Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt

Notorious Pleasures - Elizabeth Hoyt

The heroine of the story Lady Hero, the new benefactor of the orphanage, is a perfect sister and a lady. She also has a perfect fiance - a wealthy marquis, who unfortunately has quite an imperfect brother.
Lord Griffin Reading is a rake. He loves drinking and women and there's a rumour that he seduced his brother's late wife. Hero and Griffin don't like each other at all, but when Griffin finds out that Hero visits slums without telling her fiance or her brother, he makes her promise to go to the orphanage only accompanied by him. The more time they spend together, the more they realized that first impressions are not always right. Hero only pretends to be perfect and Griffin has spent years trying to restore his family's fortune, so that his mother, sisters and brother (yes, the wealthy marquis) could live in comfort.

The story begins with a wicked scene and continues with an amusing hate-lust-love relationship, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The book had a good flow, so when the chapter ended, I wanted to know what was going to happen next. The background story (making gin and problems this drink caused) gave the book a haunting and really sad feel. It also made Griffin Reading more real because the the choices he had to make, these weren't easy. He was loyal, charming and was almost from the beginning ready for commitment. Not very common in romance novels. His banter with Hero made the story lighter giving it balance.
I loved Hero's views and choices. Yes, there was a moment when she was utterly annoying, but her heart was in a right place. It was understandable, why she wasn't ready to fight with her brother. The consequences would have been quite devastating for the main couple.
The side characters weren't as formed as in the first story. I wanted more about Lavinia. She was such a fascinating woman and her relationship with Thomas intrigued me a lot.

Actually, this is two stories in one book deal, because at the beginning of each chapter, there is a small part of a fairy tale. So, after you have finished the book, you have read a hot historical romance and a cute fairy tale as well.