Widowed Silence Hollingbrook is impoverished, lovely, and kind–and nine months ago she made a horrible mistake. She went to a river pirate for help in saving her husband and in the process made a bargain that cost her her marriage. That night wounded her so terribly that she hides in the foundling home she helps run with her brother. Except now that same river pirate is back…and he's asking for her help.
“Charming” Mickey O'Connor is the most ruthless river pirate in London. Devastatingly handsome and fearsomely intelligent, he clawed his way up through London's criminal underworld. Mickey has no use for tender emotions like compassion and love, and he sees people as pawns to be manipulated. And yet he's never been able to forget the naive captain's wife who came to him for help and spent one memorable night in his bed…talking.
When his bastard baby girl was dumped in his lap–her mother having died–Mickey couldn't resist the Machiavellian urge to leave the baby on Silence's doorstep. The baby would be hidden from his enemies and he'd also bind Silence to him by her love for his daughter.
And here is Milena's review:
Before everybody starts throwing vegetables at me, I should say that I glommed Elizabeth Hoyt's books in one pretty fell swoop, and Scandalous Desires were probably the point where I reached over-saturation. I know that, for many readers, a bad-boy pirate hero is swoon-worthy by definition, but I'm not one of them. If you are, our opinions will probably differ.
To be specific, I had two big problems with Mickey: first, he is described as an actual, thieving, looting and all the rest-ing pirate, only to be made into a well-not-really-harming-except-those-who-deserve-it-and-even-then-he-feels-bad-about-it guys. And, although I would not like a hero who is a real criminal, I like it even less when a pirate starts out professional, so to speak, and ends up domesticated enough that he could get a gig in the Caribbean. I like Disney franchises as much as the next gal, but this is very close to where I draw the line. And, while we're on the subject of Disney, the way Mickey was described reminded me way too often of Johnny Depp's kohl-eyed Jack Sparrow. Who is very decorative and amusing, but not exactly hero material, and the double-vision effect occasionally made me stop and shake my head while reading just to be able to take Mickey seriously. (And really, with a name like Mickey, is it any wonder I thought of Disney a lot?)
In the other corner, the heroine, Silence, is the kind of Snowhitesque heroine who is such a goody she needs at least six shoes instead of the usual two. She even gets her own dwarves-in-everything-but-stature, who may be really bad pirates by day, but moonlight as kids-and-dogs-lovin', heroine-adorin', food-smugglin' kindhearts without blinking an eyepatch. The servants in Mickey's house also all adore Silence, and Mickey adores Silence, and her family adores Silence, and Mickey's probably-daughter adores Silence, and if there's anyone in the book who doesn't adore Silence, you know that they are a bad evil person who deserves to die. Because, obviously.
To top it all, the love story itself seems as if it was heavily influenced by reading that great relationship guide, Beauty and the Beast: How to Make the Stockholm Syndrome Work for You. There are also bits that tells us the new adventures of the Ghost of St. Giles, but they don't feel connected with the rest of the story, which wasn't the case in the previous instalments of the series.
On the good side, the fairy tale that weaves through the novel was nice as always, and the melodramatic, over-the-top emotions that are Hoyt's speciality occasionally did work. However, while in some of her books I can go past the industrial-size plotholes and sudden changes of behaviour just to get the characters where they need to be for the story, in this one, there were more misses than hits. Still, I have to confess, the next one in the series, Thief of Shadows ( A | BN | K | S), is already in my TBR pile.