The book that started it all.
"I rarely feel anything. But like the legless man, I'm unaccountably fascinated by those who can dance."
Our hero Lazarus started off the darkly mysterious, darkly intriguing, and darkly sexy man often found in romance. What distances him and makes him better than a lot was his layered personality of cool waters run deep and vulnerable and passionate soul. He was perfectly matched with our heroine Temperance with her mixture of kind spirit and desirous heart. As Lazarus searches for a murderer with Temperance's help, they poke and prod each other to break down the other's walls.
Above her, he moaned. "Please." Oh, to hear him beg. There was something in her, something wicked and base that lapped up that plea in his voice.
This is one hot potato book. It leans a little heavier on the sexual and steamy side of historical romance but never felt salacious. The sex scenes are quite descriptive but I would argue that the emotion between the two is what makes them hot. And ok, maybe the dirty talk, voyeurism, and neckties ;)
Knowing that she could be herself---all of herself---and he would not turn away.
When you first start reading this, you're going to think this is mainly Lazarus' story but a little more than halfway through, I realized this felt more like Temperance's story. Her guilt, self-punishing, joys, feelings, strengths, and weaknesses are all on display and as the reader, I was right there with her feeling them all. Again, she is a woman of her time, dealing with societal pressures of what is "proper" for women sexually. Through Lazarus' love and strength helping to bolster her own, she really comes into her own.
The secondary characters are numerous with Temperance's brothers and sisters, aristocrats, and a "ghost". This truly felt like an assemble piece but with Lazarus and Temperance getting the spotlight (Silence, Temperance's sister, edges in too with her own side story). Knowing this is book one, of currently eleven, I have it on good authority more than a few of the characters seen here get to shine under their own spotlight eventually. This was just a great all around story and I see why this series is still going strong.