Young widow Temperance Dews manages a foundling home in London’s notorious St. Giles slum with her brother, Winter. When the home’s landlord threatens to evict them from their home, Temperance realizes that she must take action. An opportunity presents itself when Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire, approaches Temperance with a proposal. He is looking for the murderer of his mistress, a prostitute who plied her trade in St. Giles. In exchange for Temperance’s assistance with the colorful denizens of the slum, Caire will provide her with entrée into London’s wealthiest drawing rooms, allowing her to find a new benefactor for the foundling home.
It’s exciting to see Hoyt, a talented author of Regency romances, turn her attentions to the mid-18th century, but Wicked Intentions is light on history. If you remove a few passing references to “the king” and change the fashions, it could be set at any time during a 200-year period. However, the love story is enjoyable. Both hero and heroine are flawed—Caire cannot abide a woman’s touch due to events of his childhood, and Temperance has a dark secret that she refuses to share with anyone—and the relationship between Caire and Temperance grows slowly but steadily. As this is the first in a series, loose ends abound, and readers may find themselves eagerly anticipating the next novel.