A beautiful contemporary romance that toes the line of forbidden love with a wonderful blend of hope, lust, love and angst.
Andrea Anderson loves teaching, she’s fueled by the knowledge that she’s able to make a difference in people’s lives, the last thing on her mind is searching for love, especially not in the classroom and not after becoming a widow at such a young age. But all that changes when bad boy Stu Cross enters her classroom filling it with sexiness directed towards her and vibrancy and chemistry she’ll find difficult to ignore.
“If you go around living your life indifferent to new experiences, you’re going to have a grey life. Wouldn’t you prefer it to be a rainbow?”
Stu Cross had done his time and is ready to live his life on the straight and narrow, except he’s still in debt with a dangerous man who’s threatened his family if he doesn’t come through with a job only the unsuspecting Andie can help him with. After getting to know her sweet kindness and feel the connection developing between them, can he continue to mislead her in order to keep his family safe or will he tell her the truth? Can they find a way out of the tangled mess?
““Even when you’ve given up on yourself, I won’t give up on you.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, L. H. Cosway is a brilliant storyteller, skilled at creating complex characters in interesting and original settings that hook you and keep you invested throughout the story. I love it when I get to meet well developed characters who at first glance might seem completely at odds with each other and as the story unfolds they connect in the most wonderful ways helping the other and together finding happiness they didn’t imagine and never would have achieved otherwise.
“Nobody’s ever seen me like you do,” Stu went on whispering now. “Not even my brothers.”
“You see me, too,” I replied, my voice shaky. “Like no one else does. What you just said means everything.”
Andie is this incredibly caring person who chooses to pursue a career in which she can make a difference even while in debt instead of an empty, unfulfilling one where she could be rid of financial worries. I wish she were real or based on a real person because the world needs people like her, with sweet and soft hearts to assuage humanity’s sharp and dark edges. She’s also very relateable because she’s flawed, she avoids and escapes difficult situations.
“Stu Cross made me feel alive. So much so that it took him coming into my life to make me realise I hadn’t been living. I’d been imprisoned in the past, hiding behind a future that was lost to me.”
I had wanted a happy, happy ending for Stu for a while now and am so glad he finally did. He has a great heart behind the sharp edges. There were times when I felt his story was in some ways similar to one of my all-time favorite movies, Good Will Hunting. I could so clearly picture him being so gifted in Math with so many possibilities for him if only given the right push. I also loved that he would do anything to protect his family. Mostly though, I enjoyed the attraction between Andie and Stu and the edge of their forbidden romance that made for a delicious slow burn and kept me hooked.
“People like you give people like me a soft place to fall. Otherwise we’d just be cold and hard. That’s how I was before I met you.”
However this story isn’t just a romance between a teacher and his student, it’s also about an art caper with interesting twists and turns in which other interesting characters are involved. Andie’s artist cousin Alfie plays an interesting role in the plot. I particularly enjoyed the parts where L.H. describes his paintings with so much detail I could almost swear I’ve seen them in art gallery or museum somewhere.
Every character from Andie, Stu, Alfie to Andie’s students where interesting, but I especially appreciated the time spent with the Cross family. They are one happy bunch. I can’t wait to meet all of them.
Thief of Hearts is book #5 in the Hearts series by L.H. Cosway. It’s a standalone, contemporary romance with slow burn sexiness, clever twists and touching moments. It can be read as a standalone
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via Wordsmith. The excerpts are from that copy. *