My review cross-posted from Joyfully Reviewed: http://www.joyfullyreviewed.com/recommended-reviews/june-2011-recommended-reads/wicked-intentions-by-elizabeth-hoyt
Rumors abound about Lazarus Huntington’s preferences in the bedroom. The gossip does not, however, come from his last mistress – the dead don’t speak. Lazarus doesn’t care what society says about him, but he does feel he owes it to his deceased mistress to find her killer. To that end, Lazarus must hunt through the slums of St. Giles, and he knows he needs a guide. Saintly widow Temperance Dews suits his needs perfectly. Temperance and her brother run a foundling home in St. Giles – a home desperately in need of a new benefactor. In exchange for guiding him around St. Giles, Lazarus will introduce Temperance to members of high society so that she might find a new patron for the foundling home. But Lazarus must admit – at least to himself – that his intentions toward Temperance aren’t wholly pure. For there’s nothing the wicked like more than tempting the good…especially when it comes to widows whose proper façades mask a passionate nature.
Love and lust, mystery and murder, bargains and betrayal – Wicked Intentions has it all! The first installment in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series is so rich and exciting that I didn’t want to put it down. Lazarus is a man with somewhat unusual problems (which I don’t want to spoil) and because of those problems, his upbringing, a tragedy in his past, and his “unconventional” bedroom activities, he keeps himself both part and apart from the world. He’s sensual, intelligent, and a force to be reckoned with when he chooses to be, but his strengths are matched by well-masked vulnerabilities. He fascinated me and I appreciated and adored his uniqueness. Temperance, in turn, is a refreshing heroine. She puts everything of herself into the foundling home, not because she’s a saint, but because it needs to be done. Temperance isn’t perfect – far from it. But she’s a genuinely good woman and I admired her efficient, practical nature.
Wicked Intentions is the first book in the Maiden Lane series and Ms. Hoyt introduces a whole host of characters that will keep you fascinated throughout the series. Most notably there is the delightful Lady Hero Batten (heroine of the next book, Notorious Pleasures), Temperance’s brave sister, Silence, (whose subplot has me dying for her story), and the notorious Ghost of St. Giles. The last of these three is the most fascinating of all, for this mysterious, masked stranger is a wild card in the series and since finishing Wicked Intentions I haven’t been able to stop tossing around theories as to the Ghost’s identity.
I’ve been reading Ms. Hoyt’s books since her debut and I have to say that Wicked Intentions might just be my favorite book of hers yet. Considering how many original, engaging tales she has penned, that’s saying something. I Joyfully Recommend Wicked Intentions and I can’t wait to read the next Maiden Lane book, Notorious Pleasures.