Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: Maiden Lane, #2
Hero: Griffin Reading
Heroine: Hero Batten
Date of Publication: February 1, 2011
Started On: June 01 2016
Finished On: June 04, 2016
My journey into reading through the backlist of Elizabeth Hoyt continues, this time with the second book in the Maiden Lane series. Notorious Pleasures brings us the story of Lady Hero Batten, the daughter of a Duke, who has pretty much perfected the etiquette that is required of her in polite society. The final nail in the coffin where she is concerned is her betrothal to the Marquess of Mandeville, a union that is forged much like a business transaction as is the norm.
Lord Griffin Reading returns to London after almost a year, Griffin preferring to reside in the country residence where he harvests crops. It has also been three years since Griffin and his brother Thomas had become estranged, a source of much anxiety to their mother. Griffin hides behind a veneer of notoriety that precedes him, which makes it easier for his brother to continue with his feeling of disdain, sitting on higher moral ground where his brother is concerned.
When Hero at first walks in on Griffin, it is to find him in a less than savory position with the lady of the manor, forcing an instant dislike to come into place with one another. While Hero dismisses Griffin as someone who is not trustworthy, a man seen to be controlled by his baser appetites, Griffin considers Hero to be a bit too uptight, someone who could use a bit of loosening up, perhaps in bed and out of it. What both Griffin and Hero refuses to accept is that their dislike hides the real reason behind their perceived animosity towards one another – their instant attraction to each other.
What Hero does not realize is the trouble she is getting herself into by agreeing to an engagement with a man whose brother becomes the sole focus of her desires. It certainly does not help matters to realize that Griffin too feels the same way, and with society having already gone through one episode of scandal concerning Griffin and his brother, Hero is hard pressed to find a way to combat the unquenchable desire Griffin arouses in her.
Notorious Pleasures might not be a story well received by readers who have delicate sensibilities, especially when it comes to grey areas concerning that of loyalty towards ones betrothed. Furthermore, Griffin embarking on an affair of the flesh and the heart with the woman who would rightly become his sister in law in the future might be a bitter pill to swallow for some readers. I, however had no such problems with the story that emerged. I am always for authors who pushes the boundaries of the accepted norm. It is always a matter of how an author deals with the fallout. Life teaches us day in and day out that it is one gigantic lump of mess, which everyone is best trying to traverse without falling flat on their face. To read stories that are realistic in this nature is what I crave and Hoyt certainly does that and more with her stories.
With Notorious Pleasures, as is the norm with all her works, Hoyt manages to draw in the readers into a complex and multi-layered story that sees the emergence of Griffin’s character as one that is worth so much more than the initial impression he makes. There is a core of strength and loyalty inside of him that makes him appealing on so many levels. There is also the fact that the hidden facets of his character that emerges in the story makes him the actual hero where the two brothers are concerned, not that Thomas is a hard core villain of the variety people might think him to be given this statement. Even though his interest in Hero might make people look upon Griffin in a less than favorable manner, his saving grace comes from the fact that his brother too is not entirely honest with himself when it comes to his impending marriage with Hero.
Hero is a woman who is torn between the conventions demanded of her by society, by her powerful brother, the Duke of Wakefield and of course her desire to slay it all and stand with the man who makes her insides tremble with want whenever he walks in to a room. Griffin certainly does not make it easy for Hero to stay away from him, nor does he make it easy for her to walk away from the hedonistic pleasure that is to be found in the circle of his arms. The ultimate decision that Hero finally makes would not have been an easy one, which made me mighty proud of her for doing so, rather than opting for the easy way out.
Notorious Pleasures also continues the thread of story related to Silence Hollingbrook, whose marriage had practically died in front of her when Silence had taken matters into her own hands regarding the possible incarceration of her husband. Hoyt does a remarkable job out of leaving the reader wanting for more, and much more, and that is exactly why the Maiden Lane series is a must read for all romance readers out there!
I would also love to gush a bit about the beautiful covers that graces Hoyt’s novels. Each and every single cover featuring a couple is beautiful. The colors, the setup and layout as if it had come out straight from the pages of the book itself. Love them all!
Final Verdict: With a Hoyt novel, one is never a choice. One is never ever enough!
“Please,” he moaned. “Please.”
He turned his head and licked across her nipple before gently closing his teeth over the tip. She gasped, her head falling back against his shoulder. He worried her nipple, then let it go to kiss it softly.
“Stroke me,” he gasped, and let her hand go.
She did, pulling up over that hard flesh, hidden beneath her skirts. That part of him that made him a man.
“Like this?” she whispered, low and intimate in the rocking carriage. Outside, London passed by. Inside she held a man’s penis in her palm.
“Yesss,” he hissed before tonguing her other nipple. “Exactly like that.”
She looked up at him, so full of his flesh. Was this all there was?
He seemed to understand the question in her eyes. He lay against her, his upper half braced away from her on straight arms. He smiled again, this time rather grimly, and grunted, “Feel.”
Then he slid against her, his penis slowly pistoning out and into her. She gasped. He did it again, his eyes watching hers, and swiveled his hips, grinding down on her.
“Oh!” With her hips tilted up, his body was hitting that spot exactly, each pull of his cock adding somehow to the exquisite sensation.
“Feel, my heart,” he whispered, and she saw that his eyes were glistening.
He reached the apex of her sex and spread his hand, pressing down quite explicitly on her clitoris.
And she jerked, hard and hot, falling from a great height, the wind whistling past her ears, glorious in her descent.
He arched away from her and pulled his cock partway out, then slammed it back into her, rough and fast and relentless. He thrust in and out in short, jerky, controlled movements, never so hard as to rattle the door, never so soft as to let her down from her fall from on high.
She wanted to scream, wanted to shout aloud with joy. This rapid energy was too much, was not enough. She wanted him to continue forever. She bit, gently, precisely, on his earlobe and his mechanical rhythm stuttered. He jerked, arched, jerked again and then thrust one last time, holding himself deep within her.
She felt heat flood her insides.
“Shhh, it’s all right,” he murmured as he settled between her thighs again. His penis was naked and big. “I’ve got what you want and need, if not love.”
She shook her head, no longer sure, no longer able to decide what was real and what was sexual excitement. “I don’t—”
“Hush.” The head of his cock nudged her entrance, and she felt the delicious stretch. “That’s good, isn’t it?”
A rough edge lined his voice now. He entered her, one slow inch at a time, and it was torture. She made to arch up, to embed him all at once, but he shifted one hand, holding her hips firmly down.
“Take it,” he growled. “Let me give you this at least.”
She arched beneath him, her hands scrabbling at his shoulders. He slammed his mouth over hers just as she opened it to scream. Hot flashes of lights were going off behind her eyes. His cock was rubbing, rubbing, rubbing over that one delicious spot, and she was going to die from the endless pleasure.
He thrust his tongue into her mouth, and she sucked it helplessly. He ground his hips into her and shuddered. She felt the tremors wrack his big shoulders. He tore his mouth from hers and groaned, long and low, his body shaking as it poured life into hers.
“Does he watch you like I do? Does he know that your eyes turn to diamonds when you’re aroused?” He nipped along her neck, his kisses insistent and hard. “Does he know that you like to read in Greek but loathe drawing? Does he wait with bated breath for you to arch your left eyebrow so prissily—and then grow hard when you do?” He thumbed both her nipples at once, bringing a surge of heat between her thighs. “Tell me, Hero, goddamn it to bloody hell, tell me: Does he make you feel like I do?”
“No!” Her answer was a despairing wail.
His thumbs were between them, spreading her folds as if he had every right, as if she was his, now and forever, until the end of time, amen. And then he was in her. Hard and hot, moving so exquisitely she began to cry.
“Do you love me, Hero?” His pale green eyes were full of torment. “Do you love me like I love you?”
And she cracked apart on his words, a stream of liquid heat pouring forth from her center. She trembled beneath him, trying to tear her gaze from his as her passion exploded within her. As rivers of sweet pleasure spread through her thighs and belly. As her heart fractured and re-formed.
But he wouldn’t let her look away. He held her gaze as his own eyes half closed and the muscles of his face, neck, and chest tightened. She watched helplessly as he convulsed above her, his big, strong shoulders gleaming with sweat.
He thrust into her once, twice, three times more and held himself there, tight against her, their bodies locked, as he orgasmed. His eyes pled silently with hers, defiant and proud.