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Our Review

‘I was born into a gilded cage. It was spacious, but locked, nonetheless. Trying to escape it was risking death.’

We have to say that we have a real weakness for mafia anti-hero books and that’s how we first fell in love with LJ Shen after reading Sparrow. She has such a knack for writing a compelling and gritty romance set in this world and once again we were riveted whilst we fell down the rabbit hole with the ‘Villain’ – Wolfe Keaton and ‘Nemesis’ – Francesca Rossi. It was raw, it was dirty, it was tragic and it was uncomfortable. Yet, it was also beautiful, romantic with a sense of vulnerability. Deception, vengeance, and redemption written with real flair. The Kiss Thief is intense, riddled with angst and so very passionate. The captivating writing, the complex characters and the emotionally raw story is why we love when LJ Shen writes mafia romance!

“I’m asking you to trust me.”
“Why should I trust you?”
“Because if you stop trusting, you’ll end up like me, and that’s a miserable existence.”

Naïve, sweet but with a wicked rebellious streak, nineteen year old Francesca is living a life pre-determined by her parents. A mafia princess waiting to learn her fate, which is not of her choosing. There’s so much more to her than what first meets the eye. This girl has a real inner strength and an unrivalled determination. She is nineteen and acts nineteen until situations beyond her control demands her to grow up, which she does somewhat in defiance. It all begins when she gives her first kiss willingly then finding out it was stolen by the wrong man at a masquerade ball. Francesca thought she’d end up in the arms of the boy she’s loved since forever, however these are not the cards dealt by her father. We loved her resilience, her spirit and her attitude and we revelled in her romantic heart.

‘I sucked in a breath, realizing for the first time what we were. A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending. Where the prince doesn’t save the princess. He tortures her. And the beauty doesn’t sleep. She’s stuck. In a nightmare.’

The day of reckoning; the vengeance-seeking man whose life has seen nothing but tragic heartbreak, is here. Heartbreak which has turned his heart dark as can be, his soul cold and arrogant whilst hell bent on revenge. This enigmatic arsehole is so smooth and his velvet tongue can feel as sharp as barbed wire. We just knew, though, that underneath his dark demeanour lay a wounded heart and soul. He did make us work for it as he did Francesca.

‘He turned around to face me. “No love is fully requited. No love is equal. No love is fair. There is always one side that loves more. And you better not be that side – because it suffers.”

We loved The Kiss Thief, the characters had such depth, the story was fierce and the romance slow building with intoxicating intensity and passion. There’s a fine line between love and hate and that line is not always obvious to the naked eye. Love can surprise you and come from an unexpected place; once you’ve crossed that invisible line there’s no coming back from it.

‘Break. Crack. Feel me. Accept me.’


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.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

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