Updated: Apr 16
Everything was going well for Lady Hero Batten until she finds herself attracted to her fiancé’s scandalous brother. Pretty soon they cannot keep their hands off each other. Griffin Reading knows he needs to stay away from Lady Hero but after one taste he cannot get enough. We’re heading down Maiden Lane with Elizabeth Hoyt’s second book in the series, Notorious Pleasures. **St. Giles is filled with gin and SPOILERS**
Grab your copy of the book we read today, Notorious Pleasures by Elizabeth Hoyt!
Want to listen to a certain segment? Here is our outline this week:
0:00 - 11:05: Intro/History Fact
11:05 - 22:25: Synopsis
22:25 - 24:04: Parlour
24:04 - 58:33: General Discussion
To learn more about the history of gin during the Georgian and Regency eras, visit Diffords Guide, the source we quoted for today's History Fact.
We include our synopses as a semi-transcription of the episode in our blog posts. You can learn more about how we compose these by reading this article. As a reminder though, our synopses are FULL of spoilers. Read ahead at your own risk :)
Notorious Pleasures Synopsis:
Lord Griffin reading is having a great time until he gets an earring thrown at him by a disapproving miss who is trying to warn him that his current paramour’s husband is coming their way.
Griffin is interested in this self righteous lady and dubs her her Lady Perfect. He is the estranged brother of the Marquess of Mandeville come to his brother’s ball at his mother’s request, since he and his brother do not get on.
It turns out that Lady Perfect, is Lady Hero Batten and has just been announced as his soon to be sister-in-law. Griffin then proceeds to dance with her and tease her ruthlessly.
Griffin and his brother Thomas are estranged and everyone believes it is because Griffin seduced his brother’s first wife who then died in childbirth. Which Lady Hero finds out after her Cousin Bathilda tells her she should not be seen in such bad company.
Griffin is rarely in town, so the rumors have taken on a life of their own. Little does anyone know that he is the reason the Reading coffers are no longer in dire straights.
In fact, even his own brother does not know that Griffin has made the family fortune viable again by becoming one of the biggest Gin distillers in London. Something that Hero’s brother, the Duke of Wakefield is strongly against and is doing everything in his power to shut down the gin industry.
After a night of checking in on his gin still Griffin finds Lady Hero entering her carriage in the middle of St. Giles. She had just been to visit the Home for the Unfortunate Infants and Founding Children. They are currently in temporary housing until their new home can be built. A sore spot for Lady Hero who has taken her duties as patroness very seriously.
Griffin blackmails Hero into spending more time with him. She’ll have him escort her into St. Giles or he will tell her brother and his that she regularly ventures into St. Giles on her own.
It turns out Lord Giffin is not what Hero supposes. He helps her find an architect to look over what is happening with her building project that is woefully behind.
Incident in the pleasure gardens when Thomas leaves Hero to speak to his ex mistress, so she is wandering alone. Griffin sees this and is furious at his brother for leaving her alone. He goes to get her but in the heat of the moment and growing attraction, he kisses Hero.
The next day Griffin accompanies Hero to his architect friend who delivers bad news about the progress of the Home’s rebuilding. He surprises Hero and himself by offering to loan her money for the construction of the new home since her fellow Patroness is on the continent and Hero does not have the necessary funds at her disposal. She turns him down but is intrigued by his kindness.
However on the way home, Hero finds out Griffin is making Gin. The root of all evil in London and something her brother, the Duke, is on a mission to put and end to.
They part unhappily, but life goes on. Chatting with her family, Hero’s sister Phoebe, comes up with a plan to get funds for the home. A Ladies syndicate
Still disturbed by the thought of Griffin involved with something so sordid as gin, Hero tries to get Griffin to give up Gin making but he is convinced it is the best way to meet his family’s needs.
They get into a row and it ends with Hero in his lap and him kissing her and undoing her bodice.
We get an encounter as he asks her to touch him and by touch him he means touch his cock and get him off.
Things are then very awkward when the carriage slows and Hero realizes that Griffin’s brother, her fiance is supposed to come to lunch.
Things go well with lunch but Hero vows to put distance between her and Griffin.
That plan is quickly unraveled, when he and his sister arrive to take Hero and Phoebe shopping. The shopping trip is uneventful, Griffin learns of Hero’s plan to create a Ladies Syndicate, they bond of books written in Greek, and after an incident with Phoebe, Griffin learns the poor girl is going blind.
That night with much to think about, Griffin’s distillery is attacked by the competition. Before that attack, his partner Nick mentioned how his family used to spin and that could be a lucrative, legal venture should Griffin decide to turn away from Gin completely.
The next morning after the attack on the still, Griffin is interrupted in his bath by none other than Lady Hero. She had heard of a gin still burning and had been so worried, she had come to see if Griffin was alright. Well as you can imagine this leads to an encounter. Griffin first goes down on Hero and then they shortly go the rest of the way.
Afterward Hero rushes out. Griffin tells her to marry him instead of his brother, but Hero is not convinced that is wise.
Sadly she gets no reprieve because Griffin finds her at the ball she is attending that evening.
First they argue in the garden and then they fuck in a room down the hall. You know. Romance novel stuff.
Then things get interesting because it turns out Maximus, Hero’s brother the duke, has learned that Griffin is distilling Gin. Hero asks that he not touch Griffin, which is how her brother learns that there is something more between them.
The next day, Hero cannot stop thinking of Griffin, so she shows up at his door and we have another encounter. Griffin’s partner Nick was killed the night before so when Hero shows up at his door, Griffin needs her.
“You and I,” he panted, “are special. This isn’t like what everyone else does. It isn’t like anything I’ve ever had before. We are unique together.” “That can’t be,” she said stubbornly, even as her slim fingers gripped his buttocks. “It is,” he said against her mouth. Why wouldn’t she believe him? Why this denial of something nearly mystical? “Listen to me. I will never have another lover like you. You will never have another lover like me. What we have should be cared for and cherished.”
The next day, Hero tells Thomas that she cannot marry him because she slept with his brother. He is furious and actually strikes her.
It just so happens that Griffin had come to his brother’s house and sees that his brother struck Hero.
He goes berserk and attacks his brother until Hero gets him to stop. He tries to go to her but she runs.
She goes to her brother who is bound to know what happened and it turns out, her brother has decided to force her hand. He tells her if she does not what him to duel Griffin or have him arrested, she will have to marry Thomas. End of story.
Griffin, trying to do the right thing, even goes to Hero’s brother, where he is informed that the Duke has decided she will marry his brother on Sunday.
“We seem to be under a confusion of communication. I did not come here to ask for your sister’s hand. I came to tell you I will marry Hero, with or without your permission, Your Grace. She has lain with me more than once. She may well be carrying my child. And if you think that I’ll give up either her or our babe, you have not done nearly enough research into my character or history.”
Griffin goes to seek out his brother. They have their long over due heart to heart.
They rehash everything that has gone on but Thomas is so preoccupied with who he thinks his brother is that he doesn’t hear the words. Even after Griffin tells him that he loves Hero, Thomas still refused to back out of the marriage.
The night Griffin sneaks into Hero’s room. He tells her he loves her and tries to get her to go against her brother’s wishes. She asks him to again give up the still but since Nick’s death, Griffin needs to have his vengeance on his enemies.
They make love twice. Griffin telling her how much he loves her but Hero will not say she loves him back. She wakes up the next morning and he is gone, leaving the earring she threw at him on their first meeting. An acknowledgment that he is not returning if she stays on her chosen path.
Now, some conversations happen but the biggest thing you need to know is this.
Griffin’s enemies attack and Maximus’s men come to arrest Griffin. There is a battle and Hero, hearing all of this makes her way there to make sure her brother does not arrest him.
Griffin is not happy to see Hero endangering herself but she tells him she loves him and she’ll marry him. Regardless of what her brother says. This is perfect timing because Griffin then gives the signal to blow up his still to help deliver a devastating blow to his enemies. So now he cannot be arrested for having a still.
Six weeks later: Hero and Griffin are married and Thomas has married his former mistress whom he actually loves but did not think was a good fit for a marchioness. He decided to put his stuffiness behind him in the name of love. He and Griffin have an actual heart to heart. Hero and Griffin live happily ever after.
Epilogue sets up book number 3! Which we will get to soon...