THE KISS THIEF BY L.J. SHEN
Release Date: January 9th
Cover Designer: Letitia Hasser at RBA Designs.
L.J. Shen is the QUEEN of anti-hero characters who turn out to have a heart of gold. She is one of the authors who has written a couple of my most favorite books that I have ever read. Midnight Blue and Bane were so so good and forever made Shen an auto-buy author for me. I was so intrigued by the blurb for The Kiss Thief and I knew it was going to be different than I have ever read.
This was a book that definitely pushed my boundaries and sometimes made me uncomfortable because I just wanted things to go the way I wanted them. Shen definitely writes some unexpected scenes, which is something that I love about her. This was a very well written book and I fell in love with the characters. I feel like it definitely had some Beauty and the Beast vibes for me.
Wolfe Keaton. What a powerful, intense, broody male character who doesn’t take no for an answer. He really is infuriating at times, but I can’t help but love him. Due to his past experience with Francesca’s family, he goes to extreme measures to save Francesca. I was always guessing what Wolfe was going to do next and how his story would play out. He had ulterior motives for his ulterior motives. He was definitely not a man anyone wanted to mess with.
Francesca has lived a sheltered life full of etiquette classes, strong Catholic values, and all girls boarding schools. Despite this, she carries herself like a First Lady and has an inner strength that one needs when born into the family she was born into. She challenged Wolfe and made him see things that he was blinded to due to his vengeance. I was in shock of the measures that Francesca would go to to make Wolfe see her for who she is and not for the father she was sired from.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5 Stars!
One thing I love about L.J. Shen is the fact that she can the biggest a-hole of a man, and turn him into someone that I absolutely end up loving and adoring. I always go into her books knowing her “hero” is going to being a big alpha jerk, and that he’s going to make me incredibly angry, while at the same time running off with my heart. Wolfe Keaton was no exception to this rule.
From the very first pages of The Kiss Thief I was completely intrigued and drawn into the story. The cover convinced me to read the book, and Leigh’s words caused me to stay. Written in her classic no holds bar style, this book left me completely wiped in the best way possible. The Kiss Thief first introduces us to Francesca, who seems like she is a bit weak after living a rather sheltered life. Her family runs the mob, and what her father says goes, and she has very little opinions of her own. With her family’s influences, she has set her heart on marrying Angelo Bandini, but one fateful kiss from Wolfe Keaton changes the course of her life forever. As the book progresses, the reader sees Francesca coming into her own, and taking a power that she never realized that she was capable of. The push and pull she has with Wolfe helps to bring the story full circle, and I was captivated and intrigued as I sat on the edge of my seat reading the entire time.
The Kiss Thief is much more than what we typically get from L.J. Shen. Not only is it an exquisite, but deeply maddening love story, but it is also a book full of danger and retribution. Each action that happens in the story is full of consequences, and I was never completely sure as to what direction I was going. This book gardners the reader’s attention, and pushes Shen’s talent for writing to the very max. It shows a growth in her writing that has been slowly coming over the past year, and proved why her books fly off the shelves and up the Amazon ranks. Her books and characters are all consuming, and The Kiss Thief is no exception. If you read only one book this year, I highly recommend it be The Kiss Thief.
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They say your first kiss should be earned.
Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.
They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.
Mine were broken before we left church.
They say your heart only beats for one man.
Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.
I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.
Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.
They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.
I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.
And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.
“Are you sure you’re on my card?” I turned to the man with a polite yet distant smile. I was still disoriented from the exchange with Angelo when the stranger pulled me against his hard body and pressed a possessive hand lower than socially acceptable on my back, a second from groping my butt.
“Answer me,” I hissed.
“My bid on your card was the highest,” he replied dryly.
“The bids are undisclosed. You don’t know how much other people have paid,” I kept my lips pursed to keep myself from yelling.
“I know it’s nowhere near the realm of what this dance is worth.”
We began to waltz around the room as other couples were not only spinning and mingling but also stealing envious glances at us. Naked, raw ogles that told me that whomever the blonde he’d come to the masquerade with was, she wasn’t his wife. And that I might have been all the rage in The Outfit, but the rude man was in high demand, too.
I was stiff and cold in his arms, but he didn’t seem to notice—or mind. He knew how to waltz better than most men, but he was technical, and lacked warmth and Angelo’s playfulness.
“Nemesis.” He took me by surprise, his rapacious gaze stripping me bare. “Distributing glee and dealing misery. Seems at odds with the submissive girl who entertained Bishop and his horsey wife at the table.”
I choked on my own saliva. Did he just call the governor’s wife horsey? And me submissive? I looked away, ignoring the addictive scent of his cologne, and the way his marble body felt against mine.
“Nemesis is my spirit animal. She was the one to lure Narcissus to a pool where he saw his own reflection and died of vanity. Pride is a terrible illness.” I flashed him a taunting smirk.
“Some of us could use catching it.” He bared his straight white teeth.
“Arrogance is a disease. Compassion is the cure. Most gods didn’t like Nemesis, but that’s because she had a backbone.”
“Do you?” He arched a dark eyebrow.
“Do I…?” I blinked, the courteous grin on my face crumpling. He was even ruder when we were alone.
“Have a backbone,” he provided. He stared at me so boldly and intimately, it felt like he breathed fire into my soul. I wanted to step out of his touch and jump into a pool full of ice.
“Of course, I do,” I responded, my spine stiffening. “What’s with the manners? Were you raised by wild coyotes?”
“Give me an example,” he said, ignoring my quip. I was beginning to draw away from him, but he jerked me back into his arms. The glitzy ballroom distorted into a backdrop, and even though I was starting to notice that the man behind the demi-mask was unusually beautiful, the ugliness of his behavior was the only thing that stood out.
I am a warrior and a lady…and a sane person who can deal with this horrid man.
“I really like Angelo Bandini.” I dropped my voice, slicing my gaze from his eyes and toward the table where Angelo’s family had been seated. My father was sitting a few seats away, staring at us coldly, surrounded by Made Men who chatted away.
“And see, in my family, we have a tradition dating back ten generations. Prior to her wedding, a Rossi bride is to open a wooden chest—carved and made by a witch who lived in my ancestors’ Italian village—and read three notes written to her by the last Rossi girl to marry. It’s kind of a good luck charm mixed with a talisman and a bit of fortunetelling. I stole the chest tonight and opened one of the notes, all so I could rush fate. It said that tonight I was going to be kissed by the love of my life, and well…” I drew my lower lip into my mouth and sucked it, peering under my eyelashes at Angelo’s empty seat. The man stared at me stoically, as though I was a foreign film he couldn’t understand. “I’m going to kiss him tonight.”
“That’s your backbone?”
“When I have an ambition, I go for it.”
A conceited frown crinkled his mask, as if to say I was a complete and utter moron. I looked him straight in the eye. My father taught me that the best way to deal with men like him was to confront, not run. Because, this man? He’d chase.
About the Author
L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat.
Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards.
She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed.
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