Wicked Intentions: Lazarus

In addition to Allergies, I’ve been having some Regency Fatigue. Not that I don’t still love the period but I’ve been needing a little more variety. Then I saw this at the library and I had to have it because of the word “Wicked.”

It’s bad. If the book promises any sort of “wicked” hero I need to have it. I imagine that for some readers it’s firefighters or Greek billionaires. For me it’s a wicked rake (or werewolves or faerie men). And it worked out because it turned out not to be a Regency. It’s set  in 1737 which is similar to the Jane Austen period but different enough to be exciting.

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt is set in St Giles, London’s most notorious slum. Our heroine Temperance Dews runs an orphanage there with her brother Winter (Yes, the names  are odd but as far as my googling can tell, a lot of virtue/biblical names were used then. Their sister’s name is Silence.) Since the death of their patron, the orphanage has fallen into debt. If something isn’t done they’ll lose the building and the children will have nowhere to go.

In comes our wicked hero Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire. Who I swear to God is an anime bishounen. For the non-nerds, bishounen means “pretty boy” and is applied to the hotties in anime. Lazarus has (prematurely) silver hair and is cold and tall and good-looking.

Not to say that Lazarus is cartoony or a chronic brooder like so many anime guys. He’s a complex character, both a cold man who hates being touched and a sensual rake who delights in flustering Temperance. Normally Temperance would not associate with such a man but Lazarus has come to her with a proposition. He needs a guide around St. Giles to find the man who murdered his mistress. For this service he will take her to society events so she can find a new benefactor for the home.

Lazarus is a rounded character. I know that’s a vague statement but it’s what I like about him. He hates skin to skin contact because of a jerk father and a mother who submitted to the father’s jerkiness. For this reason he often required his mistresses and other bed partners to wear a hood and be tied up. At the same time, he’s a saucy man who enjoys flustering Temperance and knows that he should feel more than he does. He didn’t love his mistress but feels like he’s bad for not feeling something and is pursuing her killer for that reason.

Temperance is almost phobic about her sexuality. She is a widow and on the day her husband died in an accident, she cheated on him for the first time. Ever since then she has hated the sensual side of herself and fought to tamp it down. When the two interact, Lazarus brings out that hated part of Temperance and she makes him more used to touch even though it often hurts when she does so. Literally, when people touch him it hurts him.

I think what really sold me on Lazarus as he and Temperance move through the plot is how vulnerable he ended up being. At one point Lazarus’ friend St. John has a talk with Temperance.

“Look here. He may seem  hard and cynical and, well, brutal sometimes. But remember, there’s a part of him that’s vulnerable. Don’t hurt him.”

Her head jerked up, appalled at the very thought. “I would never hurt him.”

But he was already shaking his head. “You say that now, it’s natural, but keep t close to your heart. He can bleed. Don’t make him.”

When I read this, I scoffed. No way was Temperance going to wound Lazarus. But I was proven wrong. And the way the author did it had it tie into the sexuality conflict and it was believable. Oh my god. Every time a romance novel has a believable conflict that doesn’t make me want to kick a baby, a puppy angel gets its wings. I won’t spoil it for you.

I really enjoyed Lazarus. Even at his most horrible when he’s taunting and flustering Temperance, he’s just so darn attractive. There was never a moment where he did something that crosses the line for me. I know there’s a section of readers that don’t like their romance hero to have been with other women, let alone prostitutes or mistresses. Sometimes, if it’s portrayed wrong, it’s a turn off for me too. But it was done well and used to show how much Lazarus changes over the course of the novel.

There were several subplot threads not resolved in this book which threw me a little. Usually when I read a romance series, there’s a common thread tying then together but they are all stand alone books so it sorta neat that this is a series series (if that makes sense). The next books will feature a different couple but I’m still excited to read it.


Appearance: silver hair, blue eyes, unlined face, tall (he has a walking stick and a cape. Oh my god…he’s Lucius Malfoy)

Personality: cold, sensual, intelligent

Best Quality: He’s determined, is very loyal

Worst Quality: His coldness, his aversion to being touched

Grade: A-


2 Responses to “Wicked Intentions: Lazarus”

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  1. 1 The Coutly Lover and The Libertine « Literary Mancandy Trackback on January 7, 2011 at 2:56 am

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