THE KISS THIEF BY L.J. SHEN
Release Date: January 9th
Cover Designer: Letitia Hasser at RBA Designs.
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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.
Connect with L.J. Shen
What a story… which kept me turning frantically the pages on my kindle, addicted to Francesca’s journey, torn between her family and the monster who took her away from them.
In a blink of an eye, her future went from a sheltered life, protected by her powerful mobster family to a prison where she’d definitely be eaten alive. This wasn’t a fairytale, with this man on a revenge mission who’d do anything to destroy her father, by being his betrothed and making her the perfect toy to ruin their empire.
Ripped from her happily ever after with her childhood sweetheart, she had to live another reality, when she expected to be the perfect trophy wife in the outside, dull and obedient. But what the man who took her didn’t expect to find a spitfire, fierce personality underneath her beautiful features. And then everything became complicated and a bit out of control.
Wolfe was the powerful who forced Francesca’s father hand, by marrying her. Consumed by rage with a high level of vindictiveness generated by the Rossi’s family. First, taking their daughter, and blackmailing them, second to put his plan into effect. The ruthless, cold-hearted man, cruel who seemed to be the one in charge until he met her, challenging, a young woman who needed to be tamed and ruined by his own hands.
Going on a frenetic pace, when I’ve been holding my breath, a woman torn between two, holding hostage, being crushed constantly but never giving up. Foreplay fitted perfectly for these two, giving also sarcasm another meaning, what they shared went beyond smoking chemistry, it was incandescent, decadent, challenging in every ways. Nothing was gentle, sweet and nice, it was quite the opposite with a strong hint of sexual tension in the air. They could put in room on fire, without doing anything. And when they did… it was mind-blowing.
What happened behind closed doors was a nightmare to Francesca, who never failed to surprise her husband to be, not afraid to bring the bad out of the wolf, like a sick game they both thrived on, putting on each other’s nerves.
She was going to learn the hard way that making him feel and warming his cold heart would be her undoing.
Throughout the story, we’d see two strangers at war with one another, when all means necessary to take anyone down was justified until it wasn’t.
Damn that man was mean and always having the upper hand, finding her weaknesses, using them against her but I appreciated how she could stand on her own, playing with fire but finding in the miserable life she had to live some perks. To push him and challenging him like no other.
The Kiss Thief started as a story of hate, very provocative and also no sparing the reader, when the characters gave it all, through the good and the bad times. They tore each other apart and the old age policy of divide and rule would be their downfall.
A gripping and passionate story that blew me away. A lot of twists and turns that drove me insane, when the ultimate objective wasn’t to win the war but being able to keep and fight for what they had, until their hearts were cut to pieces but always finding a way to heal. Together.
The author truly made this a page turner. Book Hangover!!