Scandalous Desires Paperback – Nov 1 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Ashford McNab does a remarkable job of character delineation in the audio version.
Where Mickey is so very, very bad, Silence is too good and pure.
There is a slow build to this romance. At first, Silence loathes Mickey. He ruined her reputation, her marriage, and kidnapped her 'adopted' daughter, Mary. And he's a criminal. Silence has some huge mental leaps to make before she can consider Mickey a potential lover.
Mickey is fiercely protective of Silence and Mary (I must say the depiction of the toddler is excellent). He does not show romantic interest in Silence at first, but there is something about her that calls to Mickey - her eyes mesmerise and confound him.
The couple have a physical relationship after a good build-up of awareness, conflict, sexual tension and fierce heat between them. When sexy times happen, it is good and smoking HOT.
Warning: Mickey regularly uses the "F" word and "cu**y". Also, Mickey alone engages in a sex act. I have never read such a scene in a romance novel before. Whew!
The story had a good plot, pirate action, evil villain, life and death drama; conflict and romance.
The first 3/4 of the book was 5 star, but the last 1/4 lost some of the magic for me. I felt Mickey's overwhelming power lessen, and I'm sure Silence confused smokin' hot sex for love at times (but I can't blame her). The ending was a little too tidy for me as I think a more credible conclusion would have had this couple move abroad forever.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The novel is a very sweet romance. When I first started reading it, I thought - since it was more emotionally based - that I might be disappointed; I was anticipating its release for six months after all and had envisioned all sorts of dark, sexy scenarios Hoyt might write - Mickey is a pirate after all. But as the story progressed, its tenderness engulfed me.
If you are a Hoyt fan, you know how this plot develops. Widowed Silence Hollingbrook, the caretaker/mother of little baby Mary Darling, is "blackmailed" by Mickey O'Connor into living with him, as he has taken possession of his daughter, Mary, in order to protect her from his enemies. Of course, this is something Mickey has planned for over a year because he has been "haunted" by Silence ever since that bargain they made in "Wicked Intentions." And so the love story begins.
Silence's character, throughout the novel, remains true. She is what Hoyt built her up to be in the preceding two books - a genuinely good sort of woman, a romantic, a person of faith and strong constitution, puritanical at times, and naively blind to the true makeup of her first marriage. Mickey/Michael, on the other hand, is a more emotional man than I had envisioned - not in the weeping, clinging sort of way, but more in the tender, compassionate variety. However, the two compliment each other beautifully and make a believable couple, a true relationship.
Mickey wants to possess Silence, "dictate" to her; while Silence want to be respected and loved, treated as an equal, a partner - and that is the core of their relationship's problem, left for them to resolve (apart from the predictable "please don't be a pirate anymore" issue). And both of them show a reasonable amount of patience and maturity with each other's struggles - he with Silence's need to deal with her husband's death and realization that her marriage was not all she has fantasized it to be; she with Mickey's struggle to let her in and understand that he can be a "normal" man whose sole existence isn't the acquisition of riches.
The relationship takes time to form, and the process is very tender, as I already said - but heartfelt nonetheless. The sexual tension is well built and developed. There are the typical "feral," "wolf," "predator" comparisons throughout the book, but they do not distract, and once Hoyt opens the bedroom door - a fan might be in need. She rarely fails in this department, thank god!!! ;)
There were aspects to this novel that were a bit over-the-top, but it is pointless to detail them as they do not drive the romance, just the action. The ending, on the other hand, was a more subdued affair than the typical Hoyt out-in-the-open grand declarations of love, for which I am very thankful.
Overall this was a very enjoyable, tender romance novel - nothing serious mind. But if you are looking for a believable escape, that leaves you feeling warm and gentle then pick this up.
I am looking forward to the next installment - Winter's story, which, as expected was well set up in this novel.
originally on romancecritic
We have seen glimpses of "Charming" Mickey O'Connor throughout the first two books of Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series. And we have, of course, witnessed Silence Hollingbrook sacrifice herself to Mickey for one night to save her husband from charges he stole cargo from one of Mickey's ships. On that fateful night, Mickey didn't touch Silence, but when she returned home to her husband, all trust was lost, and he soon died.
Now Silence, who with her brother Winter runs the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children in the very poor part of London called St. Giles, mourns the loss of her husband and bears the shame of everyone thinking Mickey took advantage of her. But she has bigger concerns. Mickey has kidnapped the very young Mary Darling from Silence's home. Mary was left on the orphanage's door step a year ago, and Silence has come to care for her as her own daughter. But she has suspicions that Mickey is Mary's father.
Mickey is a river pirate, making every boat that passes along the Thames pay him a tithe. He kills, thieves and, although from the outside you would never guess it, he lives in a palace in St. Giles. The heavily guarded, outwardly dilapidated buildings house vast riches. Surrounded by treasures, servants and any woman he wants, Mickey is leading a grand life. But he can't shake that one night he spent with Silence. Although he never touched her, her beauty and air of purity make him desire her in a way he has never felt before.
Mickey has many enemies, but the biggest threat comes from the vicar of Whitechapel, aka Charles O'Grady. The vicar wants revenge for past conflicts with Mickey, and word has reached him that Mickey has a daughter and possibly might have feelings for the innocent Silence. Desperate to keep them safe, Mickey kidnaps Mary, knowing Silence will storm his home to find her. Then, when both are under his roof, he must keep them with him -- and maybe let Silence have a glimpse of the side of him that isn't a pirate.
I always have a hard time writing reviews for books I absolutely love, andScandalous Desires is one that I have much love for. We have only seen a little of Mickey in the previous two books, and I wasn't sure how Elizabeth Hoyt was going to turn this pirate into a romance hero. My favorite thing is that she doesn't turn him into something he is not. He kills and thieves and revels in his treasures, but then we get these tiny glimpses of his softer side. We saw in Book 2 how he forced Silence to stay with him one night, though he never touched her. But we also saw how he made her walk home in the morning, with her corset undone and her hair messed up so all would think they'd had sex. He has a ruthless side - one that was cultivated from growing up on the streets of St. Giles.
Hoyt also allows us a glimpse of Mickey's softer side. For instance, he demands all of his guards and servants eat dinner with him every night so that everyone is fed well. He pays them well, too, so he has no fear they will steal from him. He may not have a family related by blood, but he has made those he works with his family of sorts.
So when Silence and Mary come into his home, Mickey comes to think of them as his, and he will protect them at all costs, which makes him vulnerable. And his enemies know this.
Of course, it is not at all fun and games when Silence and Mary live with him. Mickey expects obedience, and the only way he can keep them truly safe is if they are locked in their room. But Silence, having to entertain a 1-year-old, needs out.
Mickey O'Connor loomed over her, arms crossed, feet braced wide apart. "What in the name o' all that's holy did ye think ye were doin'?"
She tilted her chin. "Going for a walk."
He bent, thrusting his handsome face into hers. "When I gave ye orders to stay in yer rooms?"
"Yes." She licked her bottom lip.
For a moment his gaze dropped to her mouth before snapping back up to meet her eyes. "No one disobeys me in me own home!"
For a moment she wasn't sure she could speak. He was crowded into her, his very breath hot upon her cheek. He was so much bigger than she. So much more physically powerful.
But she had determination. "Evidently someone does now."
Silence is a wonderful match for him. She is all warmth and tenderness, but she also can be stubborn. And while she doesn't approve of Mickey's pirate ways, she also shows him compassion and understands how his childhood shaped him into the man he is today. And that is a man who is a pirate, but also a caring, protective, human.
Their romance is very slow to build, which is good. Silence has trust issues to get over relating to her past night spent in Mickey's bed and the fact that he is a pirate. Their romance might take awhile, but is so sexy. There is action -- and adventure of the kind you would expect from a pirate -- but there are also quieter, gentle moments that just stole my heart. And when Mickey finally asks this question:
"Will ye be comin' to me bed tonight, Silence Hollingbrook?"
It is worth the many pages it takes to get there.
I also have to mention Winter, Silence's brother. In past books he has always been so very serious and dour. In Scandalous Desires, he is still all of those things, but we also see a little more edge to him. Dare I saw he almost growls in this book? Oh, Winter Makepeace. I cannot wait for your book.
Scandalous Desires will likely end up being my favorite romance book this year.
Silence lost her husband almost a year ago after he was lost at sea. Her brother Winter runs the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children in London's poor and criminal ridden, St. Giles. She has become a foster mother to an infant girl she named Mary Darling after Mary was left on her doorstep as a newborn. Silence acts and lives a very Puritan life, still mourning the loss of her husband, Will, who she loved dearly. Will and her were barely on speaking terms after she saved him from going to prison by appealing to Mickey, the proclaim king of the St. Giles underbelly after Mickey stole items from the ship Will was in charge of keeping safe. Silence sacrificed herself to save Will and ended up spending the night with Mickey, although she swears nothing happened between them. Along with her reputation in tatters, her husband didn't believe her and before Silence could make retributions, he went away to sea and died. (This is in Notorious Pleasures, book #2)
Mary Darling has been snatched by none other than Mickey, who happens to be her father. Silence wants Mary back and will do whatever she can to accomplish that. There's a few reasons Mickey has "kidnapped" Mary. First, his mortal enemy Charlie Grady, the Vicar of Whitechapel has it in for him. He wants to make Mickey suffer and will hurt those he cares about and are dedicated to him. Mickey wants to protect Mary, or so he tells Silence. He also wants the self-righteous Silence back with him, and by keeping Mary, he knows Silence won't leave without her. They make a bargain where she'll stay because she's the only mother Mary has known. Mickey pats himself on the back because again, the spider has caught the fly in his web.
Silence is not used to the opulence Mickey surrounds himself with. She refuses to be bought with beautiful clothes and rich foods, going as far as to starve because she won't take orders from Mickey. Mickey may have grown up in the gutter and had to lie, cheat and steal for the bounty he now owns, but he can't figure out how to get through to Silence. He aches to possess her, but he has a fight on his hands when it comes to her because she blames him for the shakiness of her marriage which led indirectly to her husband's death.
As Charlie Grady ups his threats, Mickey is forced to take action, some immoral, in order to protect not only Mary and Silence, but his faithful servants who would die for him. Soon Silence makes a truce with Mickey and slowly sees who the real Mickey is and what he hides from the outside world. It's up to Silence to extend her hand and accept this pirate king who is close to stealing her heart.
Scandalous Desire packs quite the punch. We have two characters who are at total odds with one another. Mickey makes no excuses for what he had to do in order to get what he wanted in life. He takes what he wants and he does the same with Silence. The best scenes are when he and Silence banter back and forth, where Mickey is left speechless and more than annoyed because Silence is no wilting flower. Silence breaks down those walls Mickey has constructed, including a few insights on the man that will make readers sigh. Mickey loves books and once special book in his collect made me ohhh and ahhh because it's so precious. Mickey turns out to be a lovable rogue, one you may want to smack now and again, much like Silence wants to do, but still very much untamed.
Elizabeth gives a great amount of depth within these pages. Charlie is a nasty piece of work, but he's not one-dimensional. His rage and hate for Mickey is justified in his eyes. There's some major twists in regards to their relationship and why they want to destroy one another. Also, the mystery of that forbidden night between Mickey and Silence is solved and explained amazing well why Mickey did what he did. It was a selfish move on his part, but helps move along his relationship with Silence.
The love scenes are smoldering, intense and borderline erotic. The first love scene between Silence and Mickey may be my favorite of the year. It's tender, sweet and so open between two people who are afraid to trust and fall in love because of past regrets.
There's a secondary story between Silence's brother Winter and a do-gooder rich Baroness that segues nicely into the next book in this series featuring Winter as the star.
As for the masked man of mystery, the Ghost of St. Giles, I figured out who it was fairly quickly, but don't be surprised if you'll be guessing until the very end.
Babies. I want to have babies with Scandalous Desires. This is one of two books this year where I keep re-reading certain scenes because I can't stop thinking about Mickey and Silence. I can't tell you how thrilled this book met my expectations and then some.
Scandalous Desires is the best book Elizabeth Hoyt has written so far with endearing characters and an all-encompassing romance you'll want to hold close and never let go. If there's one must read book, especially for historical romance fans, it's Scandalous Desires. It gets the, "I want to have babies, I bow down to the author" KB seal of approval.
Mickey is so lovable and definitely one of my favorite heroes. I think it's sometimes difficult to have villain-turned-hero characters, because the transformation needs to feel authentic. I think Hoyt definitely succeeded with that, because by the end Mickey is still Mickey - maybe a little more domesticated and more than a little changed, but it's the same person, only with a new side to him. I loved his cant and was glad that Hoyt kept that throughout the book. Made for some fantastic lines.
I didn't have much of a feel for Silence before, though I did like her from what I'd seen of her first encounter with Mickey. She's a very engaging heroine and I enjoyed watching her also come into her own, standing up for herself and not taking his crap. Her character is calm and soft, setup to perfectly juxtapose Mickey's rough edges. In some of the events towards the end I feel like she bowed to pressure or didn't push enough, as the case may be, but all in all she was good and a great fit for Mickey/Michael.
I loved how Mickey slowly warms to Mary Darling and ends up becoming so attached to her. I didn't like how she kind of disappeared in the last third/quarter of the book and didn't have as much of a presence or personality as she did earlier in the book. The underlying "mystery" plot was a good one and ended up being the the main story-driver and relationship obstacle.
The standard guy-can't-admit-he's-in-love-and-realize-what-he-really-wants was employed. I find that ploy very tiring, because it's so often used - I mean, we get it, guys are commitment phobes, next! I wasn't as annoyed here because Mickey is by no means ignoring or denying the depths of his feeling and given his history and experiences, it (for once) is perfectly logical.
===THE DIFFICULTY OF MEETING HIGH EXPECTATIONS===
One of the things I was worried about was how excited I was about the book - would it be able to live up to expectations? When I saw everyone's rave reviews for it, it made me all the more nervous. Because of the buildup this time around which led to some unavoidable disappointment - it always does in cases like these - I think I'll probably love it more the second time around.
While I normally will read an HR in one sitting unless the house is on fire - and really need me because they're not able to put it out themselves - I actually put this book down two or three times. However, I do think this mostly has to do with the extreme anticipation and inevitable result.
So bottom line: a great read. I loved the characters. I loved the plot. I loved the writing - great dialogue, especially on Mickey's parts; I adored some of his lines! I loved the sexual tension - though Scandalous Desires was on the lighter end of Hoyt's books in terms of frequency and explicitness. Read it.
P.S. We find out in the epilogue who the Ghost of St. Giles is and there is a little teaser at the end for the next book. I wasn't surprised by either the hero or heroine, but still very excited to read it!
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* The Least Likely Bride by Jane Feather
* Pleasures of a Notorious Gentleman by Lorraine Heath