Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Holt (audiobook)

Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3) - Elizabeth Hoyt,  Ashford McNab

I didn’t realize Scandalous Desires was the third book in a series until I was nearly finished with it. With that said, I thought it stood alone quite well and I never felt lost or smothered by an info dump. I may have had a deeper understanding of certain events had I read the previous two books but I wouldn’t say it was necessary to read them in order to enjoy Scandalous Desire.

Mickey O’ Connor is the most feared pirate in all the land. He steals, he ruins the lives of greedy men (and sometimes decent men too), he kills when he must and he enjoys the heck out of his stolen riches and his harem of whores. Mickey is a very, very Bad Boy who has no shame. Silence is a kind widow who, unbeknownst to her, has been caring for Mickey’s baby daughter for the last few months after she was abandoned at the orphanage run by Silence and her brother Winter. She loves little Mary Darling as her own and is devastated when she discovers the child has been taken by the same notorious pirate she feels ruined her marriage. In order to get Mary Darling back she must move in with Mickey. He claims Mary Darling is in danger and he intends to keep her safe until he takes care of the villain.

Silence drops everything and moves in with Mickey and his crew. I know, kind of crazy, right? You just have to go with it. Mickey locks Silence and Mary Darling in a room and when Silence refuses to eat with him decides to starve her until she comes to her senses. But instead she wins over his servants and quietly and calmly goes about her life as a captive, slyly doing things that get under his skin. Somewhere along the way they (surprise!) fall in love but it’s not an easy kind of love. Not at all. There is strife, drama and plenty of villainous action.

Mickey is thoroughly charming, especially with his Irish lilt, and I can easily see why Silence falls under his spell even though he seems to be so wrong for her, locking her up and starving her and all. But there’s just something about him . . .

"Ye were—are—the purest thing I've ever seen, me sweet."

We learn a lot about Mickey as the story moves along which made me like him even more. His past is heart-breaking and I understood why he became so attached to his treasure and detached from emotional entanglements. He did what was necessary to survive and his morals ended up twisted and skewed. I’d like to think that Silence’s love will be enough to keep him happy but I was unable to buy into it wholeheartedly. I’m unable to shut off that voice in my head that keeps whispering “he’s going to get bored”. I don’t know if the love of a good woman is enough to change a guy like this but maybe that’s just me.

Now before I start with my usual crabbery I just want to state that I enjoyed listening to this book. I was never bored and thought it was sensual, funny, tender and all that good stuff but it’s nowhere near a five star read for me. And it’s mostly because of Silence.

Oh Silence. I understand your love and protective feelings for baby Mary Darling, really I do. I’m not that cold. But what about all of the other children you so easily abandoned at the home for Unfortunate Infants and Foundling Children with nary a second thought to their welfare? Not to mention leaving Winter high and dry and withholding your whereabouts from family who LOVED you. Winter had to shoulder all of the worry and fear for the future of the children in his care, while you were having a grand time at the opera and feasting on Charming Mickey’s, eh, charms. This bothered me and came across as a bit thoughtless and selfish. Those aren’t good traits, me sweet. Those folks you left behind? Well, they better make you grovel when you finally remember they exist.

Narration Notes: Ashford McNab reads the dialogue with a lovely accent that immediately took me out of my world and plunked me down in historical London. She voiced Mickey with all the decadent, arrogant and irresistible charm worthy of such a devilish hero. She also did a fabulous job with Silence. I felt the desperation in her voice early on and her defiantly quiet manner came across with just the right tone that was pleasantly strong and never grating. The other characters were very distinctive especially the vicar. Shudder. His voice made my skin crawl as it should. My only minor complaint was that the narrative bits often verge on being too somber for my personal taste.

I’m thinking this may not be my top pick for The Armchair Audies but I have four more to go so we shall see . . .