ARC Review: Steal Me by Lauren Layne

★ ★ ★ ★ 4 happy stars!

Ever since I read BROKEN (read my review here), I kept an eye and an ear out for anything new by Lauren Layne. BROKEN wasn't that kind of epic romance that would crush me, torture me emotionally or give me a mental complex. It was just the right kind of chill read. From that book, and the second standalone book in that series entitled CRUSHED, I deduced that Lauren Layne books are really very easy to read. They're not pretentious. They don't promise sweeping, emotional storylines, only to fall short halfway through. Her stories are straightforward. Quite predictable, yes, but there's pleasure in knowing that the H and h I'm rooting for will undeniably get together in the end. Best of all, Lauren Layne's writing doesn't bore me.

So, I went into STEAL ME with those expectations, and I wasn't off the mark. This is a laid-back read that had me smiling, laughing, and enjoying a fluttery feeling in my gut after reading the last paragraph. I imagine fast readers can finish this in one afternoon. It really is a chill read, one that I can easily enjoy after a stressful week at work.

Anthony Moretti is portrayed as this stern and ambitious, newly-made Captain of the NYPD. His sole ambition is to follow in his father's footsteps and eventually become Police Commissioner. Not that his brothers, Luc and Vincent, value their careers in the Police Force any less than him; but it is Anthony who is really focused on the career path he wants to take.

Now in comes Maggie Walker, the new waitress at the diner where the Moretti family takes brunch every Sunday. Apparently she is such a clutz around Anthony--and funnily enough, only around Anthony. She almost always ends up dumping whatever drink and food she's holding on his lap, on his shoes, on his shirt...haha! He frazzles her, and the Moretti family finds this hilarious. They take her side, too, whenever Anthony loses his patience and snaps at her.

The thing is, Maggie is not at all a shy and meek little lady. She has gone through a lot. She was once married to a verbally abusive and cheating man. Her brother and father are leeches who only contact her when they need money. She just wanted to have a new start and anothe shot at everything she's missing in life.

The romance plot branches out to a high-profile theft case that Anthony is working on. He finds out soon enough that the perpetrator has a connection with Maggie. It doesn't go on the typical route of "must protect the witness". The bigger issue here is Anthony's reluctance to be anything more than "police captain". He doesn't believe that he can be a boyfriend, all the more a husband, if he were to become Police Commissioner. This is due to his tragic experience with his last relationship. Honestly, he annoyed the heck out of me when this mentality kicked in. He put Maggie on second priority a couple of times, and I wanted him to do major grovelling before the book was over!

One of the best parts of this book is the Moretti family, really. They may be secondary characters but they are very effective at helping keep the story going. They contributed a lot to the progress of the romance. The humor they bring to the table is also just right to give life to the story... and also tease readers for the next Moretti book: Vincent's!

I recommend STEAL ME if you just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy a light read.. with just a smidgen of crime plot twist to make things more interesting.

Buy Links

My thanks to the Forever (Grand Central Publishing) for the ARC via NetGalley!



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