Title: Brook Street: Thief (book one of Brook Street trilogy)
Author: Ava March
Cover Artist: n/a
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Regency/M/M Erotic Romance
Length: 40000 words
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: A wonderful historical novella about the meeting between Lord and Thief, and what came out of that meeting.
It was only supposed to be one night. One night to determine once and for all if he truly preferred men. But the last thing Lord Benjamin Parker expected to find in a questionable gambling hall in Cheapside is a gorgeous young man who steals his heart.
It was only supposed to be a job. Cavin Fox has done it many times-select a prime mark, distract him with lust, and leave his pockets empty. Yet when Cavin slips away under the cover of darkness, the only part of Benjamin he leaves untouched is his pockets.
With a taste of his fantasies fulfilled, Benjamin wants more than one night with Cavin. But convincing the elusive young man to give them a chance proves difficult. Cavin lives with a band of thieves in the worst area of London, and he knows there’s no place for him in a gentleman’s life. Yet Benjamin isn’t about to let Cavin-and love-continue to slip away from him.
For those of you who like this author, you probably know that Regency romances are her “brand” so to speak, or at least this is my impression based on three or four books by her that I have read so far. I think that this novella is another one of her well-written Regencies with extremely hot sex, but in my opinion sex in her stories is one of the main ways for her characters to communicate and to express the changes in the relationship and one of the reasons why I usually really enjoy their love making. It is passionate, it is beautiful, and it is smoking hot.
I really loved how Benjamin and Cavin met, mostly because, as the blurb tells us, Ben takes such a refreshing approach to the question of whether he prefers men in his bed or not. He decides to go find himself a man and find out and just accept whatever answer he will get. While I have no problem with the angst, especially in historical romances, I could also see and believe how practical Benjamin would decide that problem just needs to be solved and the answer would be accepted.
Yes, they are both instantly attracted to each other, something I don’t particularly care for, but here it was just so beautifully done that I was inclined to be a little bit more forgiving especially since the novella is on the shorter side and the author probably did not have much page space to develop slow attraction. As an aside, may I just say how relieved I was that considering my recent state of annoyance with how some writers describe the guys’ looks in flowery terms, that this writer did not go that road at all. Here is how Cavin is described when we see him through Ben’s eyes:
“He glanced right and meet deep blue eyes. Good God. The man more than matched that gorgeous voice. Dark blond hair with a trace of wave curled over his ears. Full lips tipped in the beginnings of a friendly smile. A slightly crooked nose that somehow fit his handsome face. A face that still held a bit of boyish beauty”.
I loved that description so very much, not the least because for me it does not have a slightest hint of purple prose in it.
I think what helped me be even more tolerant of the fast attraction between the guys is that despite that attraction, there are obstacles for them to overcome before they can be together. These obstacles are very believable and more internal than external and, as the blurb tells us, mostly arise because of Cavin’s life situation and him fighting his attraction to Benjamin, although it was all woven so nicely together. The writer wrote the story with a very light touch, but she managed to deal with couple of serious issues in connection with Cavin’s situation and simply write about those issues as relevant to the story and still make the story appear a light read.
As I said above, the sex was smoking hot and there was a lot of it, but there was no BDSM at all, which I was expecting since I have read her BDSM historical series. Although at the very end one of the guys promises to tie another to the bed, which is met with great enthusiasm, so who knows, maybe they will decide to explore it eventually…
Lastly, I thought that the happy ending was completely believable and for me it is always a challenge, especially in historical, to make happy ending appear not too stretched.
Brook Street: Thief is available from the publisher’s website and Amazon on March 19.