Lady Hero Batten comes across two people involved in an act that should shock her seeing as she's the proper daughter of a duke. Instead, Hero is more annoyed and peeved if anything. She actually saves the married lady and her lusty lover from being found by the unknowing husband. The man in question happily pleasuring the lady is the rakish Griffin Remmington, Lord Reading. Instead of Griffin being embarrassed, he unabashedly flirts with Hero, until she walks away in a huff. Both will be in for surprise since Hero is engaged to Griffin's brother, Thomas, the Marquess of Mandeville.
Griffin has quite the scandalous reputation, especially since it's believed he seduced his brother's first wife. Because of this, Griffin and Thomas are barely on speaking terms, although Griffin has done a great deal to keep the Mandeville fortune intact with his business ventures. One such venture Griffin is involved in is being one of the biggest gin distillers in the dark world of St. Giles. Griffin is surprised to find that Hero has interests in St. Giles as well, as the patroness for the Home of Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children run by the Mrs. Silence Hollingbrook and her brother, Winter.
Soon Griffin is concerned for Hero's safety as she enters the dark streets of St. Giles. He refuses to allow her to be unaccompanied and becomes her bodyguard of sorts. Griffin and Hero's relationship changes into friendship that comes to ahead when their passions explode for one another. They begin to sneak away to act on their passion (the first love scene between them is incredibly erotic and seductive) knowing they are betraying Thomas, who in turn can't forget his mistress, the loud and vibrant older widowed Mrs. Lavinia Tate, who he longs to be with desperately.
Guilt eats away at Hero while Griffin tries to make Hero see that they are perfect for one another. He'll do whatever he can to keep Hero, even if it means betraying Thomas in truth.
Notorious Pleasures (Maiden Lane series, Book 2) by Elizabeth Hoyt is beyond steamy and romantic. Griffin will be on the lips of many readers for this supposed bad boy is really not want he seems, even from his initial meeting with his Lady Perfect as he nicknames her. Hero is not some naïve, simpering miss, but a strong, outright woman who feels she must live up to her duty, and that is to marry well. Griffin puts a major wrench in her plans and their secret affair not only makes for great reading, but is emotional and very poignant. Griffin wants to be a better man for Hero and although they're walking a fine line with one another because of acting on their attraction for one another, there will be no doubt in anyone's mind that these two belong together.
Ms. Hoyt is very skilled at combining three stories in one. We see Thomas's angst over letting go of his mistress because of his future marriage to Hero. Then there is Silence, who made quite an impression in Wicked Intentions, the first book in the Maiden Lane series. This is a woman who feels hopeless because of a major sacrifice she made on her part to help her husband. Their marriage is strained because of it, and they only way she gets through the day is taking care of her newly adopted daughter, Mary Darling, who was left on her doorstep. Mary has an angel watching over her, as well as Silence, which the mystery as to who this possible suitor is shouldn't be a big surprise for those who know what occurred with Silence in Notorious Pleasure. Let's just say that Silence will have even more drama and heartache in her life because of this shadowy protector in Scandalous Desires, the third book in this series that will be released later this year.
The only thing that irked me while reading Notorious Pleasures was the constant reminders that Griffin is too naughty for his own good and how virginal and pure Hero is. This was more telling than everything, and actually the total opposite of what these two characters are from their actions and deeds. Also, the ending maybe a bit too pat for some and there's one thing left unresolved that I wish was tied up.
Overall, I really enjoyed Notorious Pleasures a great deal since I found Wicked Intentions lacking. This is a great historical romance that I recommend anyone read. Hero and Griffin are a great couple who end up bring out the best in one another.
Wicked Intentions (Maiden Lane)