by Elizabeth Hoyt, historical (2010)
Grand Central Publishing, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-446-55894-5
Let me introduce you to Lazarus Huntington, which is actually his real name. His title is Lord Caire, and he wants everyone to know that he is a heartless bastard who is too cynical for love.
He was a creature of the night, unfit for the company of humans.
So was Edward Cullen. What's the big deal?
He speaks like he's in an overwrought Gothic melodrama, which may be the point.
"You seem..." He trailed off as if analyzing the tone of her voice. "Unhappy."
"Mary Hope will not suck," Temperance said. "And when Polly dribbles milk into her mouth, she hardly swallows."
"Then the child will die," he said, his voice remote.
No kidding. Did he go to school to learn that?
She stopped and whirled on him. "Yes! Yes, Mary Hope will die if she cannot take sustenance. Why are you so uncaring?"
"Why are you so caring?" He'd stopped with her, too close as usual, and the wind blew his cloak forward, wrapping around her skirts like a living thing. "Why feel so much for a child you hardly know? A child you must've known was ailing, perhaps already dying, when you brought her to your home?"
That's right, he speaks like that in the whole book, reminding me of an earnest vampire groupie who walks around with a billowing cloak and all.
Our hero is a very wealthy man, but Ms Hoyt also wants me to know that he is infamous for his "sexual perversions". Much is made about this perverse aspect of his pee-pee ethics that I half expect him to be able to get it up only with barnyard animals. When the grand revelation of his pee-pee habit is given, my reaction is that this loser Lord Caire will say and do anything to imitate an addled village idiot version of Lord Byron.
Anyway, Lord Caire's mistress - whom he did not love, he'd want everyone to know, because he smacks his mighty sixty-inch johnson at love's face and laughs cruelly when love bursts into tears - was murdered a few months back. He now wants to catch the killer, so instead of bribing the cops or hiring Bow Street Runners, he wears his black suit, cloak, and all to wander the streets of the St Giles district aimlessly. Needless to say, he isn't getting anywhere. What do you expect from an addled barney who thinks he's a vampire version of Lord Byron?
Let's move on to Temperance Dews, our heroine. She's a widow and she runs a home for kids on Maiden Lane. Naturally, she has no money, the rent needs to be paid, and therefore, when Lord Caire offers her money to show him around St Giles, she accepts. He mocks, belittles, and says cruel things to her, but she shivers in delight because all those insults are so hot. Temperance is a martyr, determined to save the world, and bursts into hysterical tears when she recalls to Lord Caire the first time they meet how she just couldn't find enough money to save all the poor kids of St Giles.
Okay, so she is emotionally needy and rather pathetic in how she plans so much to save the world in such a great magnitude when she is capable of far less. But she is a bit perverse too, in how she gets aroused when she has to tend to an injured Lord Caire. He gets a knife wound and she practically shoves him to the ground to "heal" him, because, I suspect, Temperance gets her jollies from making people need her, just like that crazy ax-wielding woman in Stephen King's Misery. She all but rides Lord Caire like a rodeo champion when he's knifed; I suspect she'd beg for some rear end action from him when he cracks open his skull.
Having lived in St Giles all her life, Temperance exhibits great survival instincts, such as putting to good use her gun - loaded with a single bullet - as per below.
"You need to practice if you're to carry a gun to protect yourself," he said. He felt her stiffen beside him.
"I think I was quite capable when I fired."
Her face swiveled toward him, and even in the dark, he could sense her outrage. "I fired into the air!"
"What?" he halted, catching her arm.
She tried to jerk away again and then seemed to remember his wound. Her mouth thinned in irritation. "I fired into the air because I feared hitting you should I aim at your assailants."
The rest of the book sees her running desperately to save the world and wringing her hands in melodramatic despair when she can't while Lord Caire grabs her hand, lets his cloak billow, sneaks up on her in the shadows to make her jump in shock, and says nasty things to remind her that he's a mean guy who can't love even as he rogers her rump for free because she's a virtuous lay like that.
Meanwhile, Temperance exhibits more of her intelligence by insisting that Lord Caire pays her for her services of guiding him around St Giles - the sex is free because, remember, our heroine is a virtuous maiden - by introducing her to rich people of the Ton who can sponsor her Home. Let's see, Lord Caire is infamous for his jolly roger habits. Does she expect him to introduce her to "good" people? And not be viewed as his mistress when he starts bringing her around town? She says herself that she needs people with good reputation to finance her Home, so what on earth is she doing with Lord Caire?
Special mention must be made of Temperance's equally brilliant sister Silence. When her husband is implicated in the theft of the goods from the ship where he serves as captain, Silence immediately leaps into agreement with whatever bargain set by the real thief to exonerate her husband. She has to spend a night with this thief. Her husband is like, "Uh, honey, maybe this isn't a good idea..." but she's all, "I have to! I have to! Because I love you! LOVE YOU! LOVE YOU! LO-OOO-OOO-OOO-VE YOU!" And then she will wail that nothing happened in that one night, but when her husband flees from her and her own family members assume that she took on the rumps-up position to play the martyr for her husband, she will run around wailing bitterly that people think her a whore instead of giving her a standing ovation and a medal for her sacrifice. Silence is getting her book, I suspect, and I can only hope she finds the courage to do the right thing and commit suicide so that I will be spared of the ordeal of having to read more of this psychotically stupid woman's hysterical melodrama.
Wicked Intentions boasts of paper-thin characters comprising a creepy asshole hero who thinks he's on stage playing a really bad caricature of the emo vampire-wannabe type and women with demented martyr complex, mired in a plot with holes the size of the craters on the moon. This story could work if it were written in a tongue-in-cheek manner, but alas, this one was written in pure sobriety. Never mind, there's no reason why people have to read this book in a sober condition, so have plenty of wine and beer at hand when you begin to read this one, just in case.
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
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