Infamous for his wild, sensual needs, Lazarus Huntington,
Lord Caire, is searching for a savage killer in St. Giles,
London's most notorious slum. Widowed Temperance Dews knows
the area like the back of her hand—she cares for its
children at the foundling home her family established. Now
that home is at risk…
A WOMAN HAUNTED BY HER PAST
Caire makes a simple offer—in return for Temperance's
help navigating the perilous alleys of St. Giles, he will
introduce her to high society so that she can find a benefactor
for the home. But Temperance may not be the innocent she seems,
and what begins as a cold bargain soon falls prey to a passion
neither can control—and may well destroy them both.
A woman abroad in St. Giles at midnight was either very foolish
or very desperate. Or, as in her own case, Temperance Dews
reflected wryly, a combination of both.
"'Tis said the Ghost of St. Giles haunts on nights like
this," Nell Jones, Temperance's maidservant, said chattily
as she skirted a noxious puddle in the narrow alley.
Temperance glanced dubiously at her. Nell had spent three
years in a traveling company of actors and sometimes had a
tendency toward melodrama.
"There's no ghost haunting St. Giles," Temperance
replied firmly. The cold winter night was frightening enough
without the addition of specters.
"Oh, indeed, there is." Nell hoisted the sleeping
babe in her arms higher. "He wears a black mask and a
harlequin's motley and carries a wicked sword."
Temperance frowned. "A harlequin's motley? That doesn't
sound very ghostlike."
"It's ghostlike if he's the dead spirit of a harlequin
player come back to haunt the living."
"For bad reviews?"
Nell sniffed. "And he's disfigured."
"How would anyone know that if he's masked?"
New York Timesand USA Today bestseller!
"Elizabeth Hoyt is one of those
rare authors that became an autobuy for me with her
very first book. And even rarer still, every book she
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Lane series, is no exception. She proves once again
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"WICKED INTENTIONS was difficult
to put down and, when finally finished, elicited a Whew,
what a ride! I give it a high recommendation and eagerly
look forward to its sequels.” —Romance Reviews Today
"4 1/2 Stars TOP PICK!
Hoyt uses her gift for reimagining classic fairy tale
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will make readers eager for the next Maiden Lane novel.” —Kathe Robin, RT Book Reviews
Readers will enjoy the unusual pairing of an aristocratic
man and a poor but educated widow, enhanced by earthy,
richly detailed characterizations and deft historical
touches.” —Publishers Weekly
"Elizabeth Hoyt brings mystery,
romance and intrigue to debut her latest series in the
first book WICKED INTENTIONS and you are never left
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a read as this one has been.” —Mary, TheMysticCastle.com
"What a fantastic novel WICKED
INTENTIONS is! I have always enjoyed reading Ms. Hoyt's
work and this is no different. The contradicting way
that Temperance is in her mannerism shows the daily
struggle she has with what she considers a passion that
she must hold back. Add the mysterious sensual background
of Caire and this story will get you turning pages as
fast as you
can.” —Coffee Time Romance
"With a dash of sharp wit; a rare
literary flair for creating complex, compelling characters;
and lively writing that packs a powerful emotional punch,
Hoyt delivers the first sensually charged, danger- infused
installment in a new Georgian-set series.” —John Charles, Booklist
They were coming to a turn in the alley, and Temperance thought
she saw light up ahead. She held her lantern high and gripped
the ancient pistol in her other hand a little tighter. The
weapon was heavy enough to make her arm ache. She could have
brought a sack to carry it in, but that would've defeated
its purpose as a deterrent. Though loaded, the pistol held
but one shot, and to tell the truth, she was somewhat hazy
on the actual operation of the weapon.
Still, the pistol looked dangerous, and Temperance was grateful
for that. The night was black, the wind moaning eerily, bringing
with it the smell of excrement and rotting offal. The sounds
of St. Giles rose about them—voices raised in argument,
moans and laughter, and now and again the odd, chilling scream.
St. Giles was enough to send the most intrepid woman running
for her life.
And that was without Nell's conversation.
"Horribly disfigured," Nell continued,
ignoring Temperance's logic. "'Tis said his lips and
eyelids are clean burned off, as if he died in a fire long
ago. He seems to grin at you with his great yellow teeth as
he comes to pull the guts from your belly."
Temperance wrinkled her nose. "Nell!"
"That's what they say," Nell said virtuously. "The
ghost guts his victims and plays with their entrails before
slipping away into the night."
Temperance shivered. "Why would he do that?"
"Envy," Nell said matter-of-factly. "He envies
"Well, I don't believe in spirits in any case."
Temperance took a breath as they turned the corner into a
small, wretched courtyard. Two figures stood at the opposite
end, but they scuttled away at their approach. Temperance
let out her breath. "Lord, I hate being abroad at night."
Nell patted the infant's back. "Only a half mile more.
Then we can put this wee one to bed and send for the wet nurse
in the morning."
Temperance bit her lip as they ducked into another alley.
"Do you think she'll live until morning?"
But Nell, usually quite free with her opinions, was silent. Temperance
peered ahead and hurried her step. The baby looked to be only
weeks old and had not yet made a sound since they'd recovered
her from the arms of her dead mother. Normally a thriving
infant was quite loud. Terrible to think that she and Nell
might've made this dangerous outing for naught.
But then what choice had there been, really? When she'd received
word at the Home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children
that a baby was in need of her help, it had still been light.
She'd known from bitter experience that if they'd waited until
morn to retrieve the child, it would either have expired in
the night from lack of care or would've already been sold
for a beggar's prop. She shuddered. The children bought by
beggars were often made more pitiful to elicit sympathy from
passersby. An eye might be put out or a limb broken or twisted.
No, she'd really had no choice. The baby couldn't wait until
Still, she'd be very happy when they made it back to the
They were in a narrow passage now, the tall houses on either
side leaning inward ominously. Nell was forced to walk behind
Temperance or risk brushing the sides of the buildings. A
scrawny cat snaked by, and then there was a shout very near.
Temperance's steps faltered.
"Someone's up ahead," Nell whispered hoarsely.
They could hear scuffling and then a sudden high scream.
Temperance swallowed. The alley had no side passages. They
could either retreat or continue—and to retreat meant
another twenty minutes added to their journey.
That decided her. The night was chilly, and the cold wasn't
good for the babe.
"Stay close to me," she whispered to Nell.
"Like a flea on a dog," Nell muttered.
Temperance squared her shoulders and held the pistol firmly
in front of her. Winter, her youngest brother, had said that
one need only point it and shoot. That couldn't be too hard.
The light from the lantern spilled before them as she entered
another crooked courtyard. Here she stood still for just a
second, her light illuminating the scene ahead like a pantomime
on a stage.
A man lay on the ground, bleeding from the head. But that
wasn't what froze her—blood and even death were common
enough in St. Giles. No, what arrested her was the second
man. He crouched over the first, his black cloak spread to
either side of him like the wings of a great bird of prey.
He held a long black walking stick, the end tipped with silver,
echoing his hair, which was silver as well. It fell straight
and long, glinting in the lantern's light. Though his face
was mostly in darkness, his eyes glinted from under the brim
of a black tricorne. Temperance could feel the weight of the
stranger's stare. It was as if he physically touched her.
"Lord save and preserve us from evil," Nell murmured,
for the first time sounding fearful. "Come away, ma'am.
Thus urged, Temperance ran across the courtyard, her shoes
clattering on the cobblestones. She darted into another passage
and left the scene behind.
"Who was he, Nell?" she panted as they made their
way through the stinking alley. "Do you know?"
The passage let out suddenly into a wider road, and Temperance
relaxed a little, feeling safer without the walls pressing
Nell spat as if to clear a foul taste from her mouth.
Temperance looked at her curiously. "You sounded like
you knew that man."
"Knew him, no," Nell replied. "But I've seen
him about. That was Lord Caire. He's best left to himself."
Nell shook her head, pressing her lips firmly together. "I
shouldn't be speaking about the likes of him to you at all,
Temperance let that cryptic comment go. They were on a better
street now—some of the shops had lanterns hanging by
the doors, lit by the inhabitants within. Temperance turned
one more corner onto Maiden Lane, and the foundling home came
within sight. Like its neighbors, it was a tall brick building
of cheap construction. The windows were few and very narrow,
the doorway unmarked by any sign. In the fifteen precarious
years of the foundling home's existence, there had never been
a need to advertise.
Abandoned and orphaned children were all too common in St.
"Home safely," Temperance said as they made the
door. She set down the lantern on the worn stone step and
took out the big iron key hanging by a cord at her waist.
"I'm looking forward to a dish of hot tea."
"I'll put this wee one to bed," Nell said as they
entered the dingy little hall. It was spotlessly clean, but
that didn't hide the fallen plaster or the warped floorboards.
"Thank you." Temperance removed her cloak and was
just hanging it on a peg when a tall male form appeared at
the far doorway.
She swallowed and turned. "Oh! Oh, Winter, I did not
know you'd returned."
"Obviously," her younger brother said drily. He
nodded to the maidservant. "A good eventide to you, Nell."
"Sir." Nell curtsied and looked nervously between
brother and sister. "I'll just see to the, ah, children,
And she fled upstairs, leaving Temperance to face Winter's
Temperance squared her shoulders and moved past her brother.
The foundling home was long and narrow, squeezed by the neighboring
houses. There was one room off the small entryway. It was
used for dining and, on occasion, receiving the home's infrequent
important visitors. At the back of the house were the kitchens,
which Temperance entered now. The children had all had their
dinner promptly at five o'clock, but neither she nor her brother
was just about to make some tea," she said as she went
to stir the fire. Soot, the home's black cat, got up from
his place in front of the hearth and stretched before padding
off in search of mice. "There's a bit of beef left from
yesterday and some new radishes I bought at market this morning."
Behind her Winter sighed. "Temperance."
She hurried to find the kettle. "The bread's a bit stale,
but I can toast it if you like."
He was silent and she finally turned and faced the inevitable.
It was worse than she feared. Winter's long, thin face merely
looked sad, which always made her feel terrible. She hated
to disappoint him.
"It was still light when we set out," she said
in a small voice.
He sighed again, taking off his round black hat and sitting
at the kitchen table. "Could you not wait for my return,
Temperance looked at her brother. Winter was only five and
twenty, but he bore himself with the air of a man twice his
age. His countenance was lined with weariness, his wide shoulders
slumped beneath his ill-fitting black coat, and his long limbs
were much too thin. For the last five years he had taught
at the tiny daily school attached to the home.
On Papa's death last year, Winter's work had increased tremendously.
Concord, their eldest brother, had taken over the family brewery.
Asa, their next eldest brother, had always been rather dismissive
of the foundling home and had a mysterious business of his
own. Both their sisters, Verity, the eldest of the family,
and Silence, the youngest, were married. That had left Winter
to manage the foundling home. Even with her help—she'd
worked at the home since the death of her husband nine years
before—the task was overwhelming for one man. Temperance
feared for her brother's well-being, but both the foundling
home and the tiny day school had been founded by Papa. Winter
felt it was his filial duty to keep the two charities alive.
If his health did not give out first.
She filled the teakettle from the water jar by the back door.
"Had we waited it would have been full dark with no assurance
that the babe would still be there." She glanced at him
as she placed the kettle over the fire. "Besides, have
you not enough work to do?"
"If I lose my sister think you that I'd be more free
Temperance looked away guiltily.
Her brother's voice softened. "And that discounts the
lifelong sorrow I would feel had anything happened to you
"Nell knew the mother of the baby—a girl of less
than fifteen years." Temperance took out the bread and
carved it into thin slices. "Besides, I carried the pistol."
"Hmm," Winter said behind her. "And had you
been accosted, would you have used it?"
"Yes, of course," she said with flat certainty.
"And if the shot misfired?"
She wrinkled her nose. Their father had brought up all her
brothers to debate a point finely and that fact could be quite
irritating at times.
She carried the bread slices to the fire to toast. "In
any case, nothing did happen."
"This night." Winter sighed again. "Sister,
you must promise me you'll not act so foolishly again."
"Mmm," Temperance mumbled, concentrating on the
toast. "How was your day at the school?"
For a moment, she thought Winter wouldn't consent to her
changing the subject. Then he said, "A good day, I think.
The Samuels lad remembered his Latin lesson finally, and I
did not have to punish any of the boys."
Temperance glanced at him with sympathy. She knew Winter
hated to take a switch to a palm, let alone cane a boy's bottom.
On the days that Winter had felt he must punish a boy he came
home in a black mood.
"I'm glad," she said simply.
He stirred in his chair. "I returned for luncheon, but
you were not here."
Temperance took the toast from the fire and placed it on
the table. "I must have been taking Mary Found to her
new position. I think she'll do quite well there. Her mistress
seemed very kind, and the woman took only five pounds as payment
to apprentice Mary as her maid."
"God willing she'll actually teach the child something
so we won't see Mary Found again."
Temperance poured the hot water into their small teapot and
brought it to the table. "You sound cynical, brother."
Winter passed a hand over his brow. "Forgive me. Cynicism
is a terrible vice. I shall try to correct my humor."
Temperance sat and silently served her brother, waiting.
Something more than her late-night adventure was bothering
At last he said, "Mr. Wedge visited whilst I ate my
Mr. Wedge was their landlord. Temperance paused, her hand
on the teapot. "What did he say?"
"He'll give us only another two weeks, and then he'll
have the foundling home forcibly vacated."
stared at the little piece of beef on her plate. It was stringy
and hard and from an obscure part of the cow, but she'd been
looking forward to it. Now her appetite was suddenly gone.
The foundling home's rent was in arrears—they hadn't
been able to pay the full rent last month and nothing at all
this month. Perhaps she shouldn't have bought the radishes,
Temperance reflected morosely. But the children hadn't had
anything but broth and bread for the last week.
"If only Sir Gilpin had remembered us in his will,"
Sir Stanley Gilpin had been Papa's good friend and the patron
of the foundling home. A retired theater owner, he'd managed
to make a fortune on the South Sea Company and had been wily
enough to withdraw his funds before the notorious bubble burst.
Sir Gilpin had been a generous patron while alive, but on
his unexpected death six months before, the home had been
left floundering. They'd limped along, using what money had
been saved, but now they were in desperate straits.
"Sir Gilpin was an unusually generous man, it would
seem," Winter replied. "I have not been able to
find another gentleman so willing to fund a home for the infant
Temperance poked at her beef. "What shall we do?"
"The Lord shall provide," Winter said, pushing
aside his half-eaten meal and rising. "And if he does
not, well, then perhaps I can take on private students in
"You already work too many hours," Temperance protested.
"You hardly have time to sleep as it is."
Winter shrugged. "How can I live with myself if the
innocents we protect are thrown into the street?"
Temperance looked down at her plate. She had no answer to
"Come." Her brother held out his hand and smiled.
Winter's smiles were so rare, so precious. When he smiled,
his entire face lit as if from a flame within, and a dimple
appeared on one cheek, making him look boyish, more his true
One couldn't help but smile back when Winter smiled, and
Temperance did so as she laid her hand in his. "Where
will we go?"
"Let us visit our charges," he said as he took
a candle and led her to the stairs. "Have you ever noticed
that they look quite angelic when asleep?"
Temperance laughed as they climbed the narrow wooden staircase
to the next floor. There was a small hall here with three
doors leading off it. They peered in the first as Winter held
his candle high. Six tiny cots lined the walls of the room.
The youngest of the foundlings slept here, two or three to
a cot. Nell lay in an adult-sized bed by the door, already
Winter walked to the cot nearest Nell. Two babes lay there.
The first was a boy, red-haired and pink-cheeked, sucking
on his fist as he slept. The second child was half the size
of the first, her cheeks pale and her eyes hollowed, even
in sleep. Tiny whorls of fine black hair decorated her crown.
"This is the baby you rescued tonight?" Winter
Temperance nodded. The little girl looked even frailer next
to the thriving baby boy.
But Winter merely touched the baby's hand with a gentle finger.
"How do you like the name Mary Hope?"
Temperance swallowed past the thickness in her throat. "'Tis
Winter nodded and, with a last caress for the tiny babe,
left the room. The next door led to the boys’ dormitory.
Four beds held thirteen boys, all under the age of nine—the
age when they were apprenticed out. The boys lay with limbs
sprawled, faces flushed in sleep. Winter smiled and pulled
a blanket over the three boys nearest the door, tucking in
a leg that had escaped the bed.
Temperance sighed. "One would never think that they
spent an hour at luncheon hunting for rats in the alley."
"Mmm," Winter answered as he closed the door softly
behind them. "Small boys grow so swiftly to men."
"They do indeed." Temperance opened the last door—the
one to the girls’ dormitory—and a small face immediately
popped off a pillow.
"Did you get 'er, ma'am?" Mary Whitsun whispered
She was the eldest of the girls in the foundling home, named
for the Whitsunday morning nine years before when she'd been
brought to the home as a child of three. Young though Mary
Whitsun was, Temperance had to sometimes leave her in charge
of the other children—as she'd had to tonight.
"Yes, Mary," Temperance whispered back. "Nell
and I brought the babe home safely."
"I'm glad." Mary Whitsun yawned widely.
"You did well watching the children," Temperance
whispered. "Now sleep. A new day will be here soon."
Mary Whitsun nodded sleepily and closed her eyes.
Winter picked up a candlestick from a little table by the
door and led the way out of the girls' dormitory. "I
shall take your kind advice, sister, and bid you good night."
He lit the candlestick from his own and gave it to Temperance.
"Sleep well," she replied. "I think I'll have
one more cup of tea before retiring."
"Don't stay up too late," Winter said. He touched
her cheek with a finger—much as he had the babe—and
turned to mount the stairs.
Temperance watched him go, frowning at how slowly he moved
up the stairs. It was past midnight, and he would rise again
before five of the clock to read, write letters to prospective
patrons, and prepare his school lessons for the day. He would
lead the morning prayers at breakfast, hurry to his job as
schoolmaster, work all morning before taking one hour for
a meager luncheon, and then work again until after dark. In
the evening, he heard the girls' lessons and read from the
Bible to the older children. Yet, when she voiced her worries,
Winter would merely raise an eyebrow and inquire who would
do the work if not he?
Temperance shook her head. She should be to bed as well—her
day started at six of the clock—but these moments by
herself in the evening were precious. She'd sacrifice a half
hour's sleep to sit alone with a cup of tea.
So she took her candle back downstairs. Out of habit, she
checked to see that the front door was locked and barred.
The wind whistled and shook the shutters as she made her way
to the kitchen, and the back door rattled. She checked it
as well and was relieved to see the door still barred. Temperance
shivered, glad she was no longer outside on a night like this.
She rinsed out the teapot and filled it again. To make a pot
of tea with fresh leaves and only for herself was a terrible
luxury. Soon she'd have to give this up as well, but tonight
she'd enjoy her cup.
Off the kitchen was a tiny room. Its original purpose was
forgotten, but it had a small fireplace, and Temperance had
made it her own private sitting room. Inside was a stuffed
chair, much battered but refurbished with a quilted blanket
thrown over the back. A small table and a footstool were there
as well—all she needed to sit by herself next to a warm
Humming, Temperance placed her teapot and cup, a small dish
of sugar, and the candlestick on an old wooden tray. Milk
would have been nice, but what was left from this morning
would go toward the children's breakfast on the morrow. As
it was, the sugar was a shameful luxury. She looked at the
small bowl, biting her lip. She really ought to put it back,
she simply didn't deserve it. After a moment, she took the
sugar dish off the tray, but the sacrifice brought her no
feeling of wholesome goodness. Instead she was only weary.
Temperance picked up the tray, and because both her hands
were full, she backed into the door leading to her little
was why she didn't notice until she turned that the sitting
room was already occupied.
There, sprawled in her chair like a conjured demon, sat Lord
Caire. His silver hair spilled over the shoulders of his black
cape, a cocked hat lay on one knee, and his right hand caressed
the end of his long ebony walking stick. This close, she realized
that his hair gave lie to his age. The lines about his startlingly
blue eyes were few, his mouth and jaw firm. He couldn't be
much older than five and thirty.
He inclined his head at her entrance and spoke, his voice
deep and smooth and softly dangerous.
"Good evening, Mrs. Dews."
She stood with quiet confidence, this respectable
woman who lived in the sewer that was St. Giles. Her eyes
had widened at the sight of him, but she made no move to flee.
Indeed, finding a strange man in her pathetic sitting room
seemed not to frighten her at all.
"I am Lazarus Huntington, Lord Caire," he said.
"I know. What are you doing here?"
He tilted his head, studying her. She knew him, yet did not
recoil in horror? Yes, she'd do quite well. "I've come
to make a proposition to you, Mrs. Dews."
Still no sign of fear, though she eyed the doorway. "You've
chosen the wrong lady, my lord. The night is late. Please
leave my house."
No fear and no deference to his rank. An interesting woman
"My proposition is not, er, illicit in nature,"
he drawled. "In fact, it's quite respectable. Or nearly
She sighed, looked down at her tray, and then back up at
him. "Would you like a cup of tea?"
He almost smiled. Tea? When had he last been offered something
so very prosaic by a woman? He couldn't remember.
But he replied gravely enough. "Thank you, no."
She nodded. "Then if you don't mind?"
He waved a hand to indicate permission.
set the tea tray on the wretched little table and sat on the
padded footstool to pour herself a cup. He watched her. She
was a monochromatic study. Her dress, bodice, hose, and shoes
were all flat black. A fichu tucked in at her severe neckline,
an apron, and a cap—no lace or ruffles—were all
white. No color marred her aspect, making the lush red of
her full lips all the more startling. She wore the clothes
of a nun, yet had the mouth of a sybarite.
The contrast was fascinating—and arousing.
"You're a Puritan?" he asked.
Her beautiful mouth compressed. "No."
"Ah." He noted she did not say she was Church of
England either. She probably belonged to one of the many obscure
nonconformist sects, but then he was interested in her religious
beliefs only as they impacted his own mission.
She took a sip of tea. "How do you know my name?"
He shrugged. "Mrs. Dews and her brother are well known
for their good deeds."
"Really?" Her tone was dry. "I was not aware
we were so famous beyond the boundaries of St. Giles."
She might look demure but there were teeth behind the prim
expression. And she was quite right—he would never have
heard of her had he not spent the last month stalking the
shadows of St. Giles. Stalking fruitlessly, which was why
he'd followed her home and sat before this miserable fire
"How did you get in?" she asked.
"I believe the back door was unlocked."
"No, it wasn't." Her brown eyes met his over her
teacup. They were an odd light color, almost golden. "Why
are you here, Lord Caire?"
"I wish to hire you, Mrs. Dews," he said softly.
She stiffened and set her teacup down on the tray. "No."
"You haven't heard the task for which I wish to hire
"It's past midnight, my lord, and I'm not inclined to
games even during the day. Please leave or I shall be forced
to call my brother."
He didn't move. "Not a husband?"
"I'm widowed, as I'm sure you already know." She
turned to look into the fire, presenting a dismissive profile
He stretched his legs in what room there was, his boots nearly
in the fire. "You're quite correct—I do know. I
also know that you and your brother have not paid the rent
on this property in nearly two months."
She said nothing, merely sipping her tea.
"I'll pay handsomely for your time," he murmured.
She looked at him finally, and he saw a golden flame in those
pale brown eyes. "You think all women can be bought?"
He rubbed his thumb across his chin, considering the question.
"Yes, I do, though perhaps not strictly by money. And
I do not limit it to women—all men can be bought in
one form or another as well. The only trouble is in finding
the applicable currency."
She simply stared at him with those odd eyes.
He dropped his hand, resting it on his knee. "You, for
instance, Mrs. Dews. I would've thought your currency would
be money for your foundling home, but perhaps I'm mistaken.
Perhaps I've been fooled by your plain exterior, your reputation
as a prim widow. Perhaps you would be better persuaded by
influence or knowledge or even the pleasures of the flesh."
"You still haven't said what you want me for."
Though she hadn't moved, hadn't changed expression at all,
her voice had a rough edge. He caught it only because he had
years of experience at the chase. His nostrils flared involuntarily,
as if the hunter within was trying to scent her. Which of
his list had interested her?
"A guide." His eyelids drooped as he pretended
to examine his fingernails. "Merely that." He watched
her from under his brows and saw when that lush mouth pursed.
"A guide to what?"
"Why do you need a guide?"
Ah, this was where it got tricky. "I'm searching for…a
certain person in St. Giles. I would like to interview some
of the inhabitants, but I find my search confounded by my
ignorance of the area and people and by their reluctance to
talk to me. Hence, a guide."
Her eyes had narrowed as she listened, her fingers tapping
against the teacup. "Whom do you search for?"
He shook his head slowly. "Not unless you agree to be
"And that is all you want? A guide? Nothing else?"
He nodded, watching her.
She turned to look into the fire as if consulting it. For
a moment, the only sound in the room was the snap of a piece
of coal falling. He waited patiently, caressing the silver
head of his cane.
Then she faced him fully. "You're right. Your money
does not tempt me. It's a stopgap measure that would only
delay our eventual eviction."
He cocked his head, watching as she carefully licked those
lush lips, preparing her argument, no doubt. He felt the beat
of the pulse beneath his skin, his body's response to her
feminine vitality. "What do you want, then, Mrs. Dews?"
She met his gaze levelly, almost in challenge. "I want
you to introduce me to the wealthy and titled people of London.
I want you to help me find a new patron for our foundling
Lazarus kept his mouth firmly straight, but he felt a surge
of triumph as the prim widow ran headlong into his talons.