Wicked Intentions is the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s new Maiden Lane series. It is set in the very worst area of historical London, St. Giles. Temperance Dews is a woman on a mission: to save babies in St. Giles who are being left for dead. Along with her brother, Winter, she helps to run the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children. On this particular night, Temperance goes out late at night to rescue a new baby, and it leads to a most unexpected turn of events in her life.
Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is known throughout society as a man with odd sexual tastes. He has a terrible reputation so when Temperance enters a room in her home and sees him sitting in a chair, uninvited, she is astonished. But Lazarus has a proposition for her. He needs help finding the person who murdered his mistress and to find that person, Lazarus needs knowledge of St. Giles, knowledge Temperance has in spades. Though she knows it is wicked of her, Temperance agrees to the bargain as long as Lazarus will help her find a patron for the foundling home. It is losing money and their landlord is threatening to remove them.
Thus, a tentative partnership is begun and with it, an irresistible attraction. These two will find more than they ever thought possible in their dangerous liaison.
Wicked Intentions has a classically disreputable hero and a overachieving, do-gooder heroine, but it works and it works well because these two balance each other out. There is no hiding behind a façade of martyrdom or philandering when there is something much deeper, and much more painful, going on underneath the surface of these characters. I loved exploring their hurts, their truths, and what binds them together. The mystery of Lazarus’s mistress is of minor interest and I felt the villain was easily deciphered. However, there is so much energy between Temperance and Lazarus that I was completely hooked.
While the ending proved to be a tad saccharine and over the top, I have to say, I was still happy at its outcome. More than anything, I was glad such different characters had found a way to be together. If this book is any indication, the Maiden Lane series is going to be another winner.
Wicked Intentions is simply spellbinding.