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Kayli Winchester is a dirt-poor girl living out of a hotel, forced to be the parent for a drunken father and teenage brother who she’s desperate to keep in school. The only way she scrapes by is to utilize her one skill: pickpocketing. But even though she’s a thief she has a moral code: no kids or old ladies, only targets who can defend themselves. Not that they see her coming…
Thinking she’s been working under the radar, Kayli has no idea The Academy has been watching and taking notice. Now a team that needs her skill has offered her a way out of her predicament and it’s her last chance: work with them, or face jail time. Kayli resists at first, but slowly the boys reveal they can be trusted. With Marc, the straight man, Raven, the bad-boy Russian, Corey and Brandon the twins as different as night and day, and Axel their stoic leader, there’s a lot Kayli can learn from these Academy guys about living on the edge of the law. If only she can stay on the good side instead of the bad.
Especially when the job they offer her is more than any of them bargained for. After it’s done, the hunters have become the hunted and their target is now after Kayli. The Academy boys do their best to keep her hidden, but a thief like Kayli will never sit still for long.
Meet an all-new Academy team in Thief, the beginning of the Scarab Beetle series.
4 out of 5 (really liked it)I received this book from Goddess Fish Promotions as part of their book blast in return for a fair and honest review.
I'll start with Kayli - she's a pickpocket with a conscience. She only takes from people that can defend themselves (no little old ladies) and even then will only take some money before making sure the wallet is found and returned to the owners. So when she is trapped after failing to make her 'mark', she panics and runs. This is a theme for Kayli which you will have to get used to reading about because she does it quite a bit.
As for the guys, well, they're quite a team. We have Axel who's the boss although everyone takes orders and directions from Marc, the blue/green eyed one. Then there's Raven, the 'professional' Russian as he calls himself. The twins, Brandon with the sad eyes and Corey, the cute nerd. There is also Kevin but he only really gets a mention at the start and end of the book.
Now I went into this book blind as I haven't read anything by C.L. Stone before and know nothing about her other Academy series. Now that I've finished this book, I will admit to now wanting to read the other books, if only to give myself a better idea of who or what the Academy is. Because I don't really know, most of plot line involving Blake Coaltar was spent completely alongside Kayli as I also had no idea of what was happening, why they were checking him out etc.
The one thing I will say that is both a positive and negative thing is that Kayli liplocks with pretty much everyone. I think the only two out of the team that she hasn't kissed is Kevin (because he wasn't there) and Corey. She even kisses the guy that she was supposed to be watching and thinks might be a bad guy. So there's no insta-love which is positive but I was also getting whiplash from her going from to the other so quickly.
On the whole, this book was really enjoyable with some brilliant humorous parts. The plot was twisty and the pace was steady. I think if you have read any of C.L. Stone's work before, particularly the other Academy series, you will love this one.
Enjoy an excerpt:
Men are brilliantly stupid.
For one thing, guys carry the most cash with them anywhere. Didn’t anyone ever tell them cash was dead?
I nestled myself in one of the side branches of Citadel Mall. I picked my way through a Claire’s but the lights were too bright reflecting off the sparkling plastic and crystals of the teeny bopper jewelry and handbags. I ducked into a shoe store where the lighting was dimmer and the window wasn’t as obstructed. Waiting was the hardest part.
My favorite place to find dumb guys with lots of cash was the mall. Always fairly crowded on a weekend; I could count on at least a couple of twenties for every wallet I temporarily borrowed.
I never kept all of it. Forty to sixty dollars at the most. Not enough to bother reporting to the cops. I didn’t mess with credit cards, or bother with selling ID cards. That’s the kind of crazy stuff that gets you sent to prison. I always left the wallets and the rest of the leftovers tucked away in the food court and on benches where management would see it and find the owner. That way, the people wouldn’t have to get new ID, which is a huge hassle.
And they never suspected a thing. All they saw when I accidentally bumped into them was batting eyelashes and as much cleavage as I could muster the absurdity to expose without dry heaving.
About the Author:C. L. Stone once lived in Charleston, SC, and currently lives among Cajuns. She writes about cute boys and uncomfortable situations, usually mixed together. You can email her at email@example.com. Sign up for email updates, get exclusive info on upcoming release dates, get notified when freebies are offered, and sometimes sneak peeks!
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