Steal the Light (Thieves #1) by Lexi Blake
Rating: 4 Stars
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment
Genre: UF/Paranormal Romance
Tags: UF, Paranormal, Humour, Action, Contemporary Setting, Love Triangle, Series
Length: 289 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
When dealing with demons, the devil’s in the details…
Stealing mystical and arcane artifacts is a dangerous business, especially for a human, but Zoey Wharton is an exceptional thief. The trick to staying alive is having friends in all the wrong places. While having a witch and a werewolf on the payroll helps, being partners with a vampire really opens doors.
Zoey and Daniel were childhood sweethearts until a violent car crash took his life and left her shattered. When Daniel returned from the grave as a vampire, his only interest in Zoey was in keeping her safely apart from the secrets of his dark world. He has vowed to protect her, but his heart seems as cold as the night he calls home.
Five years later, a mysterious new client named Lucas Halfer offers Zoey a fortune to steal the Light of Alhorra. The search for the Light leads Zoey into the arms of an earthbound faery prince. Devinshea Quinn sweeps her off her feet, showing her everything the supernatural world has to offer, but Daniel still calls to her heart.
As the true nature of the Light is revealed, Zoey discovers Halfer is a demon and much more than money is at stake. Per her contract, she must give him the Light or spend an eternity in Hell. What’s a girl to do except fight for her soul…and her heart.
The prologue of Steal the Light really sets up the depth of feelings Zoey Wharton has for her fiancé. Daniel Donovan has been Zoey’s best friend, her only love/lover and now he’s deceased. She is at the morgue waiting to identify him and is shattered. Her turbulent relationship with her father, who took Daniel in and loved him like a son, does not help. Everything is written so realistically and with so much emotion you feel how intensely Zoey feels like the bottom has dropped out of her entire world, which sets up the book really well.
Chapter 1 jumps five years post prologue and Daniel Donovan is back, has been for a couple of years – he’s a vampire on Zoey’s procuring crew, meaning thieves of supernatural artefacts – along with a werewolf, Neil, and a witch, Sally. Back to the whole suddenly Daniel is risen as a vampire thing. Vampires aren’t bitten and turned in this world, they have a gene that is triggered by death, and Daniel died in a car accident. After time spent away at mandatory Vampire Camp, or the Vampire Council as it’s actually known, Daniel came back to Zoey looking the same but now he’s incredibly brooding and guarded. He won’t touch her anymore and Zoey wants her Daniel again. He calls to her body and mind but he’s not having it, not that Zoey can see. He now has the whole I am a monster thing down fairly pat. The night Daniel rose from the dead he turned up at Zoey’s home where they made love, including exchange of blood, then Daniel was dragged away for three years to Paris where the Vampire Council is located.
So there’s love and romance: Zoey is tired of waiting for Daniel to want her like he used to love and want her. The reader knows he craves her but he won’t show it, she can’t stand the distance and secrecy and the visits to a local paranormal club catering to sex and feeding, so eventually Zoey gets a blind date courtesy of some old friends. Enter Devinshea Quinn. Dev is a fae with some magic issues – he tends to overuse it and with, uh, interesting consequences at times. His father was a Green Man and Dev is a fertility fae. He is an outcast from Faery but he is wealthy and the owner of the hottest paranormal club in town, Ether. He’s light and bright, open and available, so he’s the anti-Daniel. He wants Zoey and lets her know he wants her for keeps, not just a fling. Zoey is an emotional connection girl and doesn’t fool around and Dev’s upfront attitude appeals… but Daniel… Daniel Donovan. A love triangle develops over the course of the book, Daniel generally has the inside running because Zoey truly, madly, deeply loves him. However, as information that Daniel has never shared comes out, it’s getting harder for Zoey to reconcile this new vampire Daniel with her one time fiancé. One thing is for sure, Daniel is no ordinary vampire. Dev is there for Zoey and is prepared to take her in spite of her love for Daniel but he is no pushover. At times I felt for him but he knew what he was getting into and he’s a very patient man. There main point is there’s chemistry to burn with these characters and there’s not much better than good characters and the emotions they elicit.
He was standing there in the middle of the mayhem, with his shirt ripped and his formerly perfect hair a glorious mess. A cut bled slightly on his bicep, and his lip was a little swollen. He looked really delicious, and I was the girl who destroyed his club on our first date. I should have at least had the courtesy to wait until the third or fourth date before unleashing destruction on him.
There’s paranormal action: Lucas Halfer contracts Zoey and her team to steal the Light of Alhorra, a fae artefact – a box. He’s paying one million for the deal, for the Light to be handed over to him, with half up front half on completion. The amount of money allows Halfer to slip under Zoey’s usual vetting process and checks and balances which means big trouble. Halfer is a doubt demon and humans are full of doubts, you don’t need to be in Hell to feel some of the mind games he can cause a person when and if he likes. Once you agree to a deal with a demon your soul is on the line so Zoey tries to end the contract but circumstances and people back her into a corner. The job has to be done and she feels like she is responsible for everyone getting out alive. If Zoey fails she will be living on the Hell plane with Halfer, actually Brixalnax, as her master.
Upon finding himself suddenly in a protective circle not of his choosing, the demon promptly discovers he’s become some human’s bitch. That’s the powerful part. The dangerous part is when the demon breaks the circle, and the demon always, always, always breaks the circle.
I won’t go into more plot but Steal the Light is an action packed and romantic UF/paranormal read with strong contemporary world building, laugh out loud humour, a nice sprinkling of ‘sexy’, and, most importantly, some fantastic primary characters, even secondary’s pack a punch. The writing is well paced, the dialogue quick and snarky and on point, the inner thoughts and personal dilemmas never drown the action or the mood of the book, but it still has depth. Everything is written in the most entertaining of manners and while I’m not much of a series reader I’m keen to keep reading this one. I’ve read every single book Lexi Blake has written under her other pen name, Sophie Oak, and three of my favourite characters appear in the Texas Sirens series, Jack Barnes, Sam Fleetwood and Abby Moore (Barnes-Fleetwood.) I have a sneaking suspicion we may be heading down a paranormal (kind of) version of these three, and I really, really hope so but they are huge shoes to fill – I’ve read Small Town Siren and Siren in the City countless times, too many times to try to guess. They’re my comfort reads and my comfort characters. If it does head toward ménage there is no one better to steer it there.
This book is skilled writing from an author who knows her way around a polished contemporary romance novel and deserves as wide a reading as is possible. Zoey is a strong character in her own right, made even stronger by her friendships and complex relationships with those who love her and she loves in return. Even those who cause issues and want Zoey dead or in Hell make for a far better story. I’m impressed with Ms Blake’s take on a contemporary paranormal/UF world this time. While a romance book at heart a very good and intriguing UF world has been created, the (already good) depth was mounting, the characters developing throughout. It’s a fantastic hybrid of what I like from these genres. The love triangle is fun and I’d be mighty happy to have two gorgeous guys willing to go to Hell and back for me. Bring on Steal the Day, may it be awesome. 4 Stars!
“I’m so sorry, Zoey.” He shook his head and his eyes cleared. “I didn’t want you to see me like that.”
I ignored him because I didn’t have time for his undead angst. I could have told him I didn’t care what he did as long as he was alive. I would have gutted all five men myself if it would have spared him a moment’s pain. I took silent satisfaction in the fact that he was alive and they were not.