SCANDALOUS DESIRES – Elizabeth Hoyt
Maiden Lane Series , Book 3
Several months have passed since Silence Makepeace Hollingbrook's ship captain husband died at sea and almost a year since she lost her reputation by striking a humiliating bargain in order to save him from going to prison, or worse, for something he didn't do. Now the little girl she loves with her whole heart has been taken away by the very man who ruined her good name. Mary Darling had been abandoned at the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children run by Silence and her brother Winter. Silence braves the streets of St. Giles—a notorious London slum—to bring Mary home.
When Charming Mickey O'Connor, the river pirate king of London , found himself with a baby daughter on his hands, he left her at the foundling home for safe keeping. Mickey's early life was terrible, but he fought the odds through sheer will power to become the most powerful and dangerous pirate on the river. He has an enemy who is even more ruthless than he who has learned of the babe's existence and his connection to Silence Hollingsworth. This leaves Mickey vulnerable.
Mickey takes Mary from the home knowing Silence will come after her. He plans to keep them both with him. Mickey's place doesn't look like much from the outside, but is a veritable palace within…or a very luxurious prison for Silence. She has no choice but to stay when Mickey informs her of the danger to herself and Mary. This does not mean, however, that Silence will be a docile prisoner. She begins as she means to go on by refusing Mickey's invitation to dinner. He retaliates by setting guards at her door and forbidding her food until she gives in. See how well that works!
You'll like Silence from the start but will probably reserve judgment about Mickey. They are well matched in passion and hard-headedness, and their sexual tension sparks from page one of SCANDALOUS DESIRES. Contrasted to Mickey's undoubted virility—he often had two willing women at once in his huge bed—Silence remains somewhat of an innocent in spite of her brief marriage. As one might guess with a handsome pirate as hero, their relationship has its sensuous, even raunchy moments, but there are also growing respect and tenderness. With amusing and titillating give and take, the complexity of these characters will be revealed as the story goes on. Action, adventure, betrayal, loyalty, and heroism mark the plot. Many memorable characters among Silence's family members, the patrons, staff and children of the home, and members of Mickey's gang play important parts. Mary Darling is a doll.
SCANDALOUS DESIRES makes for riveting reading, as do its predecessors, WICKED INTENTIONS and NOTORIOUS PLEASURES. Next in line, THIEF OF SHADOWS coming in summer, promises to be just as exciting, if not even more so. It will star the mysterious Ghost of St. Giles.