Review: Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Genre: Historical Romance | Workplace Romance | Regency
Series: Maiden Lane #1
Pages: 401 pages, Kindle Edition
My Rating: 3.5 stars!

Description: A man controlled by his desires . . . Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in the slums. Widowed Temperance Dews knows it like the back of her hand – she’s spent a lifetime caring for its inhabitants at the foundling home her family established, now 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.

I read Wicked Intentions to fulfill the historical romance requirement for the Romance-opoly reading challenge, a year-long challenge hosted by the lovely ladies over at Under the Covers Book Blog, as well as the amazing Jessica @ PeaceLoveBooks on BookTube! This challenge was so much fun, and made unique by the fact that these geniuses reimaged a monopoly board for the challenge! So it was kind of like a game :) The challenge was really so much fun! You can find my official 2019 tracker here, and more information on their website here

Admittedly, I didn’t really know what I was getting into when I opened the pages of this one. I put it on my list a month earlier, so I opened it without really reading the synopsis. Basically it follows Temperance Dews, a widowed woman who runs a foundling home in the slums, full of abandoned children and babies. Lord Caire needs a guide through the slums as he’s in the search for a murderer, and he enlists Temperance to help him with the search. 

This isn’t an office romance of any kind. But by hiring Temperance as a guide each night… that points to some kind of workplace romance, doesn’t it? I’m taking it. Wicked Intentions really was a nice, refreshing take on the typical regency romance, and frankly, I quite enjoyed it! There were lots of seductive smolder, and it involved an intriguing murder mystery to boot! Admittedly, the latter took a backseat to the romance, but in this case, I didn’t mind. Not one bit. The scene in the whorehouse? Whoo-weee! And no, nothing too indecent happened between them in the whorehouse, if that’s what you’re thinking. But damn… 🔥🔥

“There’s something about her,” Caire said in a low voice. “She cares for everyone about her, yet neglects herself. I want to be the one who cares for her.”

This was the first Elizabeth Hoyt book I’ve read, and she’s going on my list to read more of in 2020 because of how character-centered it was. I really ~was one~ with Temperance and Lord Caire during the course of the book, but Ms. Hoyt was still able to keep the plot moving forward, and I never got bored, something that can happen with less well-written character-driven stories. 

Lord Caire himself was our typical attractive, but cold and blunt hero that plagues regency romances – and, well, most romances. But like those well-loved heroes, he also had a soft spot for a certain woman. In his case, Temperance. He wasn’t a wholly unique character, but in this read, he was utterly whole, seductive and captivating for the reader. His story stole me in and I was hooked from page one. He is temptation personified! Not to mention his mental affliction that makes him unable to bear the feeling of touch on his skin – the sensation is unbearable! Add that in with a traumatic past… I love a grizzled, tortured hero who needs some extra loving care, and he certainly fit that mold to the max. 

Temperance, however, I didn’t connect with as much as I did with Lord Caire. When she was in scenes with him, I felt her personality push through, as she is an ~independence woman~ who asserts herself thusly quite often in his presence. But while she was quite the goody-goody, she was very cold and distant while she was being kind and selfless with the children, that often I felt her connection missed the mark when she was just alone. Granted, that is part of the story, but the fact remains that I do feel her characterization left a (literally just a hair) to be desired. I know her to be a kind person, as she is with Lord Caire, and I know her to be selfless for what she does with the children. But her interactions with them… left questions. 

The best thing about this was it’s light and airy tone in the writing, but does so agains the background of the often dark and gritty setting of the slums. It made for an interesting dichotomy that became one of the hallmarks to why this kept me so captivated. I read this one in one sitting, because I couldn’t get enough of the chemistry between the two! For Temperance and Lord Caire – their connection smoldered and was smoldering just reading about it! Hot damn… is it hot in here? Overall, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read. It was cheesy at times, smoking hot in others, and you have to look at it through some rose-colored Romancelandia lenses sometimes, but it was definitely worth the read. 

What are some books you’ve read recently that sent you aflame? Are you desperately trying to wrap-up any end-of-year reading challenges, too? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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