WICKED INTENTIONS – Lydia Joyce
London – 1800's
Esmeralda claims to hear the dead and see visions; she is popular at ton soirees, veiled, sitting quietly in a corner. During séances, Lady Hamilton is mesmerized by Esmeralda's every word -- much to her son's dismay. Thomas Hyde, Lord Varcourt, believes the mysterious and beautiful Esmeralda is a charlatan, making a fortune from the wealthy women of the ton. Thomas is shunned by many people who think he is to blame for his brother's demise twelve years ago. He is shocked when he hears that Esmeralda led his mother to a buried ruby necklace in their garden. What game is she playing, and what does she want with his family? Lord Olthwaite, a powerful Tory, is disconcerted when he sees the necklace. He has his men looking for a woman -- could that person be Esmeralda?
Thomas warns Esmeralda to stay away from his family but is shaken because of his attraction to her. Esmeralda is never seen without her veil, making her a mystery woman, a darling of the ton. When she leaves the soiree, Thomas follows her to a poor section of the city. He is determined to confront her and find out what her connection is to his family, the necklace, and Lord Olthwaite, and whether it is political or personal. But can he keep his distance from her?
WICKED INTENTIONS is a dark story about two troubled people. Esmeralda and Thomas can be heartless -- she is a fraud with an agenda -- and both Esmeralda and Thomas can be cruel. Readers will wonder what drives them to such extremes of behavior, but you can feel the pain behind their actions. As we turn the pages, we begin to know these two much better and learn what is tormenting them and can sympathize with them. They are drawn to each other. An interesting secondary character is Thomas's mother, who is plagued by what she believes about her son's death -- she copes by losing herself in drugs.
A hot romance, the pages smoke and sizzle in WICKED INTENTIONS. It will also keep readers in suspense as Esmeralda moves into the light. Enjoyable and well paced, it is an excellent book to curl up with on a cold winter day.
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