, I'm giving away a copy of To Taste Temptation, the first book in her Legend of the Four Soldiers series, plus some goodies I picked up at RWA to one lucky commenter!