This week to spice things up I thought I’d read a romance novel about a young, beautiful woman and the older, muscular, very handsome, extremely damaged man that she falls in love with. You know, something a little different. Some uncharted territory. Something to keep me guessing every step of the way, something exciting and new…
That’s not fair, some things about this novel are pretty different. First of all, EVERYONE has a supremely stupid name. The main chick is Temperance, the main dude is Lazarus. Tempy has a sister named Silence and a brother named Winter. She runs a house for poor orphans and feels the need to give everyone there a stupid name too, so all the boys are Joseph + Description (like Joseph Hatbox or Joseph Woodpile) and all the girls are Mary + Description (like Mary Sunday or Mary Grossdiaper). So Lazy follows Tempy home one night to proposition her – not like THAT (yet). He wants her help navigating the seedy underbelly of St. Giles while he searches for the person/people who murdered his mistress in a horrifying way. In return, he pays her back rent and agrees to help her find a patron so she can keep the house open. NO ONE wants her to get involved with Lazy because of “what he does in bed,” which I hope is something REALLY scandalous like choking or bestiality and not something ho-hum like anal. ALSO Tempy supposedly got in trouble in the past for her “urges” so she’s super scared of being too close to a man and, I don’t know, turning into a raging sex-demon. Or something. So they go all around, talk to people, kissing here and there, whatever, and HE is sort of like an unfeeling automaton and SHE is full of all kinds of feelings and emotions, which he finds fascinating. Then they get attacked and he gets stabbed and has to go back to her place to get stitched up SANS SHIRT and there’s lots of touching, but he hates to be touched so they don’t do much more than clean up his wound. Then later he takes her to this party to meet potential patrons and she and the maid and the girls have to fix up and old dress for her to wear and in my head it’s kind of like that scene from Cinderella meets one of those old-timey dresses that you wear to take a sepia-toned souvenir photo at a western-themed tourist trap, but presumably it actually looked nice. Before they get there he talks dirty to her in the carriage and her inner sex demon peeks out a little, but sadly they reach the party and he stops. Shoot. So all the men LOVE her and Lazy’s friend is like what are you doing dude and Lazy’s like, HANDS OFF! SHE’S MY TOY! SHE BELONGS TO ME! SHE’S AMUSING!, which makes me totally uncomfortable. Not super romantic, you know? And then they dance and he’s like, uuughghhh I feel gross, and she’s like you ARE gross and also I think your wound is infected, so they’re off to take care of that at his house and also probably (hopefully) fuck.
On the way to his house, Lazy of course is a mega-douche to Tempy and says all kinds of horrible things to her but despite that she insists on staying with him until the doctor arrives. And he’s like, I don’t need you to take care of me, and then she elbows him in his wound and he almost faints and she’s like, YES YOU CLEARLY DO, and I was all but standing up in my seat cheering. Hit him again, girl! Then the doctor comes and he’s drunk and he says pus is good for a wound and he offers to drain some blood but Lazy sends him away and Tempy of course knows better than that old coot so she cleans him up and saves his life, whatever. But she falls asleep in the chair (caring for a gremlin is SO tiring) and the next morning he sends her home and her brothers are all there (Winter and Asa and Concord – she also has another sister, Merit, but we haven’t met her) and they lecture her about her bad decisions, blah blah blah. But she goes out to meet Lazy again anyway and they meet the brother of his dead mistress at a whore house who said he found the body tied to the bed with a hood over her head and so he assumed that Lazy killed her because he knows what kind of stuff Lazy is in to. INTERESTING! So then Lazy wants to know about the other dudes who like that kind of thing and the madam directs them to a hallway full of peepholes and he makes Tempy look through the holes and describe to him what she sees, which is actually kind of extremely hot, until she starts to like it too much and she runs away. And then he catches up to her and they get attacked by brigands and this weird masked dude in a jester hat steps in and helps fight them off. Weird. And then he wants to take her to another party so he gives her a gorgeous dress and she tries to talk to someone that she thinks might give her money but he only wants to give her money in exchange for sex (as if!) so Lazy has to cut in and do some punching. You know, the usual. Oh, and we find out that he’s all brooding and dark and hates to be touched because his little sister died. When he was ten. Which, in the real world I would say, oh man that’s horrible I can definitely see how that would mess a person up forever, if anything ever happened to my brother I would never recover either – but in this book? In this book I think it’s totally stupid and I want him to build a bridge and get over it.
There’s also this side story about her sister Silence and her husband and he’s a captain of a ship but all his cargo gets stolen and he’s going to be sent to jail for it even though he didn’t have anything to do with it and it was actually this gang lord Mickey so Silly goes to see Mickey to beg on behalf of her husband and Mickey makes her stay the night and then leave his house with her dress all undone so everyone thinks they slept together even though they DIDN’T because Silly is not that kind of girl and Mickey returns the cargo but Silly’s husband is totally ashamed of her because MAYBE she had sex with some dude instead of letting him go die in prison (what a WHORE) and I don’t know what any of this has to do with anything except maybe Silly is going to ditch the asshole and get her own spin-off book. Then Tempy is SO upset about everything that’s happened to her sister than she goes to see Lazy (because he is TOTALLY the person I would reach out to if I needed a shoulder to cry on – a putrid, festering, douchey shoulder) and he holds her and they fall asleep and then they wake up and finally have sex. And it’s TOTALLY VANILLA, absolutely normal average sex, except he won’t take his clothes off, but come on. Is that a kink? Do we even care about that? And then she FREAKS OUT and runs away and he’s like, I hope she doesn’t think that we’re never going to do it again because we DEFINITELY ARE!
So she goes home from doin’ it with Lazy and everyone is like, where were YOU young lady?!, and she’s like, guys get off my back god. And then she goes back out with Lazy and his buddy to visit some other dudes with his “tastes” and they get some clues about the murderer, etc, etc, and then they part ways with the buddy and LAZY AND TEMPY TOTALLY HAVE RELATIONS IN HIS CARRIAGE…and, oh mama, let me tell you, it is a SCENE. I like a romance novelist who’s not afraid to say “cock.” Cock cock cock! Cock! Fluids! Everywhere! Whoever has to clean that thing out is gonna be pissssssssed. Then the next night or a few nights later (who can keep track of time with all the cocks flying around?!) they go out to search for the killer again and there’s been ANOTHER murder. So sad! And then they have to go back to her house and have sex some more because, you know, the sadness and all. (Spoiler alert: a cock appeared.) Then later she gets word that one of the babies is sick and maybe dying and she needs to be comforted (by a cock) so she rushes off to see Lazy and makes him tie her up and blindfold her and, ah, comfort her. But afterward he can’t resist berating her for working at the orphan’s home and she comes clean about cheating on her husband at the exact moment that he DIED (what a slut, right?) and then suddenly it’s all about HIS hurt feelings and blah blah blah, he feels so USED, blah blah blah (and his cock’s like, whatever man…your issue, not mine), and there’s a big to-do and she leaves to spend some time with a REAL baby and not a giant didn’t-have-feelings-until-he-needed-them-to-make-her-feel-shitty manbaby. Lazy goes out to look for clues alone, Tempy is sad, Silly is sad that no one believes she didn’t have sex with the gang lord, Tempy is sad some more but then decides to throw a big party and attract donors by showing them…I dunno, how run down and awful-looking the children’s home is? Then on the night of the party, one of the orphan girls disappears – no, IS KIDNAPPED – by the person who we basically knew was the murderer all along and Lazy and Tempy join forces again to try and find her and then the bad person lights the orphan home on fire and Lazy has to do a death-defying rescue mission to save the little orphan girl and also the cat and after he isn’t burned to a crisp they fall all over each other with declarations of LOVE and OH ISN’T IT WONDERFUL and OH LET’S GET MARRIED and OH YES LET’S DO and it’s all so magical and romantic and I may or may not have up-chucked at all the sentimentality getting tossed around. But luckily the cock comes back out to play and Tempy teaches Lazy that touching can be really nice and they touched each other happily ever after, on into the kinky bondage sunset.
Ground-breaking? No. Upsetting? Yes, at times. Sexy? OHHHH YEAH. Fingers crossed that by Book 2 Tempy has wised up and left this ass in the dust…!