Some people receive love notes from secret admirers. Darcelle receives letters on how to steal back stolen goods. At first Darcelle thinks the detailed instructions on how to prepare and artifacts and art work back are just a joke. After following the steps several times, she is hooked. As a woman who works in a quiet and unglamours day job, becoming a righteous cat burglar is exhilarating. Wanting to learn more about her mysterious man keeps Darcelle intrigued and coming back for more.
The premise of this store is interesting. From a character perspective, both Darcelle and her mystery man are determined characters. Darcelle is struggling to create her own identity away from her twin sister. The way she goes about it, through a completely different vocation and secret hobby helps. Mystery Man who is revealed to be Sebastian, is focused on helping two women under his protection. As the reader learns more about Darcelle's and Sebastian's past and family ties, the more the story makes sense.
What lacks in this story is smooth plot development. There are a couple of conflicts between family members which come out of the blue and then resolved too quickly or are tied up too neatly. During these conflicts, the story changes from showing to more telling. There is a balance between showing too much and telling too much. Ms. Briste balances well but the transition between the two feels clunky. For example, Darcelle's training for her "final test" to be Sebastian's future partner is well described. There is a lot of action and easy to visualize. It is almost a bit much on how she's being trained but doesn't cross the line. This is a "block" of chapters. Then it switches to a "block" of telling why there is a final test. If these scenes could be better blended between telling and showing, it would feel less jarring. The transitions from one chapter to the next would also be smoother.
Still, the pace of the story is just right as the story unfolds and builds to the dangerous final test caper. The big caper is well thought out and done in a Mission Impossible style. It was enjoyable and thrilling. What is surprising is the love interest between Darcelle and Sebastian. Not that they have a love interest. More that it could have been in or out of the book and it would not have changed my opinion of the story. It is almost as if the romance angle was unnecessary. It was not critical enough as part of the story for me. Yes, it caused some contrived conflict and it also added a bit of sexual tension. Perhaps if this series is about Darcelle and Sebastian, a more drawn out relationship would have made it more central to the storyline.
This contemporary romance is recommended to readers who fondly remember the show Remington Steele and enjoy a bit of vigilante thief.