We had the pleasure of reading an advance copy and this is easily one of our favorite romances by L.H. Cosway. We were consumed by the brilliant slow-burn and smoldering student/teacher forbidden storyline with layers of uncontainable, explosive raw emotions and genuine heart.
Want to meet Stu and Andrea? Read a fantastic excerpt, one-click Thief of Hearts now, and enter to win a $25 gift card to celebrate this wonderful new release. Good Luck and Happy Reading!
Excerpt: Meet Stu and Andrea
“I better go see what’s bothering him,” I told Kian before making my way back over to Stu.
He lifted his gaze to mine, his dark brows drawn together in frustration. Letting out a gruff breath, he shoved the form across the table and stood from his seat.
“Fuck this shit,” he muttered under his breath then strode past me. What the hell? After several seconds a thought suddenly hit me. I felt like such an idiot. He said he hated filling out forms and all last week he hadn’t submitted any homework. I’d given him leeway because he was new and still settling in, but I should’ve seen the signs sooner. It was a very real possibility that Stu had trouble reading and writing.
Firming my resolve, I followed in the direction he’d gone, finding him outside the library lighting up a cigarette. He glanced at me, inhaled a drag, then leaned back against the wall. I folded my arms over my chest and met his gaze head-on.
“Care to explain what that was all about?”
He shook his head. “Not really.”
I studied him, trying to decide how to broach the subject. “Stu, if you have trouble with reading and writing, you only have to say the word and I’ll . . .”
He turned and glared at me. “I can read and write fine.” The bitterness in his voice told me he was lying, though whether it was to himself or me I couldn’t say. Judging from his defensiveness, I decided now wasn’t the time to push the matter. So, I’d put it on the back burner, but it was definitely something we needed to discuss soon if he was going to progress in the class.
I tried a different tack. “Is everything okay at home?”
He blew out some smoke. “Just rosy.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“I’m thirty years old, Andrea. My daddy isn’t beating on me, if that’s what you’re wondering,” he practically sneered.
I ignored his tone. For now. “Are you living with your parents?”
“Oh, Andrea. Fuck off.”
“Stu, I overlooked your language inside the library just now, but if you swear at me again I’ll have no other choice but to report your behaviour to the dean.”
He at least had the decency to look regretful. “Sorry. Look, it’s how I talk. I don’t mean anything by it.”
I sighed. “Well, try not to swear around me, okay? You might be thirty years old, but this is still school. You need to be respectful.”
“So, if you don’t live with your parents, where have you been staying?”
“With my brothers.”
“Oh, really?” I said, relieved he wasn’t all alone. “How many brothers do you have?”
“Three. Lee, Trevor, and Liam.”
“And you all live together?”
“Yeah. It’s a bit of a full house at the moment, actually. Lee’s missus, Karla, lives with us now, and then there’s our cousin, Sophie, and her son, Jonathan. Oh, and her foster daughter, Billie.”
“Wow, that really is a full house,” I said.
Stu nodded. “Tell me about it. I feel like I’m getting under everyone’s feet. They got used to me not being there, and now I’m back, taking up space.”
“I’m sure they don’t see it that way. They’re probably just happy to have you home and safe,” I said, sad for him. He’d been away for two years and things had changed. It must be difficult to feel like there wasn’t a place for you anymore.
“I’ve been looking into getting a place of my own, but everywhere in London’s so bloody pricey. And it’s a pain in the arse trying to find work when you’ve got a record. Lee has his own restaurant, and he’s offered me a job doing the books, but I dunno, feels like charity.”
I was surprised to hear his brother owned a restaurant, especially given Stu’s criminal history. Usually, crime ran in families, but not always. “The books?” I asked, impressed, especially considering my suspicions about his reading and writing. Perhaps things weren’t as bad as I thought. “Have you done accounting work before?”
He took the final drag of his smoke then stubbed it out with the toe of his boot. Sending me an arch look, he replied, “Sure, none of it technically legal though.”
Realisation hit me. So, by “the books” he meant cooking the books. I really hoped his brother’s restaurant wasn’t a front business for something more sinister. Stu must have read my mind because he went on, “Lee’s place is all above board. He’s given up the old life.”
“Ah, I see. And you?”
“What about me?”
“Have you given up the old life, too?”
It took him a few beats to answer. “Course I have.”
I wasn’t too sure I believed him. Stu let out a low chuckle. “You’ve got a very expressive face, Andrea. Like a fucking billboard.”
I pursed my lips at his persistent use of profanity and my first name. It felt like a losing battle. Still, his statement made me self-conscious as I glanced away. Was I really that transparent?
“You don’t believe I’ve given up thieving, and that’s okay. You’re right to be leery of me. I mean, look at me. If ever there was a shifty-looking geezer, it’s me. But listen, even if I wanted to get back into that racket, where would I find the time? I have to have perfect attendance on this course as part of my parole.”
“There are plenty of hours in the evening to be getting up to no good,” I said, placing my hands on my hips. Stu’s eyes glinted and a smirk shaped his hips. The innuendo in my statement hit me right after I said it.
“There sure are, Andrea,” he said, taking a step toward me. His eyes traced my form as his voice lowered a notch. “There sure are.”
I tugged on my shirt collar, warmth suffusing my cheeks. How could a man’s gaze seem so carnal, as if he was defiling me with just a look? Even worse, why did it both thrill and terrify me?
Thief of Hearts Synopsis and Purchase Button
Student/teacher standalone romance
Meet the cousin.
Make a deal.
Steal the painting.
Andrea Anderson has no clue of the thoughts churning around in the dark and dangerous ex-con’s head as he enters her classroom. In fact, she’s momentarily lost for words. Not in her entire teaching career has she had a student who looked quite like Stu Cross.
A widow at just twenty-eight, love is something Andie hasn’t considered a part of her life for a very long time. However, when lingering touches turn to whispered words and hot, searching stares, she begins to wonder if maybe she should take a leap of faith.
But Stu is in her class for a reason, and it has nothing to do with love. He’s there to burrow his way into her life and repay a debt, otherwise his family will suffer. Andie is the first person to show him true kindness since he left prison, and though he doesn’t want to mislead her, he doesn’t have another choice.
Before long, Stu can’t tell whether or not he’s acting anymore, and his feelings for Andie could throw all of his carefully crafted plans into complete and utter disarray.