Stone of Thieves, is a sexy, stand-alone, new adult romance & the magical sequel to Robin in the Hood in my Robbin’ Hearts Series. In this opening scene from the first chapter, Robin & her boyfriend Creek (former partners in crime) are heading to Venice to search for her long-lost mother.
I wake to the smell of blood.
Metallic, like maybe copper or iron, mixed with something fleshy and raw.
It calls to me.
Pulls me in the way a thief is drawn to an open drawer of jewels. Certain as the sparkle on a diamond or the heady aroma of a priceless perfume.
I remain still, my eyes closed, just taking in the scent.
But when I shake my head and glance up, I spy my boyfriend Creek in the airplane seat next to me with relief. He’s sleeping, his cheeks soft and slack as a child, gold hair skimming his shoulders, his skin rich with that impossibly sun-kissed glow. Yet his stern jaw and fierce cheekbones make him look like a protective angel. Beautiful, sculpted right from a Renaissance master’s dream.
But Creek’s no angel—
And there’s blood dripping down his arm.
Blood from a knife carved into his flesh by my own hand. Right before we got on the plane.
That’s the word he had me slice into his skin, more permanent than any tattoo. And a hell of a lot more enduring than the name of that blue-inked bitch he scratched out, now a long-forgotten scar.
You see, I stole his heart.
And he stole mine, too.
We’re thieves. That’s what we do.
ATMs, bank vaults, carefully-stashed lockboxes—these were our repertoire, until I discovered I’d inherited a fortune from my father’s secret Swiss bank account that he’d registered in my name.
My real name.
Not Robin McArthur, like I’d thought all my life, but Rubina de Bargona. The bastard child of my white trash father’s liaison with a pasta sauce heiress from Venice, Italy.
And that’s exactly where we’re headed right now.
Venice—the city of masks. An enigma within an enigma, floating precariously upon the blue-green waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Because Creek says I need to find my mother. My real mother, in order to find myself and steal back my history. She may be a nun, a drunk, or she may even be dead. But whatever I find, Creek says it will return a little piece of my soul back to me.
And he should know all about shattered pieces of soul, because his own mother was murdered in the backwoods trailer park outside of Cincinnati where we met. Where we tried to provide for our hard luck neighbors the only way we knew how: by stealing.
Now, there’s no more need for taking what’s forbidden—except for the truth of who I really am. And something tells me it won’t come easy. Because the de Bargona family was so ashamed of my existence that they farmed me out for an adoption before returning to their ancestral home in Venice for good.
But my daddy stole me back.
After all, we come from a long line of thieves.
In the middle of the night, he broke into my adoptive family’s house, grabbed me from my crib, and then changed our names and started a whole new life built on lies. Lies that both kept us together and tore us apart—until he couldn’t hide the past from me anymore.
I glance at Creek again, at the blood that seeps through his black t-shirt and trickles down his forearm, where it fans out in rivulets as though his arm were sculpted from cracked pieces. A warm light from the window settles across his hard cheekbones, illuminating his stunning features. It still blows me away how much Creek loves me. How he took me under his wing—an angry chick on the lam—and taught me how to care about the people at the trailer park as much as I value my own life. His love stripped away everything I thought I knew, left me bare and gasping, and brought me back to the truth of my own soul—the only thing that Creek says ever really matters.
Grabbing some napkins wedged into the crease of my seat, I somehow manage to mop up the streams of blood dripping down his arm without stirring him from sleep. Impulsively, I can’t help curling a finger along a thick strand of his messy hair that rests on his shoulder, relishing its feral wave that I’ve now streaked with a hint of red. I want to care for him, the way Creek often risked his life to care for me, as tenderly as a treasured child. But what to do with Delta napkins that look like they’ve witnessed a crime scene? I scan the nearby passengers, hoping no one noticed, and zip open my backpack to tuck them in. There, in the small outer pocket, is the faded news article of my mother from the Cincinnati Enquirer that my dad kept all these years. My heart wriggles into my throat. Despite my blood-stained fingers, I pull out the photo before the napkins can taint her image.
And it’s like looking into a mirror.
There she is. The beautiful Alessia de Bargona, in a white ball gown that makes her appear every inch the European debutante who was supposed to marry someone politically advantageous. But her hair is a long mass of dark curls, like mine, and her doe eyes are murky pools with that same bottomless wondering in them—as if she, too, was always searching for who she really is . . .